Financial Services Accounting Market Update Q1, 2020

January 10

The market has been consistently busy throughout 2019 and has seen few surprises in terms of the level of demand for Accounting and Finance professionals.

Industry and Commerce

We have seen hiring trends continue in the traditional reliable areas of I&C, but also a surge in areas of Industry including Start-ups and Energy alongside Healthcare and Construction. Fintech has seen a lot of growth due to the impending Brexit. It would be naïve to say that the uncertainly of Brexit will not impact sector growth in 2020, but what impact it will have is unknown.

Mergers and Acquisitions in the market in 2019 have created a demand for C-level roles, which we have witnessed, and we predict this to continue into 2020. Qualified Accountants with significant post-qualification experience within industry have been in most demand in 2019, and again this will continue into 2020. Companies are looking to hire expertise and experience, and with their businesses growing they need astute Finance professionals. Companies are slowing adapting to the new requirements of potential employees and are offering competitive salaries, flexible working hours, and working-from-home options. Companies offering all of these and more are winning the race to secure the best talent for their teams.


Salaries have remained stable in 2019 and not grown with the same level of intensity as seen in recent years. Employees accepting offers of employment are now looking at additional benefits alongside the salary, including bonus structures, healthcare insurance, and pensions. Flexible working hours and options to work from home are also being taken into consideration. This should be no surprise to employers, as this shift in working culture has been happening for the past few years. People are moving away from the norm of being at their desk Monday to Friday and 9 to 5. Moving into 2020 salaries will be only part of what employees will consider when making a move but flexibility around working hours and location of work will also be deciding factors regarding who secures the best employees.

The part-qualified market

We are seeing a wide gap in terms of demand and supply at this level. Companies are offering strong study packages in an effort to retain staff. Accounts Payable and Receivable associates are now highly sought after, and salaries have risen for people with experience in these areas. We have found that people are seeking the roles close to home and are not prepared to travel too far.

The part-qualified market is always a strong one, as seen in our 2019 salary survey. The demand has slightly lessened, which was expected given our economic uncertainty. However, Industry and Financial Services part-qualified employees remain highly sought after. Organisations are offering wide benefits packages and flexible working environments in order to attract these individuals.

The major focus on educational development within Accountancy and Finance is very evident. Accounts Assistants are expected to pursue the Accounting Technician qualification, while more and more accounts professionals are seeking to attain the ACCA qualification in line with the demand for this skillset.

Payroll and Credit Control remain tight markets with little movement in comparison to Accounts Support staff. Given the recruitment gap for these roles, the pay scale majorly increases in correlation with high-volume experience.

Overall, the speed of the part-qualified market is unwavering. The companies planning to recruit from this market in 2020 should consider the learning and development plans for these candidates, as they are eager to progress within the business.

Temporary and contract staff

This year has seen a moderate demand for temporary and contract staff, with a mixture of both short-term temporary and fixed-term contracts. The challenge has been to attract people into these roles, with the market awash with permanent job opportunities

We have seen companies offering generous completion bonuses to contractors to encourage them to see out the duration of their contracts, and we can see this continuing in 2020. Interestingly, what we have witnessed this year is that a number of people whom we have placed in temporary and contract roles have been subsequently offered permanent roles within the same organisation.


This year has been another strong one for our sector, with people remaining positive moving into 2020. Confidence is high and people genuinely believe that they have, and will continue to have, strong career prospects moving into the next decade. We look forward to helping to fulfil these career aspirations for people over the next 12 months and beyond.

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