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We deliver the best recruitment news and advice to the Tax, Legal, Finance, HR and Marketing sectors, including market updates, CV tips, interview advice, and exclusive interviews.

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Re-Advertising the Same Role - The Damage it Has On Your Brand

Recruitment is about finding the right candidate for the most suitable organisation promptly to ensure the smooth transition of the candidate into employment whilst satisfying the client’s needs. As a Recruiter, I know how damaging it can be to my reputation if I am advertising a role for any longer period than necessary. Although it should never be a rush, you need to ensure your Recruiter is networked well enough to reduce the time to hire. I have seen many companies who seek to hire without the support of a Recruitment Consultant’s network, who constantly fall flat in their hiring process, whilst not realising the effect it has on their brand perception, particularly in a Payroll function, where professionals seek an employer for longevity where they can make a long-lasting impact and tend to want to stay for a longer tenure, so long as the offer is what is advertised. Even more so now that the Payroll profession is seen as a source of knowledge and insight in your business. I was keen to explore this further in a recent Linkedin Poll, which gathered hundreds of responses. “Good question. It's hard to answer though as it could be a number of reasons and a mixture of many. It could be due to the hiring manager being too picky, the package, the culture, the job description might not match what the role actually consists of. The mind wonders”, suggests a HR professional in my network. And they are right, there are many factors to consider, but partnering with a Recruitment Agency can help to eliminate and reduce the pressures of getting it wrong. Brand perception is what customers believe a product or service represents, not what the company owning the brand says it does. Organisations can shout from the rooftops about their great company culture and perks and benefits, but brand perception comes from customer use, experience, functionality, reputation and word of mouth recommendation - on social media channels as well as face to face. Repeatedly making bad hires, mistakes in recruiting and poor advertising can have a damaging effect on your organisation’s brand perception, with 67% stating they would stay away from an organisation that repeatedly re-advertised the same job role. Benefits of a Recruitment Agency We will advertise your roles for you If you don’t receive the right calibre of applications, we can ensure that your roles are put under the eyes of the right candidates. Be it via job boards, promotional advertising or simply exploring our nurtured databases and network of candidates. At Pro, our Payroll team alone has a network of over 10k Payroll and HR professionals in the UK We will identify the right talent for your organisation Recruiters make it their business to understand yours. From the operations, sectors and teams through to culture, benefits and the right people fit. We work as an extension of your company’s ethos to help you hire the right fit for your teams. We will screen and interview your candidates This can be a time-consuming process which a recruitment consultant can relieve for you. IT will include narrowing down the applicants via screening on the phone. Then shortlist candidates to suit your mandate, and eliminate any unsuitable matches from the process. Background checks, personality tests can all be conducted by a recruitment agency meaning your HR department doesn't have to. We as recruiters can also support your HR team or hiring manager in understanding relevant interview questions to ask. We will take the awkwardness out of Salary Discussions Getting to the end of a recruitment process, finding the right candidate and then making the offer, only to find that salary and benefits expectations don’t meet, time-consuming, frustrating and costly. As a recruiter, we can help you benchmark a realistic remuneration package and seek to place the best-skilled candidates to suit. A recruiter can act as the middle ground to ensure expectations on salary are understood from the outset, as to not disturb the end of the recruitment process. We will deliver interim solutions If the hiring process is long and you have had difficulty hiring the right fit, meaning you have readvertised the role several times, you should consider hiring an interim professional. They can help you bridge the gap, allow you to better direct and shape the role and processes to suit your organisation’s needs, as well having someone on board to keep your existing operations running, knowing they are only temporary whilst you find your permanent solution. A recruiter who specialises in interim solutions will be your best point of contact, as they can offer all of the above solutions, in a very timely manner. Speak to Petra Brown who can help with any of your Interim needs. We have on-the-pulse market insight Recruiters are well-networked individuals. We spend every hour in the day speaking providing solutions across Tax, Finance, HR and Payroll across Practice, Commerce and Industry and Not-for-Profit sectors all over the UK. We work closely with governing bodies, exam boards, chartered institutes and sector influencers to ensure our clients and candidates are in the know. With this, the expertise we can provide on the jobs market across the UK is valuable in supporting your recruitment campaign. Understanding the needs of the economy, the employer, the employee and the potential candidates means that we are best placed to find the perfect match for your teams. For more advice on how we can help you with your recruiting needs, and avoid the damage to your brand, operations and expenditure, contact Ray Moore on 07725 970 360 or email ray.moore@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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Are Payroll Professionals Now Seen as More Than Just the People Who ‘Push the Pay Button’?

Pre-pandemic, Payroll professionals were seen as ‘the people who pay us’, they push the ‘big red button ’and your staff are magically paid. However, during the last 18 months, they are now seen as more of a source of knowledge and insight in the business. I recently polled my several thousand connections and it shows that Payroll Professionals are now more sought after than the HR teams, and even more so than the leadership when it comes to advice on pay.   Over the years, both payroll and pensions professionals have seen significant changes affecting the way they do their jobs, but the last 18 months in particular, with the pandemic catalysing the changing perceptions of the profession. Here are the three main reasons why: Trust Ken Pullar, Chief Executive at the CIPP mentions, ‘to be successful in any profession it is also important, to be honest, and to have integrity, particularly within payroll, says Pullar. “You are the one person within the organisation who has access to every single employee’s personal data and details of their pay, and potentially other financial information depending on the benefits package offered,” he explains. “Everything within your role is entrusted to you in confidence, and it is essential for your success and for the wellbeing of the organisation's employees that you do not break that confidence.”  Payroll professionals are entrusted with an organisation’s biggest expenditure, and quite often left to their own devices to ensure that everyone is paid accurately and on time. “Every so often there are cases within the media about payrollers, I won’t call them professionals, who have defrauded an organisation through ‘ghost’ employees,” says Pullar. “As a payroll professional, you should have the integrity to ensure that this does not happen within your organisation.” Knowledge With payroll becoming much more than salary, and more about overall reward strategies, especially with legislation such as gender pay gap reporting and GDPR impacting on payroll, it is more important than ever that professionals constantly refresh their knowledge and skills. Their insight and knowledge is pivotal in business operations and should not be overlooked. Equally as important as it is for the Payroll employee to stay up-to-date, is the need for employers and organisations not to overlook the need for further training and development of their payroll teams. Less competent teams can put a business at risk for fines and penalties. Diligence Payroll can be very rewarding, but it can also be frustrating because when someone’s pay is calculated incorrectly, it does not matter how the information was received or from whom, payroll will always be held accountable and will be expected to resolve any discrepancies, With the many changes in legislation, with the introduction of furlough, and questions of how it will affect pay and remuneration, it is critical that Payroll professionals remain diligent with the entire payroll process.  Being in the Payroll recruitment profession for many years, I am aware of the many respectable attributes that Payroll professionals have, which often go unseen by employers, but the last year or so have elevated the fact that those in the profession are tech-savvy, deadline-driven, self-aware and flexible to change, and from my Poll and my experience, I am glad to see the perceptions are changing. For more information about this article or to discuss your Payroll recruitment needs, please contact Laura Richards on 07943 573 978 or email laura.richards@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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Too Hot to Work?

Every year we get periods of extreme temperatures.  Although 2021 is not a ‘normal’ year as far as workplaces are concerned, an employer has the same obligations towards staff welfare. The question all employers should be considering (and employees will be asking) is: Is it too hot to work? So, we have to consider whether there is a maximum working temperature.  This being a temperature above which it is not acceptable for employers to expect employees to work (and employees should expect to have to work in). As usual, I head straight for the legislation which, as you would expect, differs depending on whether you are in Great Britain or Northern Ireland: The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 in Great Britain, and The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993 However, in both pieces of legislation, it is Regulation 7 that says: During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable. So, what does reasonable actually mean?  The next step is to look at the guidance on this legislation, found in the relevant Approved Codes of Practice on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Health and Safety Executive (Northern Ireland) (HSENI) Websites.  Whilst the Websites may be different, the guidance is the same:  ‘The temperature in a workplace should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius. If work involves rigorous physical effort, the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius’ In short, the legislation in Great Britain and Northern Ireland only covers minimum working temperatures.   However, the above guidelines then point to the HSE Website that describes ‘thermal comfort’.  This is defined as ‘a person’s state of mind in terms of whether they feel too hot or too cold’.  It used to say that an accepted zone of thermal comfort for most people in the UK lies between 13°C (56°F) and 30°C (86°F), with acceptable temperatures for more strenuous work activities concentrated towards the bottom end of the range, and more sedentary activities towards the higher end.  Now, more emphasis seems to be on the employer’s responsibility for managing thermal comfort, as per the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and 2000 Northern Ireland equivalent.  So, in light of the obligations under these Regulations, I thought I would point employers to some guidance, particularly relevant at this time – note that thermal comfort is the same UK-wide, so the links to the HSE Website in Great Britain apply equally in Northern Ireland: What is thermal comfort? What are the six factors of determining thermal comfort? Measuring thermal comfort Controlling thermal comfort On the last link, look at eth bottom for the handy ‘Thermal Comfort Checklist’ that can be downloaded in order to carry out thermal comfort risk assessments.  Also note that the Management Regulations apply to some self-employed – so, employers should think of their responsibility as being to workers rather than just employees. It is really important that employers are aware of thermal comfort and consult with employees or their representatives to establish ways of coping with high temperatures.  After all, failure to do so is against the Management Regulations.  This article is written by Ian Holloway, a highly respected payroll practitioner, writer, advisor and trainer at i-Realise. Ian has worked in the payroll profession for over 30 years.  He has developed exceptional 360-degree insight into payroll’s challenges and the impact of relevant legislation – having worked for both in-house payroll teams, software providers and as a payroll lecturer, writer and government advisor. ​For more information on this article or to speak to our specialist recruitment consultants about your next HR role in the charity sector, contact Charlotte Dunkerton on 020 7269 6342 or charlotte.dunkerton@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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The Best Tax Recruitment Team in the Market

In June, I joined the Practice team at Pro-Tax and it is a move that has so far exceeded my expectations. This is the biggest and best Tax recruitment team in the market and I’m confident I am now in the best position to help Tax professionals to realise their career ambitions.   I’ve been in Tax recruitment for over 15 years, so I have known Alison Humphries the MD and Kevin Racher, who leads the Tax recruitment team at Pro for many years and I knew how successful the team has been in the past. The reason I wanted to join was the market is booming and, from a position working on my own, I was conscious that I could not move at the right pace and speak to enough clients or candidates to deliver the best service. I was hoping to find a good team with a decent database and processes, but I didn’t find that. I’ve found the BEST team I have ever worked with, with the tightest processes, superb technology, most open communication and a really dynamic, positive work environment (inside and outside of the office). I’m extremely confident to write this article, to advise anyone who is open to a career-improving move, from Part Qualified to Partner, to speak with Pro-Tax, because I am positive, we can help you. Every company on the planet is keen to tell you they are people-focused and caring and recruiters are no different. To be frank, what most people care more about when they look for a Tax Recruiter is "can they actually find you a better job", I would rate the following attributes as important and we tick all the boxes: Professionalism – We have the best training and technology available, and we handle your personal information with care. Market Coverage – We have the largest Tax Practice Team with a combined 75+ years of experience in the market, as well as working with firms of all sizes and profiles, so there will be the perfect match for you. Geographical Reach – Our team has members focused on regional opportunities, not just London. Tax Knowledge – We understand your CV and the current/future trends in the UK and International Taxation, so we can help you build your experience in the right way to push you to the top of a client’s shortlist in future. Active Listening – We know that the current roles available may not be right for you, so we will take the time to listen to your plans and target opportunities and firms that will really work for you. If you are thinking about your career right now, please get in touch with me or any of the team. You can book a call in my diary here, call me on 07816 529 364 or contact any of my colleagues below: Top 10 and Big 4: Ashleigh Polakiewicz | Maisie Horrell | Rebecca English | Kevin Racher ​Boutique firms: Dominic Watt Regional Opportunities Jennifer Nelson Partner Opportunities: Ben Hall - Prosero Search

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How Has The Pandemic Changed Recruitment Agencies - What Agency Recruiters Are Looking for in Their Next Move

After a very strange 18 months in recruitment, the industry that seemed to be struggling last year has bounced back with an absolute bang and the number of roles and demand out there for experienced recruiters, in what has always been a very candidate short market, is higher than ever! Most agencies have always mixed up hiring new and junior consultants along with making experienced hires (some agencies and industries have only hired juniors to train up) but the effects of the pandemic seem to have changed that significantly. Yes, there are still some agencies out there hiring grads and candidates with no recruitment experience (although these seem to be the agencies who are telling their staff that they must be in the office 5 days a week and have not offered any flexibility through the pandemic) but the majority of role out there are for experienced recruiters. The cause of this shift in hiring patterns? Simply put – a pandemic and flexible working! Whilst working from home, not being in the office to train develop and listen to newer and inexperienced recruiters on the phones being able to coach and nurture them has become much harder. Also, most agency recruiters are busier than ever, with more jobs than ever, and the need for employers is someone who can hit the ground running. Due to this, good agency recruiters are being headhunted and approached more than ever – in fact, one person I approached recently had been approached 11 times in 1 week!  Recruiters are notoriously the worst for taking their own advice – they always encourage candidates to have that career conversation with them, but never want to have it themselves. Is it because they truly are happy, or is it that when you are approached that many times all roles sound the same? Or another reason altogether? What do recruiters want? I recently conducted a poll to my Linkedin connections. The result showed there has been a shift in what recruiters are looking for when they do make that move. Recruitment has traditionally been an industry where you are in the office 5 days a week and working longer hours than most (when else are you going to speak to candidates who work but before and after working hours!?) but if the pandemic has taught us anything its that it doesn’t have to be this way. In my poll, 44% of recruiters said the most important thing they will be looking for in their next recruitment role is flexibility. From an industry that has not been known for flexibility, this is a huge shift! In fact, the majority of conversations I have been having since earlier this year is that people have not felt comfortable being told they have to be in the office every day for long hours and would prefer the work-life balance that has and will continue to be the new norm. Interestingly, a lot of recruiters got into the industry for a quick career progression route in a way that was clear cut and set out from day 1, only 19% stated clear career progression would be important when looking for their next move, while 35% would be looking at the salary, commission and benefits package on offer. Of course, the ideal is to have a mix of all of the above, but in a sales and target driven environment like recruitment, it's interesting to see the shift towards flexibility rather than it being all about money and promotions. As a recruiter reading this – what’s the most important thing to you and will you be looking for in your next role? If you want to find out more about how we are doing things differently at Pro and how we just might hit the mark on your list of what you want out of your next role over, speak to Loren on 07539 888 231 or email loren@pro-recruitmentment.co.uk

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Important to be Adequate - The EU and UK Adopt an ‘Adequacy Agreement’

Payroll professionals, especially global payrolls, rely heavily on the movement of personal and confidential data around the world. The free movement of data is something that has been under the spotlight since the United Kingdom left the European Union (EU).  No such free movement agreement could be reached during 2020, however, a temporary UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement included a provision allowing for the continued free flow of personal data to the UK from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.  This was effective 01 January 2021 and the UK, EEA and EFTA countries had to formally adopt an ‘adequacy agreement’ within six months.  Such an agreement deems the UK’s data protection regime to be adequate enough to meet their own standards. On 28 June 2021, a press release from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced that such an adequacy agreement had been reached.  Secretary of State for Digital Oliver Dowden said: After more than a year of constructive talks, it is right the European Union has formally recognised the UK’s high data protection standards. This will be welcome news to businesses, support continued cooperation between the UK and the EU and help law enforcement authorities keep people safe. We will now focus on unlocking the power of data to drive innovation and boost the economy while making sure we protect people’s safety and privacy. The EU published a similar press release on the same date which says that the EU will be ‘closely monitoring’ the UK’s data protection regime.  Indeed, the agreement contains a ‘sunset clause’ meaning that it expires after four years, at which time the UK’s data protection standards will be reviewed and the agreement may be renewed. This is good and long-awaited news for businesses and payroll professionals who can carry on freely exchanging data.  The adequacy agreement recognises that post-EU Exit, the UK’s data protection regime (the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as contained in the Data Protection Act 2018) offers an equivalent level of protection to the EU’s GDPR.  Though, we do have to be aware that the agreement will be monitored and adequate in 2021 needs to be adequate going forward. This article is written by Ian Holloway, a highly respected payroll practitioner, writer, advisor and trainer at i-Realise. Ian has worked in the payroll profession for over 30 years.  He has developed exceptional 360-degree insight into payroll’s challenges and the impact of relevant legislation – having worked for both in-house payroll teams, software providers and as a payroll lecturer, writer and government advisor. ​ For more advice or a quick discussion on how I can help with your Payroll Recruitment needs, please contact me at neil.wild@pro-recruitment.co.uk or call 07793 077 421

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3 Reasons Why Hiring an Interim Finance Director Can Support You in Recruiting a Permanent Finance Director

One of the most important relationships at the senior level is that of the CEO and Finance Director. so it’s critical to put time and resources into finding the right fit for the FD position. It can seem a costly, time consuming and overwhelming prospect, particularly if it involves C-Suite conversations, but it's essential that you take this time to reflect on the role, what you would like the next FD to oversee and shape the role to suit your growing business. Here is where an experienced Interim Finance Director can help you bridge the gap, allow you to better direct and shape the role and processes to suit your organisation’s needs, as well having someone onboard to keep your existing finance operations running. The changeover of a permanent FD can open up a mix of complications, which if left unaddressed could mean it is filled by the wrong person, which can have a domino effect and be detrimental to your finance department, so it’s beneficial to recruit the right Interim Finance Director to manage this transition. There are many benefits to hiring an interim finance professional, but here are 3 reasons why hiring an Interim Finance Director can support you in recruiting a Permanent Finance Director: Bridge the Gap The permanent FD required at present may not be available immediately and an experienced interim FD provides seamless cover and continuity to day-to-day processes, ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Sometimes, a team without a leader can be misguided and feel a little displaced, so the presence of an interim Finance Director will bring stability to a finance function at what can be an unsettling and uncertain time for the existing team. The C-Suite can then continue to concentrate on company revenue-generating activities without being distracted by accounting and finance responsibilities. Relevance During the Hiring Process A temporary solution to your Finance Department can support you with the recruitment process by providing a professional opinion. Your interim support will be experienced, highly knowledgeable and multifaceted with their approach. They can help you to draft the job specification; taking time to reflect on what you would like from the future permanent Finance Director, perhaps skills you didn’t have in the previous.  An Interim FD can help you review candidate applications. Knowing what is good and what is not so good in a CV can sometimes be hard to spot if you’re not working directly in the field, so the experience of the interim support can help you filter the best candidate for your position, Once the permanent candidate is recruited, the interim can cover the incoming FD’s notice period and provide a comprehensive handover to ensure they are fully briefed and able to seamlessly integrate into the business with a thorough onboarding program. Confidence and Reliability Beyond the recruitment process, many key stakeholders, such as your clients and investors will be reassured that a competent, knowledgeable and reliable FD is in place through the transitional phase, so as to not disrupt the ‘business as usual’ operations. Similarly, the interim FD can also provide additional support and mentoring to phase the incoming Finance Director into the new environment. Freelancers/Contractors do not require the additional provisions which are expected by a permanent member of staff, which may include additional costs to total remuneration, so the business rests assured that the hiring and onboarding process is the most efficient one, in both time and money. For more information about how an interim finance professional can help your organisation, contact Petra on  07791 400 731 or email petra.brown@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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Working From Home: Benefits to an Employer

With working patterns being disrupted, ‘the norm’ is looking very different to how it was 18 months ago. As the UK slowly eases back into the new realities of work, it’s an interesting time to explore the reason why remote working not only benefits the employee but widely has a beneficial impact for many organisations and employers. I recently surveyed my Linkedin contacts to discover their perceptions of workload whilst working from home: With 80% saying they felt they worked harder from home, as the effects of reducing the office culture are clearly taking a toll, with some of the conversations I have had including the issues below: 1 Blurred Lines between work and home life Burnout is real. It is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. It’s important to be wary of this and ensure your teams realise when it is time to just switch off from work. 2 Lack of Social Contact This can be an issue if you work from home alone, without other people around the employee, be it housemates or family. It’s key to ensure that you as an employer are understanding of this situation and offer ways to support social interaction, be it through virtual team meetings to help map out the day or week of work, regular conversations over the phone or even face to face catch ups when restrictions permit. 3. Lack of Resources Do your teams have the tools and resources they need to fulfil their roles day-to-day? If you plan on switching to a hybrid model whereby your team is expected to work from home in the week, it’s essential they have the tech resources they need to complete their work. Do they need that second screen? DO they have sufficient tech tools? A review with your employees should help you distinguish what they need to support them when working from home. However, there are clearly benefits to your business which are, but not restricted to: 1 Productivity Working in the office can sometimes be distracting, busy and loud. which can lead to a lack of productivity and concentration issues for some of your employees. Employees working from home also benefit from the extra time in the morning avoiding their commute and being able to start the day fresh without the hassle of public transport. If employees are on-boarded with the right skills of how to work from home, then they are likely to be very efficient and productive. We at Pro have seen a huge uplift in productivity whilst we continue to review and ensure we provide our teams with the tools they need to succeed. 2 Improved Employee Retention and Attraction Even if an employee’s personal circumstances change, being address, Covid restrictions and self-isolation, working from home allow your employees to still focus and carry out their duties whilst working wherever they feel most comfortable. Being flexible in remote working opportunities is a great way for employers to retain staff, reduce employee turnover and ultimately save money on hiring in the long-term.  Remote working in the UK has shown to statistically be favoured by employees, being one of the most important company benefits for 19% of employees, who say that if they were torn between two roles, 1 in 5 individuals would accept the remote working jobs over office-based jobs. 3 Financial Benefits Fewer overheads, less need for costs in the office such as kitchen facilities, furniture or utilities. Without completely eliminating all costs, remote working can offer a reduction in the cost for the less necessary resources and allow you as an employer to focus on providing better tools and advance your technologies. 4 Improved Employee Wellbeing Having a flexible schedule can be beneficial to your employees for many reasons, including reducing stress and increasing happiness. Those who have children are able to take them to school or even have the evening meal with them, others who live further away from the office are able to benefit from the extra time and money saved in their commutes.  Mental health is currently the leading cause of sickness absence from work and costs the UK employers an average of £1300 per employee. Taking time off from work, or having the flexibility to work remotely is a great way to boost the work/life balance for employees which will lead to better mental well-being in the workplace. Here we see that the benefits do outweigh the disadvantages, however, as employers it is important that you manage your duty of care to ensure that those who may need that extra support whilst working from home are provided for. with 80% suggesting that they work longer hours whilst working from home, it's key that you as an employer review this before your staff experience burnout. For more information on this article or to speak to our specialist recruitment consultants about your next HR role in the charity sector, contact Charlotte Dunkerton on 020 7269 6342 or charlotte.dunkerton@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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Accountancy Practice Recruitment: A Day in the Life an Audit and Accounts Researcher

Recruitment is one of those careers that the majority of the industry ‘fell into’. It’s rare for someone to wake up one day and think – I want to be a recruiter! Most of us realised a career in an industry that is rapidly growing, can be very lucrative and have a clear and steady career progression actually hits a lot of what we were looking for in a role. An opportunity to utilise our sales and influencing skills whilst working in an industry where every day is different and offers a lot of perks for success! Whilst recruitment in any industry is essentially the same thing (matching the right candidate with the right role) across each sector and industry there are many differences. In a recent poll I conducted on LinkedIn, 33% of recruiters said the focus of a desk they enjoy the most is Headhunting and Resourcing, whilst another 29% chose Account managing a portfolio. One of the opportunities we are hiring for internally at Pro combines both of these aspects as your main focus and is a fantastic starting point for a recruiter who has some experience but is now looking to specialise and make a name for themselves in the field. The accountancy practice market is absolutely booming, and our current team is performing, and billing more than they ever did in a pre-pandemic world. The nice things about the accountancy practice market and having a career within it are; It is candidate short – if you have a good candidate, you WILL place them! You are working in a less saturated market than others – Including Finance Commerce and Industry. It means you will really make a name for yourself and be seen as a specialist Pro-Finance has one of the best names in accountancy practice – you will have clients that WANT to work with you, in fact, seek you out! You will be resourcing candidates who know who you are, know you work with the best clients, and WANT to talk to you! You will progress to managing a portfolio of your own accounts to manage and build and develop relationships with I spoke to Kate Green, one of our resident Finance Recruitment Managers. After several promotions and progressing to her current position after starting as an Associate a few years ago, she shares her insight into the day-to-day role of a Researcher in her accountancy practice team. You will be Working closely with Senior Consultants to resource and generate candidate for clients Writing attractive job adverts to promote on a variety of job boards and social media Speaking to candidates, building relationships, and understanding their career aspirations and goals Informing clients and candidates of up-to-date market knowledge, advising on the types of practice and opportunities that fit what they want Searching for active candidates using a variety of job boards Headhunting passive candidates using a variety of social media and other outlets Preparing candidates for interviews, talking to them about roles, giving them tips, career advice and feedback Placing Accountants into their dream role in practice! If you are currently working in recruitment and looking for a role where you really can focus on candidates and delivery, then a move into accountancy practice can be for you! Speak to Loren on or email loren@pro-recruitmentment.co.uk for more information about opportunities here at Pro.

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Finance Practice vs. Industry: The Big Debate

Once you become a newly qualified accountant, you will inevitably come up against the decision of whether to build a career in practice or to move into an industry role. Both have their pros and cons, and your decision will ultimately come down to what type of person you are and what is important to you in your career. Making this decision can often feel daunting, but our specialist finance recruiters have put together key advice to help you make an informed decision! Recession Proof? Those who have worked through recent recessions and the current 2020 pandemic will share the same sentiment that those working in financial services have experienced reductions in their teams, but for most firms money movement is important, which explains why financial professionals are always in demand. Accountants, Auditors, Actuaries, Claims Specialists, Tax Preparers, Insurance Underwriters — the list of financial service jobs is long and varied, however, in good times or in bad, everyone needs to file a tax return or oversee their accounts, Auditors, see consistent demand during recessions. Financial regulations don’t go away during recessions, so neither does demand for Auditors.  From my daily conversations, and understanding of the recovery from the last recession, I have found that Practice is the safer route for newly qualified accountancy professionals, particularly those looking to specialise in Audit. When reflecting on earlier in they year, when the nation went into flux, many accountancy firms reduced their team sizes and made cuts to keep their operations profitable and afloat. However, upon entering the second lockdown, they are far more technically prepared, and recuiting Auditors in practice is again on the rise, with many firms now recruiting as normal, albeit virtually. Type of Work Many newly qualified accountants are attracted to industry roles because the companies themselves often seem more interesting, or just because they’re not audit roles! But in reality, although moving from practice to industry gives you the opportunity to use your skills in a very different environment, roles in industry can lack variation and excitement. You will find yourself working on the same or similar things on a day-to-day basis and you will most likely lose the client-facing aspect of a role in practice. If you are looking to be involved in the business development side of the firm you work for, you are best to seek a role within practice as opposed to industry where business development focused roles tend to be limited. As well as this, with a finance practice role, you will find you have a varied workload and responsibilities with certain busy periods throughout the year. Depending on your firm and department, your work could be audit, tax-focused, or accounts-focused to name but a few, and you will have autonomy in your work. Every week will see you working with different clients across different types of work that can vary in size and topic. Salary & Benefits Newly qualified accountants are often drawn into industry with an attractive pay rise compared to starting salaries within practice. Salaries within industry for a new-qualified accountant are typically around the £45,000 mark, occasionally going up to around £55,000 in certain sectors like Financial Services. However, the initial pay gap between industry and practice has reduced considerably and the salary for a newly-qualified candidate within practice can actually be higher than in industry, with many firms now matching the money offered in order to retain the best talent. Not only this, if you were to stay in practice and become a future Director or Partner, the pay would more than equal itself out and you would be looking at earning more further down the line. When it comes to benefits, packages in industry are very variable depending on the sector and business, however, more often than not they do include a bonus and a wide variety of benefits. Benefits within practice are typically better for two reasons - they are better-established companies with defined risk & reward teams, and you will also receive benefits in line with longevity of service, compared to industry where it would be a new role. Working Hours Industry roles tend to be busy when it comes to month-end but, again, that is very dependent on the size of the business. Practice roles will have seasonally busy periods throughout the year, but it’s also important to note that accountancy firms are very bottom-heavy meaning there will always be juniors carrying out work that is perhaps more menial, which is often not the case within industry. Typically, working in an industry role offers the opportunity to have a better work-life balance, with regular working hours and no late nights in the office! However, improving work-life balance is something that a lot of firms are increasingly working towards for their employees. The Big 4, for example, are not known for having the best work-life balance but this is improving on a daily basis with more firms understanding the value a healthy work-life balance adds to employee happiness. Progression Prospects Progression will depend entirely on the organisation and its structure. It can be possible to progress quickly within industry depending on your personal performance, as these companies do not have a rigid structure. However, progression within these companies is often very competitive! Teams tend to be smaller and while this is good in terms of extra responsibility, these teams typically do not offer a set career path and it is more difficult to stand out. On the other hand, a finance role in practice tends to offer a clear career progression path. This is particularly true when you get towards higher levels and there are targets to hit to move up in the company. The path for progression is very clear and structured into people’s careers, all the way up to Partner with equity in the firm, and CPD training and development is often a primary focus. Ease of Finding a New Opportunity If you are looking to move from practice into industry you will find yourself in a highly competitive market, particularly if you have trained in a smaller practice as you will be competing against Big 4 ACA qualified candidates, as well as industry-trained CIMA/ACCA candidates who will have more relevant experience in industry-specific roles. Therefore, it is often worth moving into a Big 4 or Top 10 firm to gain the experience and skills needed to open up a range of options for your next career step - whether this be a move into an industry role, a role at a smaller practice or SME, or remaining and progressing within a larger firm. Once you have chosen a route in industry it can be difficult to move sector or change your role type. For example, if your first move from practice to industry is within a Financial Accountant role, you will rarely be able to move within the same company to a Management Accountant role. It can also be challenging to move back into practice if you change your mind later down the line, particularly after a period of time longer than 12-18 months, as advances in the profession and working towards the new reporting standards would require a significant catch-up. However, within practice there is room for movement between different aspects of the business, offering variation and the chance to decide what type of role is best for you. Ultimately, your decision will come down to what type of work suits you and what you want from your career as a finance professional. If you are looking for a role within a company whose brand and household name excites you, then a role in industry may suit you. However, if you are looking for a client-facing role that offers autonomy and variation in your day-to-day responsibilities with a clearly defined career path, you should pursue a finance role in practice. For more information on this article, or for advice on your next career move into a finance role in practice, contact Graeme on 07841 864 239 or graeme.davidson@pro-finance.co.uk.

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So, You’re a Qualified Auditor - What Next?

As a specialist recruiter into the Audit and Accounts market, I interact with candidates and clients on a daily basis across all levels of seniority. I work with finance professionals all the way from trainees just starting their career within the profession, with a positive mindset and the world in front of them; to experienced Partners who have been there and performed the role for many years. One of the key staffing needs industry-wide and therefore one of the most engaging levels is at the newly qualified Audit Senior level. There are many reasons why this is a market skills gap but one of the key factors is that upon ACA/ACCA qualification auditors will look to explore their career options. You have just left a lengthy training contract; you have been employed in the same place for the last 3-4 years and it is time for a change. A common career choice is to leave the firm that has trained you and make the step over into a role within commerce and industry. People sometimes make this move as they feel tired of audit, they have ended up on the same client cycle for two or three consecutive years and it is starting to become a little repetitive, and in some cases, the move over to industry can be the right decision for people! However, in my experience, this can potentially be a rushed and ill-informed decision with people swayed by the bright lights of industry, without considering all of the options available. Some things to consider are the firm you are working for, the clients you are working on and even the Partners you will report to. When speaking with auditors the key thing they enjoy is client interaction, something that you will lose when working in-house.    Whether you want to be working with financial institutions with turnovers in the billions, small owner-managed businesses where you can be a key influencer in the business decisions or spending your time on-site at recording studios, film sets or sports stadiums. The world of audit may perhaps be larger than you realise.   If you are considering your next career move the importance of liaising with an experienced recruitment consultant who can provide advice cannot be overstated.  For more information about the Audit Recruitment landscape, give me a call on 07841 864 239 or email graeme.davidson@pro-finance.co.uk

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Freedom Day Delay - Increased Demand for Hiring Contractors

With the UK’s announcement to extend the final stages of lockdown until July 19th, and as Rishi Sunak rejects calls by businesses for furlough extension, there has never been a better time to consider hiring a contractor to bolster your finance team. More and more companies are turning to finance contractors rather than permanent staff during this unfamiliar time of economic growth. Real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 2.3% in March 2021, the fastest monthly growth since July 2020, as government restrictions affecting economic activity continued to ease. Firms are concentrating on temporary workers due to uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit. Demand for temporary staff has increased at the fastest pace since October 2018, according to new research. With firms looking for contractors at both executive and non-managerial levels, there are plenty of finance positions for contractors to find, which means a lot of temporary skills you can be brought into your teams to support timely projects or fill a skill gap temporarily. Here are some in-demand key skills the Finance Interim, Temporary and Contractors can offer your business: Commerciality Technical skills are important, but companies place a high value on temporary staff who can see how their skills fit into the rest of the business operation and functions for any given project. The understanding of facts, figures and data, and the ability to translate that into a commercial reality, describing how it affects sales teams and operations are key. Additionally, professionals with interpersonal skills and a commercial background are sought after and can add bursts of value to your teams. Big Data Analytics This has been a big part of business and financial operations for a while now, but there are no signs that companies’ appetite for data analytics is decreasing. In a financial context, this means understanding your data sources and finding ways of matching them to sources in other areas so that your clients can be more in tune with changes in their customers’ needs. Hiring a Contractor will allow you to bring in skills, understanding and flexibility to work to a brief which your current staff members may not be able to offer, but can learn from. Regulatory Knowledge The effects of the recent pandemic continue to affect the financial sector with regulation remaining a top priority for government and international bodies. Experience in dealing with regulators and understanding what their key warnings are is important for companies of all sizes, but particularly for SMEs, which often do not have much in-house experience of these issues. A temporary member of staff needs little training nor introduction to this area and will be able to bolster your teams with on-the-beat knowledge. Risk Management Linked to regulation is the growing risk management industry, with many clients I am speaking to, having a greater focus on risk during the last year or so – both the potential liabilities of taking risks but also the opportunities afforded in new areas. Many Interim and Temporary finance professionals have experience using financial instruments to deal with credit risk, market risk or foreign exchange risk, they are in high demand but add invaluable resources to your business. Finance contracting is a growing area of the market with plenty of opportunities for professionals and organisations alike. Here are more reasons to hire a temporary, interim or contractor to support your finance operations For a more detailed discussion about your finance recruiting needs and how I can best advise on a temporary solution, please call me on 07791 400 731 or email petra.brown@pro-finance.co.uk

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Office Flexibility: Listen to your Employees

With the recent announcement of the delay of ‘Freedom Day’ to the 19th of July, when the Government have planned to lift work from home rules, along with the easing of all lockdown and social distancing, there is a lot of talk about the new normal and making permanent changes to the way we work. If we have learnt anything from the pandemic, it’s that most people have successfully been able to WFH, have an improved work/life balance and business performance has not been affected So what are peoples true thoughts on returning to the office? Last week it was announced that a Goldman Sachs boss has described homeworking as an aberration and that they will all be expected to return to the office in June (when the original easing of lockdown was originally expected) and  JP Morgan announced they’d be coming back but on a rotational model so 50% of employees are in at any one time. Since January, I have spoken to a large number of recruiters that have been back in the office five days a week, with no flexibility or home working, and have been commuting in for months, some even when London was in Tier 4 restrictions. These have mainly been from smaller firms, although ever some of the bigger firms and global powerhouses are insisting on a certain number of days in the office every week, although there does seem to be a little more flexibility to WFH and support from their employers. It’s really tricky in recruitment, as a lot of the role is about the culture, office environment, and colleagues. In fact, in a recent poll I’d conducted on LinkedIn, 44% of recruiters are looking for good culture and flexibility in the workplace. It is really about what is working for your employees and how to get the best out of them rather than insisting on the long hours in the office traditionally associated with recruitment. Here at Pro-Recruitment Group, we are still working from home (and have been since October last year when we went into Tier 4) and our productivity has doubled. We have had some absolute record performances and Personal Bests and the success our teams are having is across the board. This has shown us that WFH really has been good for us and our employees. We will allow this to shape our future of work, and the general office working pattern going forward. I recently posted a poll on LinkedIn asking what would employees feel comfortable with/want to do if THEY could CHOOSE their office working pattern, rather than being told what it will be from their employer. Only 7% of people wanted to be back in the office five days a week and 16% wanted to WFH five days per week. The resounding response was 74% of people would like to split going back to the office/WFH on a two-day three-day split (either way). Speaking to many of my colleagues, so many feel this way, whilst working from home gives the flexibility and work/life balance and saves time and money on a commute. It is also great to see your colleagues/friends and comrades at work to still give you that boost and human interaction. The hybrid model has been adapted into our working patterns for good! A lot of the comments on the post were rather than prescribing a few days in the office and some at home, giving employees the opportunity to choose their own office working pattern and give complete fluidity. Whilst this can work for some, depending on office size/meetings and diary commitments may make this a bit tricky. Here at Pro, we have recently downsized our office to accommodate a more flexible and agile workspace for our employees, and whilst the office is open (and has remained open throughout the pandemic) for people who cannot or do not want to WFH, we will not be asking or telling staff to return until the government guidelines change after July 19th. From July each team will have one day per week in the office (as this is what was requested by the teams), and the remaining four days can be from home or the office, whichever suits each person best. Some people will be in more, some less, but it's about giving our staff the flexibility to do what works for them. Our teams have worked so hard and performed so well through the challenges of the pandemic that we know they can be trusted and relied on to work in the way that suits them best. We will be reassessing priorities and what is happening in the world and with our teams again in another six months or so, coupled with engagement surveys and feedback to find out what people actually WANT to do! If you want to find out more about how we are approaching and going about work in a post-Covid world and want to be given more flexibility then contact Loren on 07539 888 231 for an informal chat or virtual coffee to find out more.

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