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The 5 Best Job-Quitting Movie Scenes

If you've ever quit your job, you probably followed the correct processes and left in a quiet and dignified manner, in line with the advice "don't burn bridges" - which is always the best idea! There are so many examples of job-quitting scenes in movies where Hollywood manages to dramatise people leaving their jobs, often with comedic effect. However, even within these dramatic movie scenes, there are some valuable lessons to be learned - here are some of our favourites! 1. Jerry Maguire ​ In one of the least humble and most erratic exit scene, Jerry Maguire causes a huge scene and declares that he practically built the company, before dramatically scooping the fish out of their tank and asking who wants to come with him. This leads him to start his own management firm with single mother Dorothy Boyd who is the only person from the office who leaves with him, and they end up falling in love. What do we learn? Although Jerry Maguire is actually let go and doesn't exactly quit his job, we can still learn a lot from this scene and the movie in general. Sometimes one job might not work out the way you thought it would, but it can open up new opportunities that change your career path in a positive way. And sometimes it's worth taking risks! It might be scary to leave a job without knowing the outcome, but sometimes taking the plunge and following your instincts can work out for the best. 2. The Devil Wears Prada Andy Sach's job-quitting scene in The Devil Wears Prada is possibly one of the most uplifting scenes out there! We follow her story at Runway magazine - not fitting in, overworking herself, and changing her personality for a job she's not suited to. Undervalued and unhappy, she walks away from her uber-successful and powerful boss, throws her non-stop mobile into a fountain in Paris, and doesn't look back. What do we learn? Sometimes, it can be easier to stay in a job that isn't right for you just because it seems like the best option, and the only way to get where you want to be. And it can undoubtedly be nerve-wracking to finally admit that you need a change of working environment. However, you often find that once you take the leap and leave a job that makes you unhappy, it can be the best thing for you! It gives you a chance to be yourself and follow your dream career. And as it works out, her boss gives her a glowing recommendation to every publisher in New York City - so maybe even the worst bosses aren't all bad in the end... 3. Office Space There's a lot of job dissatisfaction in Office Space, and working as a waitress in a restaurant that expects too much of her and constantly tells her she should have more 'flair', Joanna finally has enough. She flips and fully expresses herself, and the scene concludes with her telling her jobsworth boss that ‘I hate this job and I don’t need it!’ - that's a bold way to quit! What do we learn? It's clear that Joanna doesn't really follow the advice "don't burn bridges" - but this is Hollywood right?! It's not the best idea to stick your middle finger up to your boss and storm out (even though sometimes you might want to!) but sometimes even the best of us can react on the spot when you're that dissatified with your job. Although this isn't how you should leave your career-focused job in the real world, it's good to recognise your self-worth, stick up for yourself and leave a bad working culture. 4. The Wolf of Wall Street "You show me a pay stub for $72,000 and I'll quit my job right now and come work for you." The Wolf of Wall Street is a film revolving around money, and Director Martin Scorsese really gets it right when Donnie Azoff first meets Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort and wants him to prove to him how much he makes a month. In this funny scene Donnie rings his boss and quits on the spot, joining the crazy world of corporate greed and corruption against the backdrop of New York's stock exchange in the 1980s. What do we learn? As far as career lessons go, there's very few valuable lessons to be learnt from the pair in this film. Although admittedly they are rich and successful, they don't end up coming out on top, and their whole journey is a downward spiral into a life of corruption. Aside from the fact that a job shouldn't just be about the money but about what you want from your career and your future, quitting your job and agreeing to work for a complete stranger you've just met is never going to be a great idea - no matter the figure on their pay stub! 5. Bridget Jones's Diary Not only does Bridget Jones find out that her boyfriend is cheating on her - but her boyfriend is also her boss! In this empowering scene, she quits her mindless job for an amazing role she's always wanted working in television. Plus, she does it in front of the whole office, completely humiliating her ex-boyfriend - a win win situation. What do we learn? Again, in the real world the chances are you wouldn't find yourself in a situation quite like Bridget Jones, but then she wouldn't be one of Britain's most loved rom-com characters. But if we take a leaf out of her book, we can learn that it's never good to settle. If you are in a job where you feel underappreciated or are treated badly, you can be sure that there is a better role out there. There are plenty of routes to follow (even if they might stray slightly from your current career path) but it's good to widen your experience, figure out what type of company and position suits you best, and then you'll end up in a job that suits your career aspirations and lifestyle perfectly. For more information about how Pro-Recruitment can help you with leaving your current job and finding your ideal role, contact us on 020 7269 6333.


Corporate Finance: 2019 Review and What to Expect in 2020

2019 Review: 2019 was another strong year for the Corporate Finance market. As MHA Tait Walker states, at times it has been an unpredictable and slightly 'nervous' market place, but this hasn't stopped deals from completing. Based on 2019 Q3 deal statistics, 2019 saw an approximate 16% increase on 2018 levels across disposals, mergers and acquisitions, and development capital and fundraising. Despite the challenging deal environment that presented itself in 2019 for corporate financiers and invesment bankers, deals remained robust across certain sectors including Consumer, Healthcare and TMT. The same can be said for the recruitment side of the Corporate Finance market - the past year has undoubtedly been challenging and unpredictable at times, but all in all, the market has flourished. Figures to date show that recruitment activity levels have been maintained, which has been fuelled particularly by UK companies seeking international opportunities. 2020 Prediction: The uncertainty of recent years will hopefully cease now that the near future of the British Government has been determined, with the General Election giving a majority to the Conservative Party. With the end in sight and the deadline for Brexit fast approaching, we predict that economic conditions will improve allowing businesses to grow and develop, and private equity investments will increase alongside the UK's political and economic state. This is reaffirmed by Adam Avigdori, co-founder of BlackRock Income and Growth Trust - "The employment market is strong, with underlying growth in both nominal and real wages for the first time in recent years. Combined with increased fiscal spending, we believe the UK economic outlook is more encouraging". The speed of Corporate Finance transactions are also likely to increase in the coming year as the UK has remained attractive for foreign investors, but the fluctuation of the pound inevitably slowed down deals in 2019. With economic stability this is expected to improve, and the volume of new deal opportunities as well as the time taken to close transactions will improve over the course of 2020. Here at Pro-Finance, we have seen a rise in demand for specialised Corporate Finance professionals within a range of different sectors. This is the case across investment banks, boutique firms and large accounting firms. We have also seen a growing need for experienced senior M&A professionals, as well a continued demand for Transaction Services professionals at all levels of experience from Associate all the way up to Director, which we will see throughout this year as well. For more information on this article, or to speak to James Thompson about your recruiting needs or opportunities in the Corporate Finance market, contact him on 020 7269 6365 or


Rise in Women's Opportunities Boosts UK to Record 76.3% Employment Rate

A record rise in women’s full-time employment opportunities has boosted the UK’s employment rates to a record high of 76.3% in the September to November 2019 period (up 0.5% from the previous quarter and 0.6% higher than the year before). The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released their findings for the previous quarter which show that 126,000 more women worked in a full-time role compared to the previous quarter, meaning that a record 32.9 million are currently employed in the UK. Over two-thirds of this growth has been attributed in the past year from women working full time, says ONS head of labour market and households, David Freeman. Figure 1: UK employment rate (aged 16 - 64 years), seasonally adjusted, January to March 1971 to September to November 2019 Source: Office for National Statistics The statistics go on to breakdown that the estimated employment rate for men was 80.4%, a 0.1% increase on the year. Similarly, women across the board increased on last year but we can see a massive 1.1% increase comparatively, meaning employment rates for women are now at 72.3%. The increase in women’s employment can be attributed to a couple of notable factors. Partly, it is a result of the changes we have seen to the state pension age for women, resulting in fewer women retiring before the age of 65. Also, there is a decrease in women being economically inactive. Economic inactivity measure people without a job who are not seeking work so are not unemployed. For example, looking after family or the home. Figure 2: Reasons for women being economically inactive Source: Office for National Statistics via BBC Generally speaking, since records began in 1971, economic inactivity has been steadily falling, this tends to be largely due to the rates falling with women. The ONS goes on to show that in the previous quarter (September – November 2019), the estimated inactivity was at a record low of 20.6%. Men were unchanged from the year previous, but astoundingly women hit a new record low of 24.9%; 0.8% lower than the year before. Unemployment is one of the closely-watched metrics that guide the Bank of England in deciding whether to raise or lower interest rates and will be taken into great consideration by the Monetary Policy Committee and their review of cutting the Official Interest rate next week to 0.05%. To view the latest opportunities at Pro-Tax click here, or for a confidential discussion contact Rebecca English on 020 7269 6320 or


60 Seconds With: Melissa Christopher, Tax Partner at Fitzgerald & Law

Melissa Christopher has been a Tax Partner at Fitzgerald & Law since 2006 and specialises in international expansions and structuring, transfer pricing and tax efficient share schemes. Melissa has a wide range of experience from working in the US, to secondments to a large UK telecoms company and the Department for International Trade, to working at PwC. Melissa speaks to Laura Thompson, Consultant at Pro-Tax, about working at F&L and shares interview tips and the secrets to good leadership. What three traits define you? Optimism, respectfulness, kindness What pet peeve do you have when interviewing? Someone not being truthful. Recruiting the right person is a two-way success. If someone isn’t honest about their requirements, their experience or their priorities, how can either side work out if it’s the right role for the right person? How do you define success? Happy client, happy team. Obviously, it’s an ever-moving target and no-one gets it right all time, but I feel good when clients say nice things about the team, they want to work with us again and when we’re only recruiting because we’ve got to expand the workforce. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? At my age, I’d be a retired international sports star (there’s that optimism!), but if I was starting out again, I’m not sure I’d do anything differently. I enjoy matching people to the right role – any chance of a role in recruitment?! What is your personal philosophy? I don’t knowingly have one, but I hope I treat others as I’d like to be treated. Can I steal a line from Cinderella? Have courage and be kind. What advice would you give to someone in day 1 of their new job? Listen, think, and ask questions. Every day. Preferably not the same questions every day. What’s your favourite thing about your Firm? The people are what defines us. Everyone works hard and does their best for our clients, so it genuinely feels as though we’re all pulling in the same direction. I love the fact that there’s no need to play the internal political games that you sometimes get in larger organisations. What are the secrets to good leadership? We all want to be an inspiration to those around us, but you’ve also got to earn their respect, make sound (and sometimes difficult) decisions, communicate effectively, teach and delegate at the right times and do all of that with humility and a sense of humour. That’s quite daunting when you see it all listed. What makes your Firm unique? There aren’t many firms that really specialise in what we do (inward investment) and I’m confident that by doing it well, we’re teaching skills and providing opportunities rarely found anywhere else. You will struggle to find another company where you know everyone else by name, gain support for valuable qualifications and have the chance to have a secondment to San Francisco, meeting and advising the next generation of fast growth tech companies. Who do you admire most in your industry? I’ve been lucky enough to work with some fabulous people including those at F&L, but I think anyone who keeps their clients, team and family all content deserves admiration. ​ For more information on this article, contact Laura Thompson on 020 7269 6317 or


Charity Times - 21/01/2020

GOVERNANCE Regulator bans trustees who used funds to go on holiday Two former trustees of an animal charity have been banned from holding senior charity roles after using the organisation’s money improperly, including to pay for a holiday. The Chichester and District Dog Rescue Society operates in East Sussex and Hampshire and aims to care and support stray and unwanted dogs in these areas. The Charity Commission was first alerted to problems at the charity by an independent examiner in March 2017, who had found discrepancies in its bookkeeping. New trustees are now in place at the charity. Amy Spiller, Head of Investigations Team at the Charity Commission, said: "Trustees are under an obligation to act in the best interests of their charity – by handling donations with care and stewarding funds towards the good cause they serve. The former trustees of this charity failed to deliver on this expectation – they were reckless with the charity’s money and used funds f or their own personal expenses. This almost cost the charity’s future and will have let down people who trusted this charity to help a cause they care about." Separately, Civil Society reports that nearly 7,000 people have petitioned the Charity Commission and the RSPCA to investigate how a dog rescue and rehoming charity is being run. The petition on claims that Animal Lifeline has unfairly turned down offers to rehome animals from the centre. The charity says the campaign has been orchestrated by an disgruntled individual who was informed that they could not provide a suitable home for a dog. Accountancy Daily GOV.UK Civil Society Regulator to probe footballers' charity The Charity Commission has launched an inquiry into the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) following concerns about the charity's relationship with its trade union. In November 2018, the regulator opened a regulatory compliance case to explore concerns raised about the charity’s relationship with the PFA trade union and their management of conflicts of interest. Despite extensive engagement with the trustees and other parties since then, the Commission maintains serious concerns. The inquiry will examine the charity’s relationship and transactions with other bodies and whether they are in the best interests of the charity and whether the charity’s activities have been exclusively charitable and for the public benefit, among other issues. Accountancy Daily Charity Times GOV.UK OPERATIONAL Fewer charities in England's most deprived areas A new report suggests that there are fewer charities in the most deprived areas of England. The report from New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), Where are England's charities?, says areas of England that are struggling economically, and which are typically located in post-industrial or coastal regions, are home to fewer charitable organisations. The report observes that necessary resources to set up and run a charity, including access to finance and volunteers, and specialist ‘civic’ skills, may be in shorty supply in deprived areas. Leah Davis, NPC's head of policy, said larger charities have a role to play. "Larger charities can support the smaller ones across the country by sharing resources and expertise, or by working with communities to form new groups. And funders can make their data available on platforms like 360Giving, so others can better target their giving as well, and fund for the long-term so communities have a better chance of sustained change," she said. Civil Society REPUTATION Consultation on responsible investment is launched A consultation has been launched by the Charity Commission into responsible investment and how investments can be aligned with the aims of charitable organisations. A blog post by Sian Hawkrigg, strategic policy adviser at the regulator, notes a growing desire among the public for transparency and an interest in “not just in what a charity achieves, but how it behaves along the way.” The Commission says some charities already have responsible or ethical investment policies, but it is keen to “ensure that others are not shying away from this due to a lack of awareness or the area being seen as too difficult”. Civil Society notes that charities including NCVO, RSPB, ClientEarth, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Nesta, Ashden Trust and Access, alongside law firm Bates Wells, formed a coalition last year to seek a legal ruling on responsible investment. Luke Fletcher, a Partner at Bates Wells, said that the regulator's launch of a consultation “seems a really positive move and direction of travel” - but he cautioned that there “are some underlying tensions in this area.” Civil Society Animal charity and non-profits listed on counter-terror guide Animal Aid, Greenpeace, PETA and Extinction Rebellion are among organisations included in a counter-terrorism police guide. The guide produced by Counter Terrorism Policing also lists neo-Nazi and far-right groups such as Britain First and Make Britain Great Again. Elisa Allen, PETA’s director, said: “This appears to be a sinister attempt to quash legitimate campaigning organisations – something that is as dangerous as it is undemocratic. The animal protection movement is a mainstream movement made up of thousands of organisations and millions of people from around the world who stand up against the exploitation and mistreatment of animals.” A spokesperson for Animal Aid said: “The inclusion of Animal Aid in this guidance, alongside other peaceful organisations, shows a fundamental lack of understanding of animal protection campaigning. It is imperative that th is damaging document is immediately withdrawn, and its content completely overhauled so that peaceful, progressive groups are not included within it." Civil Society COMMUNICATION Charity Film Awards 2020 shortlist is announced The Charity Film Awards 2020 shortlist from public voting has been revealed, with 125 charities listed, and includes entries from We are Sunshine People, Coppafeel!, Groundwork UK, CLIC Sargent, Muslim Aid, and Anthony Nolan. More than 65,000 members of the public voted for their favourite charity film and a panel of experts will now judge the shortlist. Simon Burton, co-founder of the Charity Film Awards, said: “The level of public engagement in the awards is spectacular and it is completely free of charge to the charities involved. The Awards give the truly creative films UK charities produce a context and shot of adrenaline resulting in a huge uplift in viewership, conversation and donations.” UKFundraising DIGITAL Charities to benefit from £8.6m digital fund grants Twenty charities have received £8.6m from The National Lottery Community Fund to improve and scale their digital services. Refugee Action, Relate, Citizen's Advice, Samaritans, Parkinson’s UK and Citizen’s Advice are among major charities who will use their share of the funds to either launch new digital projects or increase the impact of existing ones. Cassie Robinson, Head of Digital Grant Making at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support this diverse set of organisations as they harness digital technology in creative and forward-thinking ways, to both transform the way they operate, and the way that services are delivered across the voluntary sector over the long-term.” Charity Digital News Civil Society FUNDRAISING Guidance to help with Charities Act reporting requirements Guidance to help charities comply with the fundraising reporting requirements in the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 has been published by the Fundraising Regulator. An analysis of over 100 annual reports filed with the Charity Commission found that only 40% of charities included a statement on fundraising that met the requirements of the Act. Lord Toby Harris, Chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said: “Although our review has highlighted a low level of compliance with The Charities Act 2016 in terms of fundraising statements, we recognise that this is the first year of reporting in this manner. We are committed to working with charities, especially those with lower fundraising budgets, to promote better practice in reporting and the importance of providing a comprehensive statement.” Fundraising Regulator CEO Gerald Oppenheim added: “This first year of reporting gives us valuable insight into common issues arising in charities’ fundraising statements.” UKFundraising Charity Times Criticism of royal info on charity patronages Information held by Buckingham Palace on the Royal family's various charity patronages has been described as "inconsistent" and "incomplete." Caroline Fiennes from Giving Evidence, a research firm which wants charitable giving to be based on sound evidence, said there are “conflicting lists [of organisations which have a royal as their patron or president] on various websites” and information that is “markedly different.” Giving Evidence found it “extremely difficult to identify the patronages which are of UK registered charities,” she said, adding “We are still unable to isolate the UK registered charity patronages despite having now spent at least four-person-weeks on it. Hence the numbers often quoted in the press about the number of charities which various Royals are patrons are almost certainly wrong." Civil Society Does philanthropy work? Oxfam GB chief executive Danny Sriskandarajah and Rhodri Davies, the Head of Policy at Charities Aid Foundation, are among those taking part in a BBC discussion about the relative merits of philanthropy and whether the rich give more of their money to the state instead of charitable foundations. BBC News ​ ​​​​​​​​Back to Charity Times archive >>


Top Tips for Writing an Impressive Marketing CV

As a marketing expert looking for a new role, your CV can strengthen your personal brand, showcase your skillset and sell yourself as the right marketing professional for your ideal role. However, it can be a daunting task to sell yourself in your marketing CV. Here are the main steps to follow to write an effective CV and the biggest mistakes to avoid! 1. Make sure your marketing CV is tailor made When writing a marketing CV it’s always good to tailor it to the role or company that you’re applying to. Unfortunately, when it comes to CVs, one size doesn’t fit all. Don't just use the exact same CV for every role you apply to, edit it each time (even just slightly) to fit the specific role. As a marketing professional, you would never invest your budget in a campaign or spend time on design work without understanding your target audience and analysing customer behaviours before shaping your message. Approach your marketing CV in the same way! What areas of marketing do you specialise in? Are you a digital marketer, an SEO specialist, a content marketer, a social media expert, a or a multi-channel marketer? What kind of organisation do you want to work for? Are you looking to work for a marketing agency or for an in-house role? Maybe you want to join a large organisation with opportunities for international travel, or a small start-up with growth potential? These are the essential questions you should ask yourself before applying for any role, and tailoring your CV accordingly. 2. Quantify your most relevant experience Do you have any marketing qualifications? Fact and figures are a great way to reinforce your results and help you stand out. What specifically did you achieve in your last role - maybe you increased engagement across social media channels, won new clients, generated % ROI with a new marketing campaign, or increased traffic to your website through content creation? Think of your marketing CV as the About Us page on your website - it's your chance to sell yourself and showcase why you are the right choice. Highlight your relevant qualifications, marketing experience and your career achievements. Use your CV as a chance to highlight your unique selling points and don't include unnecessary details - stick to showcasing your skills and experience that make you the ideal person for the role. 3. Write an effective introduction As a marketing professional, you know more than anyone how an introduction or heading can either draw people in, or make them move on. Be selective and creative. When it comes to the introduction, or executive summary, of your CV, you need to think like a content marketer - highlight the reasons you are well suited to the specific role in a conversational way, explain your unique selling points and ensure that the employer wants to find out more about you. This is not only about creativity but also using your SEO knowledge to concisely summarise and include the relevant keywords, experience and skills to make your potential employer want to read on. Some companies may use an Applicant Tracking System and scan your CV for the inclusion of certain key elements before a human actually sees it. Identify key words and phrases from the job description and include them in your introduction, as well as throughout your CV. 4. Highlight your wide range of skills When applying for a marketing role, you of course want to make the experience and skills on your CV as specific as possible, particularly when applying for a highly specialised role. However, don't underestimate the value of your other skills and don't entirely miss them out. These include organisation skills (for managing multi-channel campaigns), numeracy skills (for analysing campaign performance and budgeting), digital skills (even without coding you'll need to show your aptitude for technology), communication skills (for written and video content, as well as communicating with your team, wider company and clients), and leadership and people skills (for understanding customers and clients, and managing a team effectively), as well as many more. 5. Protect your personal brand and keep formatting simple Although it is good to be creative and stand out, it is not always the best idea to do this through formatting. Employers will receive so many applications that basic errors could end in rejection. Bad formatting, typos, awkward layouts and inconsistencies can damage your brand and halt your application before it's even started - don't make that mistake! It’s always a great idea to put the order of your previous jobs in chronological order, and date them so it’s clear where you worked, when and how long for. If you don't do this, it instantly sends out the wrong message and reflects negatively on your organisational and communication skills and almost immediately disqualifies you from progressing further. While it’s fine to show a bit of personality in a CV do not go over the top. Nearly 40% of respondents in a YouGov poll put poor design down as a reason to disqualify an applicant. So what counts as over the top? Unusual fonts for one - stick with Arial, 11pt in black, it's easily read, smart and formal. What paper should you use? Easy - white A4. Do you need any snazzy borders to jazz it up? Absolutely not. Remember this is a professional document with the aim of selling you in a few seconds. You’ll definitely stand out using unusual formats, fonts and colours but not in the way that you want. Bullet points are your friend here. They’re to the point (no pun intended), easy to read and are great for people who are reading in a rush. Keep your CV clean and simple and let the content sell itself. 6. Honesty is the only policy It goes without saying that all information must be accurate and correct. Most companies carry out thier due diligence, so only note the skills you have, the systems you are capable of using, and the marketing knowledge you have gained in your career. There we have it - if you follow this advice and avoid the big mistakes, your marketing CV will be infinitely better and will strengthen your personal brand, showcase your skillset and sell yourself as the ideal marketing professional. If you need any further CV help or a professional point of view, then our expert marketing recruitment consultants are always happy to give you a few pointers. For more information on this article or for help with your marketing CV, contact Nicholas Ogden on 020 7269 6338 or


The Benefits of Working in an Audit Role in Reading

Working in Audit and Accounts in a Reading-based accountancy practice can offer many benefits. While large London firms are often top of the list for finance professionals considering a career move, there are many ways in which working more locally for a regional accountancy firm can offer the same, if not better, benefits as a large firm in the city. Type of Work & Responsibility: With big-city firms, you will often find that your clients are scattered across the UK or even internationally. So, if you are looking for travel and overnight stays with your role you would be well-suited to working in the city. However, if this is not at the top of your list, working in audit in a local practice means you will work with local clients. Firms in the Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 and Big 4 have offices in Reading, so you still get the chance to work with big clients on important and market-leading work, just more locally. Working Hours & Work-Life Balance: Accountancy firms based in Reading tend to have two types of core hours, either 9-5 or 8-4, and the hours are very flexible. Rather than being based in the city where your hours can be based on client pressures, you will often find that working outside of the city of London means not working as late and fewer client pressures that affect your day-to-day working hours. Working close to home means you cut the London commute! You will save the time spent travelling to and from the city, which in turn allows for a better work-life balance as you have more time to spend on your personal life outside of work. The average cost of a monthly travelcard is around 58% lower in Reading compared to London, meaning that you will not only save lots of time on your commute, but also money. A good work-life balance comes with the flexibility of working for a local practice, as opposed to a corporate city firm that might not be able to offer the same degree of flexible or agile working. Working in a regional practice might be well-suited to people with other commitments such as part-time carers or return-to-work parents. A role in a local firm can be perfect when it comes to arranging your work schedule around responsibilities like school runs, with many practices offering on-site parking to make it easier for parents. Local accountancy firms can offer flexible working arrangements, with perhaps 3 or 4 days in the office alongside agile working from home, or a working pattern that suits your personal situation. Salary & Benefits: On top of saving the monthly cost of the commute into London, audit and finance roles based in Reading accountancy firms offer similar salaries to those in the city and bonuses often match those offered in London firms. As well as this, rent in Reading is typically 30-40% lower compared to London, and buying property can be over 50% cheaper than London, meaning your money can go further. When it comes to benefits, packages are largely dependent on the sector and business. Reading-based accountancy firms typically offer excellent policies regarding Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) which is not quite as common in city firms. In general, local practices offer excellent benefits which match those offered in London-based firms, including good study support and registered trainers who can train you within your practice, high pensions, medical care, holiday allowance and more often than not, the same benefits you would receive working in a corporate city firm. Progression & Ease of Finding a New Opportunity: Regional accountancy firms still offer plenty of opportunities to progress and develop, all the way up to Partner if that is your end goal. Working in a London-based Big 4 office you can face a long path to Partner, whereas a smaller local practice can almost offer a fast-track route to Partnership. A role in a regional firm can be positive in several different ways when it comes to new opportunities. Not only can they offer excellent progression routes if you stay with that one firm, but they can also be a good stepping stone into a larger city firm or Big 4 office in London. Or, working locally in Reading might be a good option for you if you have already worked in the city and you are looking for a firm that offers more flexibility, less of a commute, and better suits your lifestyle. Here at Pro-Finance, we work closely with many Big 4, Top 10, Top 20, and boutique accountancy firms based in Reading who are looking for auditors of all levels to join their successful and close-knit teams. As impartial consultants with a wealth of experience, we are well positioned to advise on your next move, so should you wish to discuss how best to structure your next career step, please do get in touch. ​ For more information on this article, or to speak to Jordanne Napier about a move into a finance audit role in Reading, contact her on 020 7269 6353 or


Charity Times - 14/01/2020

FUNDING A happy new year for Scottish charities More than 60 Scottish charities are to share almost £1.9m of funding from new grant programmes launched by the Bank of Scotland Foundation. The programmes are designed to provide stability for small and medium sized charities seeking to make positive and lasting change by addressing disadvantage or social exclusion. Philip Grant, chair of the foundation’s board of trustees, said: “Our emphasis on social exclusion and disadvantage means that our programmes can continue to help to improve the lives of many vulnerable people across Scotland addressing areas such as homelessness, debt management, reducing isolation and supporting job creation," adding "As the current funding environment in Scotland becomes increasingly challenging, I’m very pleased to confirm that our new strategy sees us continue to provide core funding for charities. We know that core funding is hugely important.&rdquo ; Among the 62 charities to receive grants are: Epilepsy Action Scotland, Scottish Sports Futures, Simon Community Scotland, Beatson Cancer Charity and Motherwell & Wishaw Citizens Advice Bureau. Third Force News DIVERSITY Women are still underrepresented in top charity jobs A report from the Fawcett Society says the UK is “generations away” from achieving gender equality as women remain seriously underrepresented in top jobs across society. The 2020 Sex and Power Index from the women's rights and equality charity found that women account for just over a quarter (27%) of charity CEOs. Meanwhile, there are only six female FTSE 100 chief executives – a figure unchanged since the charity’s last report in 2018. The report also reveals gender equality is "alarmingly" worse for women of colour who are totally absent from senior positions in many sectors. Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society chief executive, said: "Despite much lip service about the importance of having women in top jobs, today's data shows we are still generations away from achieving anything close to equality. If we want change, we have to make it happen." Charity Digital News note that the Fawcett Society is partnering with race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust on the pay and progression of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women in the workplace. Charity Digital News Financial Times The Times The Guardian The Independent Daily Express MANAGEMENT Scottish charity names new chief executive Rebecca Simpson has been appointed as the new chief executive of Scottish arts in health charity Hearts and Minds. She has previously been schools and sustainable transport manager at Living Streets, and head of young people programmes at Youth Scotland. Simpson said Hearts and Minds “brings together my love of working in health and the arts. The work that Hearts and Minds deliver is very unique and provides so much joy for people at a time when they need it the most.” The charity is this year celebrating the 21st anniversary of its Clowndoctor programme and is seeking to further embed the professional practice of therapeutic clowning in Scotland’s healthcare provision. Third Force News SUPPORT Free online toolkit for smaller charities is upgraded The Charity Excellence Framework, a free charity performance online toolkit, has carried out upgrades aimed at offering support to small charities. The online toolkit covers issues including HMRC regulations and accessing government resources, and also fundraising guides featuring funder lists for smaller organisations. Charity Excellence Framework founder Ian McLintock said: “The biggest upgrade will be the introduction of social franchising. This will enable large multi-site charities, as well as groups of small charities, to access the core system, to create and control new functionality. For example, enabling groups of charities to easily create specialist quality marks and large charities to create their own framework models, with their own top-level dashboards.” Charity Digital News RISK Late returns risk reputations Charities risk reputational damage by submitting late returns, according to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Currently, 1,600 Scottish charities, or 6.5% of the total number, have missed their deadline for submitting the information and have still to submit annual documentation to the regulator. Maureen Mallon, OSCR’s chief executive, said: “Being a registered charity is something to be proud of and this status comes with a number of responsibilities. A charity that fails to meet their obligations can damage their own reputation and potentially affect public confidence in charities. Annual reporting allows charities to demonstrate the great work they do.” Mallon went on to note that the OSCR has the power to take action against charities who don't meet their obligations, and resources are allocated to engage further with organisations that are substantively late. Third Force News Helping charities better manage risk A downloadable set of codes has been published online by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (CIIA) to help charities better manage risk. The codes help organisations to effectively carry out an internal financial audit. BP’s Audit Committee Chair Brendan Nelson explains in a promotional video released by the CIIA about how charities can best use the code's recommendations. “Strong, effective and well-resourced internal audit functions have a central role to play in supporting boards to better manage and mitigate the risks they face. The Code makes 38 important recommendations, including the right for internal audit to attend executive committee meetings, unrestricted access for internal audit to all parts of the business, and a direct line for internal audit to the chief executive. I urge boards, and in particular audit committees, to apply appropriately the Internal Audit Code of Practice to incre ase the effectiveness of their internal audit functions, in the pursuit of stronger corporate governance and risk management,” said Nelson. Charity Digital News GOVERNANCE Regulator bans trustees after theft of funds The founding trustees of Jole Rider Friends, a children’s education charity, have been disqualified from acting as a trustee or in a senior management role of a charity for 12 years after being held responsible for serious mismanagement of governance and finance. The Charity Commission found that David Swettenham and Helen King were guilty of serious misconduct and/or mismanagement in their handling of the charity’s finances and governance, and the pair also failed to comply with warnings from the regulator. Amy Spiller, head of the investigations team at the Charity Commission, said: “The trustees of Jole Rider grossly misused the charity in paying themselves unauthorised remuneration, and in doing so they betrayed their donors as well as those that could have benefited from this charitable support . . . Their behaviour throughout, both in the running of their charity as well as during this inquir y, was a world apart from that expected of trustees.” Swettenham and King say the Commission’s report contains “a serious and misleading distortion of fact” and have filed 27 separate formal complaints to the Commission. Civil Society Accountancy Daily Birmingham Sikh Channel charity investigated by regulator A Birmingham based Sikh broadcasting charity is being investigated by the Charity Commission over "serious regulatory concerns." The regulator said it launched a probe into the governance and financial management of Birmingham-based Sikh Channel Community Broadcasting Company Limited in November after concerns following a meeting with trustees. The commission said it would examine whether trustees had properly exercised their legal duties and responsibilities under charity law in the administration of charitable funds held by the organisation, and will also look at the financial management of the organisation and whether there has been private benefit to the trustees or former trustees, among other issues. GOV.UK BBC News VOLUNTEERING Public sector volunteers are 'less satisfied' than charity volunteers New research from NCVO suggests people who give their time to public services are less satisfied with their experience than those who volunteer for charities. The NCVO's Time Well Spent: Volunteering in the Public Sector survey of 10,000 adults found that public sector volunteers were more likely than charity volunteers to plan to quit. Seventy-six per cent said they would continue volunteering in the public sector compared to 83% of charity volunteers. Although 94% of those volunteering in the public sector say that they were satisfied with their experience, only 47% said they were very satisfied, compared to 58% among charity volunteers. Karl Wilding, chief executive of NCVO, said: “The differences we found in the survey are not always dramatic but along with what we heard in focus groups they do hint at areas for improvement in public sector volunteering programmes, particularly in terms of making role s flexib le and minimising bureaucracy . . . Good volunteering programmes can deliver great returns for communities and public sector bodies, but they do require investment, both financially and in terms of a real commitment from organisations to truly understand volunteering.” Civil Society CAMPAIGNS New charity to tackle inequality in Cambridge A new charity, Cambridge 2030, is being set up to help address inequality in the UK’s most unequal city. The top 6% of earners take home 19% of income generated in the city, while the bottom 20% take home just 2% of total income. The charity aims to bring together Cambridge City Council with businesses, charities, volunteers and academics to create a coordinated plan to address the problem. Executive councillor for housing Richard Johnson says there is a “moral responsibility” on organisations and firms that have profited from being based in the city to help address inequality, and that while the council is spending millions on its anti-poverty strategy, it is restricted by the funding it receives from central Government. The Observer OTHER Charity shop’s designer sale takes in £22,500 The Shelter charity shop in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge collected a record £22,500 during its 17th annual New Year sale of designer brands. The one-week event featured items from names including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry. The Herald ​ ​​​​​​​​Back to Charity Times archive >>


Audit and Accounts Interim: The 6 Advantages of Contracting

In 2019, we saw day rates for Audit and Accounts professionals rise dramatically. Considering the current market with continuous gaps at the senior level we expect 2020 to be the same, and predict more and more contract or temporary roles to be opening up throughout the year. Over the past year, Pro-Finance noted an increase in the number of clients and candidates who are considering contract or temporary employment. We began to ask - why the rise in people exploring their temporary opportunities and the pros of contracting? Whatever the reason, you will certainly find the world of contracting is extremely diverse and can help you develop invaluable skills for the future. Below, we explore the various positives of contracting as an Audit or Accounts professional: 1. Contracting offers flexibility Contracting allows you to choose when you work. Obviously, you must be upfront with your employer, but you can choose assignments which may be full-time, part-time, short-term or long-term projects. It can be the ideal arrangement if you work in Audit or Accounts and are trying to fit your career around childcare or caring for a relative. 2. It allows you to develop your skills Whatever your specialism within the finance, Audit and Accounts sectors, each interim placement will be unique and will require different skills - both technical and personal. You will be able to expand and improve your skill set which will enhance your CV and allow you to develop your own personal progression. 3. It offers exposure When contracting, you will experience many different businesses, environments, and working cultures. This will offer an invaluable insight into where you work best, what best suits you as an individual, and where you might choose if you want a permanent role further down the line in your career. 4. An opportunity to build up your contacts Working at lots of different places and in a wide range of businesses offers you the opportunity to build relationships and make contacts that can help in the future. As well as this, also consider the contacts you make at your recruitment agency who will really get to know you and your strengths with every placement. 5. It could lead to a permanent role Contracting allows both you and the employer and business you are working for to ‘audition’ each other. It is a far safer and less stressful way to see if you like a role and a practice, and can give you an insight into which parts of audit you are best suited to and what aspects of a role you would like to continue with throughout your career. 6. The pay When contracting, you can earn more than the permanent salary offered by working on an increased hourly or day rate. This is often to compensate for the risk and instability associated with a short-term assignment, so if you are looking for a short-term way to save money while buliding up your skillset and experience, contracting could be the right path to take. For the businesses who hire on an interim basis, contractors can offer a valuable and indispensable service on an often short-term basis. It is an ideal solution to hiring challenges such as sickness, maternity leave and increased short-term workload, and even allows them to ‘try before they buy’ when looking to recruit for a permanent role. Here at Pro-Finance, we have developed the flexibility to work alongside candidates and clients whether their needs be either contract or permanent. If you wish to discuss how best to structure your next career step, contact us now. As impartial consultants with a wealth of experience, we are well positioned to advise on your next move. For more information, contact George Tatnell on 020 7269 6357 or


December 2019: Finance Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the finance sector. Here are the key movements in December 2019: Baldwins have appointed Malcolm Cook as a Partner in the Corporate Finance team based in Birmingham. Cook, who has more than 20 years’ transaction services experience, joins from Clairfield International and before this was a Partner at BDO. RSM have appointed Andrew Mason as Partner in the East Anglia office. Mason joins RSM from Price Bailey where he was a Director, having spent most of his 25-year career working in the Cambridgeshire market for mid-tier firms. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has named Dame Fiona Kendrick as the new Chair of its Public Interest Body (PIB). Kendrick, the former chief executive and chairman of Nestle UK, joined as an independent nonexecutive in July 2019. She will take over as chair from Lord Gus O’Donnell, who is stepping down after four years on the PIB. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has appointed Michael Stewart to the newly created role of Global Leader, Corporate Affairs and Communications. He has also become a member of PwC’s global markets leadership team and chairs PwC’s global public policy board based in London. Alvarez & Marsal has appointed Wayne Jephson as a London-based Managing Director in the Global Transaction Advisory Group. Jephson, who has 18 years’ experience, will specialise in providing financial due diligence services with a specific focus on infrastructure investors and private equity transactions. He joins from Ernst & Young (EY) where he most recently served as a Director within its Infrastructure Transactions Group. For more information about this article, or to speak to Callum about your recruiting needs or Finance jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 020 7269 6369 or Back to Finance Movers & Shakers Archive >>


December 2019: Tax Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the tax sector. Here are the key movements in December 2019: PRACTICE LONDON AND CITY Partners Grant Thornton has appointed Lee Holloway as a Tax Partner. Holloway has over 20 years’ experience in consumer business and tax risk management, specialising in the retail and consumer business sector, having spent nearly a decade leading the tax functions at Next PLC and Halfords Group. Grant Thornton has appointed Steve Holt as a Partner in the Specialist Investigations Team, part of the Forensic and Investigation Services practice. The Simmons Gainsford Group has appointed Darren Hersey as Senior Partner. Hersey became Partner at Simmons Gainsford in 1998, having joined the firm in 1992. He specialises in tax, with considerable experience advising on high value transactions and heads up the firm’s Private Client Team. Harwood Hutton has recruited Michael Ashdown as its new Head of VAT and Indirect Taxes. Senior Appointments Thomas St John Group, a leading international accounting firm for artists, entertainers, sports people, has recruited Gary Rowson as its new UK Tax Director. MIDLANDS AND THE EAST Partners Ernst & Young (EY) has announced the acquisition of AgilityWorks, a technology consultancy business that helps global organisations to shape and deliver digital business transformations with the latest generation of SAP technology. They will operate as EY AgilityWorks. Begbies Traynor has opened a new office in Grimsby, located at Prince Albert Gardens. NORTH WEST Senior Appointments DTE Business Advisers has appointed Victoria Frost as a Tax Consultant in the Bury office. Frost qualified as a chartered accountant in 2012 where she worked in accounts and audit before switching her focus to taxation. Alexander & Co has appointed Sharon Collier as a Tax Senior Manager based in Manchester. Collier, who has 30 years’ experience, has previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte and KPMG. YORKSHIRE Joanne Powell has joined BHP Chartered Accountants in Leeds as Tax Partner, effective November 2019. SCOTLAND Senior Appointments Anderson Anderson & Brown has made several promotions to the senior management team including in Corporate Tax, Katy Thomson. OFFSHORE Partners Deloitte Ireland has appointed Kevin Norton, a Transfer Pricing specialist with 15 years’ experience, as a Partner in the tax department. Dillon Eustace has announced the appointment of 3 new Partners including Richard Lacken who has been made a Partner in the Tax division. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has announced the arrival of 7 new Partners in Paris, including in tax; Christine Daric and Olivier Mesmin who handle Corporate and Real Estate taxation matters. Mazars Ireland has announced the appointment of two new Partners due to ongoing business growth across the firm. Ken Killoran has been appointed as a Tax Partner leading the Employment Tax and Global Mobility Services area, and Padraig Daly has been appointed Corporate Tax Partner. COMMERCE & INDUSTRY Lindsay Jafaripak has been appointed the Group Tax Director at Resolution Life. Lindsay was most recently Tax Partner at PwC specialising in the UK insurance tax market but had previously held in-house positions with AXA and Friends Life. The Rank Group have promoted Gurpreet Makh to Head of Tax. His background consists of time spent with PwC and Grant Thornton and his previous role at Rank was that of Senior Tax Manager. Andy McLean has been promoted to Head of Tax & Treasury at Wood, where he was initially deputising the role. Andy had previously held in-house positions with Amec Foster Wheeler and SSL International subsequent to his training at Arthur Andersen. For more information about this article, or to speak to Rebecca about your recruiting needs or Tax jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 02072696320 or Back to Tax Movers & Shakers Archive >>


Legal - What's in Store for 2020?

2019 was an interesting year for the legal market. Despite constant political uncertainty, signs of weakness in global economies, and Brexit continuing to loom over us, the legal market has remained buoyant and shows no sign of letting up. Over the past year here at Pro-Legal, we have seen a number of firms ranging from White Shoe US firms, Magic Circle through to boutique firms continue to recruit, not only to replace, but also impressive increases in new work and fulfilling ambitious growth plans. We expect that 2020 will prove to be no different, and changes in regulation and technology are likely to reshape the market as we move forward into the next decade. Going forward into 2020, due to the outcome of the election we can predict more stability around the subject on the basis that Brexit will be going ahead. The political and economic uncertainty from the past few years inevitably caused firms to be more cautious in their outlook and planning, but with the end in sight, we expect to see law firms driving forwards in the next year. We are also likely to see investors starting to invest at a higher rate. There was inevitably a hold on stock investments into the UK for a period, but now people are looking at how to best spread their money and in turn, are seeking legal advice on the best route to invest and to deal with any obstacles. Firms are also likely to see Brexit as an opportunity and we predict that there will be plenty of activity in the market fuelled by private equity money, particularly in the region of mid-market entrepreneurial businesses. Technology and automation will continue to have a huge impact on the legal sector. Going forward into 2020, we will inevitably see even more investments in technology and AI, which means more automating processes. The so-called "digital revolution" and its new technologies are revolutionizing the world of work and in turn, disrupting professional services. Organisations are being forced to evolve to avoid being negatively impacted by advancements in technology, and law firms need to ensure they are constantly adapting, investing in technology, and transforming their processes in order to thrive. This also means that it is even more important for legal professionals to ensure that their soft skills and technical skills are up to scratch. Alongside Brexit and advancements in technology, law firms should also consider the growing cyber risks in 2020. Law firms typically hold a lot of valuable data and so is a concern that firms should be working to actively prevent cyber attacks and data breaches on a regular basis, particularly when considering the recent tightening of GDPR rules and regulations. The pressure on profits is forcing organisations and firms to drive profitable growth in new ways. Mergers & acquisitions with firms based outside of the UK are becoming an increasingly common way to boost profit and growth in the international market. This form of business requires a great deal of legal attention to ensure everything is done exactly right, and is an industry that is expected to generate five billion. It is therefore essential that law firms are ready to take advantage and provide innovative solutions to these M&A processes. Despite uncertainty in 2019, the majority of firms have still reported growth - both profit and revenue - and going forward into 2020 we expect a period of growth as many of the aforementioned UK and global factors take effect. Our clients have indicated that with renewed budgets in January they are keen to continue hiring experienced talent into their growing teams. If you would like a confidential discussion about the market and your options moving forward, please do get in touch as one of our expert advisors can offer you a fantastic insight into what might be available to you. There is certainly a lot ahead of us for 2020 and in the legal market; here’s to a new year and many new and exciting beginnings. For more information on this article, or to discuss your recruiting needs for 2020, please contact David Bucknor on 020 7269 6332 or


Finance - What's in Store for 2020?

2019 was a year of change for the finance market. From the Bryndon and Kingman reviews raising issues around audit quality, to recommendations to separate audit and non-audit services of accounting firms, to the introduction of the PCAOB and Making Tax Digital, the past year has undoubtedly shaped the finance, audit and accounting sectors. 2020 will prove to be no different, with changes in regulation and technology promising to reshape the market as we move forward into the next decade. 2019 Review: The Bryndon report was undoubtedly one of the biggest things to happen within the audit and accountancy sector in 2019. Sir Donald Bryndon’s year-long review into the British audit industry recommended a breakaway from the accounting profession and the formation of a separate industry with its own governing principles, and also gave recommendations on how to increase confidence in the audit sector and ways to prevent unnecessary corporate collapses. Simon Dingemans, the new chairman of the Financial Reporting Committee (FRC), also called on the government to enforce the separation of audit and consulting at the Big 4 accounting firms, stating that breaking up Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC was a ‘critical’ measure to improve the quality of their audits. However, these recommendations have been resisted by the Big 4 as well as mid-tier firms across the industry who believe this break-up would challenge firms’ resilience. Additionally, John Kingman’s independent review of the FRC recommended that the governing body should be replaced with an independent statutory regulator called the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA). Business Secretary Greg Clark has responded that the government will take forward the recommendations from the Kingman Review and replace the FRC with the ARGA, a body which will “build on our status as a great place to do business and form an essential part of the government’s continued efforts to grow trust and public confidence in business and the regulations that govern them.” Specifically, both the Bryndon and Kingman review raised issues around audit quality, the current role of the FRC and the position of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) - the new quality oversight body to check audit quality. Both Kingman and Bryndon also used their reports to call on ARGA, the audit governing body that is set to replace the FRC, to set new qualifications for the sector. The various reviews and reports focusing on the accounting and audit industries undertaken in the past year, have collectively recommended so many changes that could reshape the profession going forward. 2019 also saw the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD). As of Monday 1st April 2019, we became fully cemented into the digital era. VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000 are now required to use the MTD service to keep records digitally and use competitive software to submit their VAT returns for VAT periods that started on or after 1st April 2019. Looking forward into 2020: As mentioned above, the implementation of the PCAOB as the new quality oversight body will reshape the audit sector. UK audit firms who play a substantial role in the audit of US issuers, brokers and dealers can now grant access to their audit working papers if requested by the US authorities, and the PCAOB will establish auditing and related professional practice standards for registered public accounting firms to follow in the preparation and issuance of audit reports. Firms registered with the PCAOB will range from sole proprietorships to large firms with extensive global networks, and the governing body will use its investigative authority to address serious audit deficiencies and impose sanctions and penalties. The implementation of IR35 will inevitably affect contractors in the coming year. As well as this, the new rules of IR35 in the private sector will apply from 6 April 2020 to medium and large businesses. Although the legislation will not come into play until April of this year, audit and accountancy businesses need to start considering the potential impact of IR35 and ensure they are managing their PAYE compliance effectively. Last year saw a multitude of uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Going forward into 2020, due to the outcome of the election we can predict more stability around the subject on the basis that Brexit will be going ahead, and we are likely to see investors starting to invest at a higher rate. There was inevitably a hold on stock investments into the UK for a period, but now people are looking at how to best spread their money and in turn, are utilising accountants to provide advice on the best route to invest. Companies are also likely to see Brexit as an opportunity and we predict that there will be plenty of activity in the market fuelled by private equity money, particularly in the region of mid-market entrepreneurial businesses. As touched upon in the 2019 recap, Making Tax Digital is undoubtedly another area to watch in 2020. MTD for income tax went off the agenda due to the hung parliament but it is a key part of HMRC;s strategy to digitise which means that it will be a key focus going forward this year. Moving away from matters of regulation, technology and automation will continue to cause issues for those in the accounting and audit sectors. Going forward into 2020 we will inevitably see even more investments in technology and AI, which means more automating processes. These new technologies are revolutionizing finance and accounting work, which means that it will become even more important for finance professionals to ensure that their soft skills and technical skills are up to scratch. There is certainly a lot ahead of us for 2020 and in the finance market; here’s to a new year and many new and exciting beginnings. For more information on this article, or to discuss your recruiting needs for 2020, please contact Callum MacRae on 020 7269 6369 or



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