Accounting & Finance Hiring & Employment Trends Q1 2018

February 26

There has been a continued and steady increase in Accounting and Finance recruitment requirements across almost every sector last year and again into the first quarter of 2018. This has been coupled with an increased number of experienced qualified Accountants returning to home shores now that the market is able to support their advancing career ambitions once again.

Industry & Commerce

There is buoyancy across every sector now, especially Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Construction and Food, which are all particularly strong. SMEs are back hiring in earnest again and growing their finance teams organically, while MNC and PLC clients continue to grow their finance hubs.   

Both newly qualified and Big 4 trained Chartered Accountants remain highly sought after within the industry, particularly if they have gained 1 or 2 years post-practice experience. Export led sectors are taking a measured approach to 2018, with both FMCG and Agri-food being cautious about the impact of Brexit on them next year.

Many 3 to 5 years PQE candidates are likely to have multiple options, as there are now less middle management level accountants active in the market. The competition for less frequent roles is more stringent at FC/FD/CFO level but there will be an increased number of director and C-Level roles in finance in 2018, which is good news.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Bonuses are now standard across the board, which are primarily tied to company and individual performances.[/pullquote]

The convergence between Systems, Big Data and Finance is increasingly evident, and accountants can expect greater emphasis on technology skills, ERP systems skills and financial data analysis roles.

It is very encouraging to see an increased number of CFO and Finance Director level positions in the latter half of 2017, and this growth seems set to continue next year. Most of these roles have been in large SME clients, including many with new investors, as these organisations need high performing experienced commercial financial leadership to take them to their next phase of growth.

Salaries have become very competitive for high performing talent within accounting and finance. Consequently, high calibre candidates can expect to have multiple offers in 2018 if they cover the market correctly with the right recruiter.

Talented employees are seeing a rise in salaries and long-term benefits being offered, particularly in financial services. Bonuses are now standard across the board, which are primarily tied to company and individual performances.

Part-Qualified Market

It is a similar situation in the part qualified accountants market, where we have seen a significant rise in newly created vacancies throughout Industry and Commerce. Conversely, there has been a decrease in the number of part qualified accountants and finance support professionals coming to the market. This reiterates once again the candidate-driven nature of the overall market.

Demand is high, specifically for Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable Specialists from entry level roles right up to managerial level. Moreover, there is a demand for part qualified accountants with strong financial analysis and advanced Excel skills. The candidate at this level has become a lot more specific in terms of the location, organisational structures, industries and roles.


The country’s audit teams remain the largest training ground for qualified accountants in Ireland and this year, like most, the demand for auditors has again outstripped supply. There are particular areas of demand at manager and senior manager level with auditors being able to negotiate significant raises for themselves when moving. This shortage has led to large practices being more open than ever to taking auditors from their smaller practice counterparts. It has also led to an increased desire to take candidates from non-EU nations, despite the visa sponsorship hassles this can involve. This demand is set to continue throughout 2018, so qualified auditors who are looking for an improvement in their remuneration, progression, location or work-life balance should get in touch, as there are plenty of options out there.


We have seen a consistent demand for tax candidates this year, particularly from larger practices, especially at manager and senior manager level. Again, firms are aware of the tightness in the market for candidates at this level, which has led to significant wage inflation for Tax professionals and companies creating more flexible working environments or reducing the compliance burden for those candidates not primarily motivated by money.

Financial Services Accounting

The Financial Services Accountancy market has experienced steady growth throughout 2017 as confidence continues to grow. This has been bolstered by both market expansion and growth acceleration in this sector. This growth in confidence has been reflected in candidates at all levels who are increasingly willing to explore and/or move jobs in order to further their career. Another attributing factor has been the significant increase in job opportunities that are evident across Banking, Insurance, Aircraft leasing, Aviation and the Funds market, as the Irish financial services market continues to go from strength to strength.

25 of the world’s top 50 banks have international hubs in Ireland now and they are continuing to grow their presence here with the increased need for accounting, audit and compliance/risk professionals.

The Financial Services sector is also experiencing growing demand, particularly for analyst and business partnering roles in banking, insurance and asset management clients.

Compared to their industry counterparts, financial services professionals still enjoy higher salaries on average, with their benefits packages continually improving. These higher salaries have also been seen at the newly qualified and part qualified levels.

As we look forward to 2018, the rapid expansion of multinational financial groups looks set to continue, which will create an ever more appealing market for job seekers.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Top 5 positions in demand: CFO/FD Financial Analyst, Senior Financial, Accountant, Tax Manager, Internal Audit Manager[/pullquote]

The Year Ahead

The ESRI has officially predicted there will be 4.2% growth in Ireland during 2018, with the majority of this coming from domestic growth, and we are already seeing an expansion of our SME client base in Lincoln. In the wake of this improving economic landscape, there will be an increased need for finance headcount in many organisations. So 2018 is set to be a positive year that promises continued growth for accountants while they advance along their career paths.

Recently qualified accountants of up to 5 years PQE are a scarce commodity across all areas, including Commerce and Industry, Financial Services and Professional Services, and there is a strong demand for Internal Auditors who are qualified Accountants. Tax Accountants are also highly sought as MNCs expand their focus on tax for 2018.

We have seen a growing emphasis on tax and tax-related accounting roles, which has meant our industry clients, commercial business partnering and financial planning all remain in strong demand.

Salaries are set to improve very slightly across all levels, and high performers can expect to enjoy strong career paths in all areas of accountancy and finance.

Benefits packages are now starting to include:

  • LTIP with access to additional shares at a discounted price, which vest in the future
  • Pension top-ups over and above the standard company contribution – AVCs
  • Life assurance (usually multiples of base salary)
  • Top band of healthcare and wellness cover
  • Professional subscriptions paid for
  • Mobile phone and home IT kit paid for
  • Gym subscriptions paid for
  • Car or car allowance (€8,000 to €15,000)
  • Parking space paid for or provided
  • Subsidised dining facilities
  • Third level education (leadership courses, for example) paid for.

Our Accounting & Finance recruitment team are consistently ready and prepared to assist with hiring requirements for small and large projects. To view up to date salary trends for 2018  please see full survey comparison by sector here.


About the Author

Concepta Cadogan

Director - Accounting & Finance 353 ( 1 ) 661 0444

Concepta heads our Accounting and Finance Division and has consistently delivered excellence to her loyal client base for many years in this sector. A genuine market expert in the Accountancy field, her clients and candidates alike have long testified to her passion and desire to source the best talent in a highly competitive market. Concepta’s ability to go the extra mile for her clients and candidates has become the key to her successful career. Her team share an inspirational work ethic with a real desire to get to the best active and passive talent in the market place for their clients and the best opportunities to meet the needs of their candidates.


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