Accounting Practice Market Update Q3 2016

October 25

Adam - Accounting Practice
We are happy to report that almost all of the clients we are speaking with have seen growth in their business, we’re also pleased to see that a career in accountancy practice remains very attractive for (Irish) graduates.

 

Accounting Practice Market Overview

Whilst recent post-Brexit skittishness may have taken some of ‘the shine’ off the year, there’s no denying that 2016 has been a good one for Ireland PLC with the economy continuing to be the fastest growing in the EU. The accountancy practice sector is particularly sensitive to changes in the overall economy and we are happy to report that most of our clients have seen growth in their business this year and most have grown (or are in the process of growing) their headcount.

Key Trends

Following the trend of recent years, the demand for candidates at manager and senior manager level far outstrips supply across all areas (audit, tax, advisory, corporate finance) with audit consistently being the most sought after. For candidates looking to move within practice, this translates to quicker progression and higher salaries being demanded across the board.
We hope the increase in trainees taken on in 2011, 2012 and subsequent years (after the well-documented drop in training contracts in 2009 / 2010) that are reaching manager and senior manager level and this will help to fill this demand.

We’re also pleased to see that a career in accountancy practice remains attractive for graduates with 3 of the Big 4 featuring in the Top 10 companies to work for, according to Grad Ireland (including both first and second spot!).
Having said that, the lure of industry remains strong for recently qualified accountants and many choose to move out of practice upon completing their training contracts; the main reason they leave? Less hours, better work-life balance.

This exodus from practice upon qualifying, in turn, increases the workload and therefore the hours for those that remain driving something of a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. This has become an area of focus for many firms, and we are seeing an increasing number of practices implementing innovative measures in an attempt to counteract this and instil a better work-life balance company-wide. For example; allowing staff to work flexible hours, log in from home, or by outsourcing some of the work (in particular that which is mostly administrative) to low-cost centres overseas freeing up their teams locally to do more consulting and advisory work.

Another way candidates can improve their work-life balance whilst increasing the variety of client interactions, is to move to a smaller practice, and a small but significant number of candidates continue to do this. Conversely, there is a number of small practice trained accountants looking to make the step up to work on bigger clients and PLCs with a view to using a big practice as their last ‘stepping stone’ before moving into industry. Facilitating this migration is part of what’s been keeping us busy this year.

Finally, the practice market persists in being candidate driven with no evidence to support this changing in the short term (have there ever been enough auditors in the market?!). We at Lincoln are still focusing the bulk of our time on meeting and networking with as many top quality candidates as possible to fulfill our client requirements. If you’re looking to add to your team or would like some further insight into the practice labour market please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Our accounting practice team are consistently ready and prepared to assist with accounting and finance hiring within your organisation. Please contact any member of our team if you need assistance with your recruitment at aryan@lincoln.ie / blachford@lincoln.ie or call 01 661 0444.

 

About the Author

Ben Latchford

Ben Latchford

Senior Manager Accounting

blatchford@lincoln.ie+ 353 ( 1 ) 661 0444

Ben Latchford has been with Lincoln since 2011. His is a reputable expert in the Accounting, Consultancy and Advisory recruitment sectors. For 2013 through 2015, Ben worked his way up to manager on the Banking and Financial Services division, a unit providing services to FS companies and banking companies across Ireland. Since 2017 Ben has been leading the Professional Services and Advisory Division that delivers services to practices of all sizes, consultancy and advisory firms in Ireland. He has completed the IATI and Tax Technician exams.

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