29 Jun 2020

Accountancy Recruitment And Career Moves In 2020?

Gavin Beale

In accountancy recruitment and life in general it’s more than fair to say that the last few months have been a stressful, weird and bat-sh*t crazy time. On a personal basis, it’s easily been one of the most peculiar times in my life.

Recruitment is often referred to as a roller coaster ride but since March it’s been enough to test anyone’s nerve.

Roles were pulled, recruitment processes paused, interviews were cancelled, start dates put on hold, offers sadly rescinded, furlough, not furloughed, Zoom, MS Teams, Skype…

 

It is with huge relief that the full force of lockdown and markets crashing overnight is feeling like it’s getting lighter, many finance and accountancy recruitment firms and their candidates are now ramping back up, feeling their way through the blurry mess as we stumble back towards some level of normality.

Job offers have come back to life, interviews rescheduled, a cluster of really interesting new roles have crossed the desk, but we’re still Zoom-y we’ve had some socially distanced meetings etc, but we’re clearly still a way off!

TwentyFour Recruitment have spoken with lots of qualified and part qualified accountants over the past 3 months, many of whom have continued to work, albeit mostly from a cobbled together ‘home offices’.

 

woman placing sticky notes on wall

Financial Sector And Accountancy Recruitment Post Lockdown?

From June to Sept every line of cost on the P&L will likely be covered with red pen – budgets will no doubt get slashed and bashed and caution is likely to be the tale during the COVID tail. Short term cashflow will feel tighter than my post-lockdown-gorging summer shorts, balance sheets will take a few rounds with Tyson (Mike or Fury), many facilities will have less headroom than the toilet cubicle on my cancelled EasyJet flight.

Big and prompt decisions will get actioned, redundancies are going to be unavoidable and the stats will look horrific en masse. I imagine its potentially going to feel very bleak at times.

However, some businesses will absolutely flourish. Acquisitions will be made, recovery will be delivered, plans will be successfully executed, pragmatism will prevail, consumer confidence will return, belts will loosen after the diets, stocks will rise, people will be promoted, jobs will be created and as a positive biproduct of the madness working habits look set to alter for the better.

But how fast is the question??? – at the moment it still seems to be anyone’s guess. There’s some interesting comparative evidence and great minds making their educated suggestions but most agree that this is a bit of a grand national punt. Currently a pin in the paper or random sweepstake probably has as much chance of predicting when we will truly be back in the black as the selection of the most experienced pundit with the best insider knowledge.

So, in the midst of all the turbulence, doubt, confusion and not knowing, should you consider a career move right now?

My opinion is “maybe”.

If you’re a Management or Financial Accountant, qualified or part qualified currently then you will be seeing the numbers sooner than most. And from the numbers on the spreadsheet you may well begin to see the writing on the wall, for example how much trouble your existing firm is in when all is said and done.

With that in mind, perhaps it’s time to “jump ship”? But is that feeling somewhat premature? On the flip side, you might see the signs of the business showing recovery sooner than others. You might be mindful of “better the devil you know”, especially if you’ve been with your firm for a prolonged period of time – do you really want to be last one in and potentially first one out?

Extreme circumstances that are way outside the norm make it harder to be completely rational. So whether you do or don’t decide to be open to discussions its key that the decision isn’t made more rashly than it would have been pre-pandemic.

In reality, there is no concrete answer to ‘should you consider a move’. Whether the market is more bullish than ever or is in the worst bear ever, YOUR own circumstances should dictate your appetite to look for new challenges.

As you know already, the market is now, and will continue to be different – that’s a guarantee. In the short-term there will be less qualified finance roles available and competition could be higher for them.

If you are considering making a move now, then thorough due diligence goes without saying. But you’re numbers people, it’s your thing. Don’t be tempted to just ‘jump’ at something (but you shouldn’t anyway). The move should wherever possible ‘make sense’ and meet your aspirations or your current list of requirements (ideally both).

Sitting tight in your current employer is also a good shout – it’s entirely up to you. You might want accountancy recruiters to keep away from you, or you might want a better view of the market and to have a closer finger on the pulse than normal. Experienced finance and accountancy recruiters that you trust can be your window to the market.

Some people will make excellent career moves in the next 3-6 months, some will make the worst move of their career so far, some will just stay put and it will be the best thing they could have done, others will do the same and regret passing up a “game changer”.

There’s no right answer that someone should be steering you towards until you trust them & they have taken time to try to understand YOUR personal circumstances. The Finance and Accountancy Recruitment team here at TwentyFour are hand to answer your questions and provide info on your market.

If you have finance and accountancy recruitment needs, we have a proven ability to support businesses like yours so give one of the team a call today on 020 3326 2424.

 

 

Gavin Beale is Managing Director of TwentyFour Recruitment Group. Connect with Gavin on LinkedIn.