If ever there was a time when it’s good to be pursuing a career in accounting, now is that time. The industry is constantly changing and businesses are eager to work with accountants who are able to offer strategic insight and advice to support their business goals.
But for accountants themselves there are some exciting trends taking place with new and varied career paths, improved opportunities for both men and women looking to climb their career ladder and salaries are on the rise.
Here are our top 10 reasons it’s good to be an accountant:
1. A spot in the hot seat
Earlier this year the FTSE 100 CEO tracker found over 52% of Britain’s top bosses have a finance background and 27% were Chartered Accountants. Meaning, your choice to pursue a career in accounting and finance is by far the quickest route to climbing up a company.
2. Break the glass ceiling
Two thirds (64%) of UK finance chiefs say there are more opportunities for women to advance through the ranks of accounting and finance. What was once a near impossible career path for women to get ahead in, is now breaking barriers.
3. It’s not all bean counting
Accountants are often pigeon-holed as number-crunches. While numbers are an important element of the job, accounting and finance offers a strong foundation for other aspects of life. Take Sir Mick Jagger and Eddie Izzard, both examples of people who have a background in finance – and have used their knowledge to their advantage.
4. The only way is up
In the Robert Half 2016 Salary Guide, salaries in accounting and finance are predicted to rise on average by 2.2% and senior roles will see higher rises still (up to 4%). These increases reflect the need for professionals who can add value to their employer by providing strategic insight.
5. Shortage equals demand
There is a current shortage of finance and accounting professionals in the UK. Our research of UK CFO identified that xx% are finding it challenging to source skilled candidates for open roles. This means professionals are in a good position to plot their next career change or progression within their current role.
6. Soft skills rule
To succeed in finance and accounting, professionals require strong leadership skills, technical and effective communications skills to help communicate findings across various departments within the business in a way they will understand. Finance now provides a greater opportunity to develop a much broader set of skills.
7. Too many choices
The career paths for financial professionals are changing according to financial services leaders. There is no longer only one way to track your career progress beyond qualifying stage, there are now plenty of opportunities to build a career with a wider variety of employers, such as working with a FinTech start-up or a new online investment firm.
8. Technology driving change
Technology is changing the way finance leaders run their teams and how they conduct business. As a result, more finance leaders are investing in digitisation of the finance function, opening up opportunities to gain efficiencies and analyse trends. This again means varied career paths as professionals who are tech-savvy have an opportunity to excel. The nexus of technology and finance means that trained accountants will be at the forefront of exciting business change.
9. Flexibility built-in
One of the main benefits that accounting and finance professionals look for from employers is the chance to work with greater flexibility. The good news is that businesses are aware of the benefits of flexible working and are now more than ever willing to offer this to their employers.
10. Not just London
Businesses recognise benefits of operating outside of London, and this means that they are looking for finance and accounting professionals who want to develop a career outside of London. There are now opportunities to work in Scotland, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, and Manchester to name a few.
These are the trends we have reflected upon over the year. Perhaps it’s time to reflect how your year has been and consider where you want to be in 2016. Contact us to speak to a consultant about trends in 2016 and how Robert Half can help you develop your career.