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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.


60 Seconds With: Richard Kleiner, CEO & Managing Partner at Gerald Edelman

Richard Kleiner is Managing Partner and CEO at Gerald Edelman. Richard qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1983 and became a Partner in 1986. Richard has recently passed the examinations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants to become licensed to offer Probate Administration services. Throughout his impressive career, Richard's main areas of focus have been strategic management, corporate finance and private equity, and he holds several non-executive board member positions for companies in various sectors ranging from investment advisers and technology companies to those in the retail, hospitality, business services and professional services sectors. You have had an impressive career with Gerald Edelman, what do you think the benefits are for sticking with the same firm? Committing to the same business gives you the opportunity to develop a niche and reach a position of increasing influence to shape the future of the firm - both in terms of business development and internal processes. This is because you get to really understand the workings of the business and are able to build a reputation of dependability, allowing you to gain trust, progress and influence future decisions. On day one, you never know what lies ahead of you. When did you realise that you wanted to be a Partner? I have always been driven and ambitious, so it is no surprise that from the very first day I started work in 1978, I knew I wanted to become a Partner. How do Gerald Edelman differentiate themselves in the market? We do not refer to ourselves as accountants. We find this too limiting. Instead, we have a strategy to become the first port of call for any business or client and therefore invite businesses to “ask us anything”. How big is the partnership team and what advice would you give to anyone who wants to join the partnership? The Partnership team will shortly comprise 16+ Partners. Anyone wanting to join the firm as a Partner - whether an internal member of the team or externally - needs to show dynamism, passion, enthusiasm and an ability to have a positive impact through leadership. How would the Partnership group describe you? You’d better ask other Partners! Honestly, I think they would say I am extremely driven and responsive. I am always looking at how we can improve and develop as a business; I do not like to stand still. What advice would you give to your younger self? To move into Corporate Finance at a much earlier age. I truly enjoy being involved in real deal-making, particularly structuring joint ventures and alliances and helping to prepare businesses for sale. When you interview someone for your organisation, what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you? How many questions and challenges they have for the firm. This is perhaps the most important thing for me, I want people that work at Gerald Edelman to be as passionate and ambitious about the business as I am. I am also mindful that an interview is a dual process; we have to sell the firm, perhaps even more significantly than the interviewee has to sell themselves. What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation face? IT is one of the biggest challenges the next generation must face. They need to gain as much experience as possible, as quickly as possible. IT is already taking over many of the manual tasks that used to be undertaken by humans. When you stepped from Partner to Managing Partner/ CEO, what challenges did you personally face? One of the biggest challenges I faced was uniting the team and ensuring that our internal management information was fit for purpose. Thanks for your time Richard. One final question for our readers, what do you like to do to unwind outside of work? Cooking and drinking wine. For more information on this article, contact George Tatnell on 020 7269 6357 or


Working in Corporate Finance: What to Expect and How to Get There

A role in Corporate Finance gives you the opportunity to be at the centre of how a business operates. Playing an active role in the commercial success of a business is both exciting and challenging and can be a very rewarding career choice. But what can you expect from a career in Corporate Finance, and how difficult is the jump? If you want to be at the heart of what makes businesses tick then a career in Corporate Finance might be the right path for you. You will get to see first-hand how organisations source funding, handle capital and complete takeovers and your role will cover a broad range of activities which are primarily concerned with transactions in which capital is raised in order to increase the value of the company or clients you are responsible for. There are a number of professional roles that fall under the umbrella of Corporate Finance in which you could find yourself working on a wide range of matters including mergers & acquisitions, raising startup or expansion capital, or financing joint ventures. As Corporate Finance is so integral to business and covers such a wide range of duties, the opportunities are vast. Roles can vary depending on the firm and the team you sit within, but typically you will work within transaction support of M&A or lead advisory, although more firms are beginning to offer hybrid roles which allow you to develop a broader skillset early on in your career. Many choose to qualify then remain as an advisor within an accountancy firm, or you can choose to make the move into a professional services company, whether this is an investment bank, brokerage firm or independent advisory firm. A role in Corporate Finance is forward-thinking, strategic, proactive and entrepreneurial in nature, and if you have good commercial awareness and a natural interest in business, it could be the right career path for you! How can you make the jump from Audit to Corporate Finance? We often find that people with an academic background in accounting & finance or economics are suited to a career in Corporate Finance. While no other specific qualifications are needed, we are seeing a rise in the number of people taking specialised financial modelling courses and having your ACA/ACCA/CFA will put you in a strong position and give you the necessary foundations to understand the fundamentals. Corporate Finance is a popular choice for lots of chartered accountants which, naturally, means there is a lot of competition - you will most likely find the market is swamped with your fellow audit and advisory colleagues as well as existing employees of banks, boutiques, and Big 4 M&A teams that may rank ahead of you as the ‘ideal’ Corporate Finance candidate. There are things you can do to help the progression of your own Corporate Finance career. You could move to an established firm with a large Corporate Finance division which provides the opportunity for secondments or ad hoc exposure. Training within the Audit team of an accountancy firm and studying for your ACA/ACCA will allow you to establish foundations that make the move into Corporate Finance more natural. Search for exposure that will differentiate you from other members of the audit team, develop your soft skills, and focus on the professional qualifications that will stand you in good stead when it comes to applying for the Corporate Finance roles available. Here at Pro-Finance, we have helped candidates make the jump from Audit to Corporate Finance, whether this is because we have placed the Partner they are meeting and they want to recruit externally, or because it’s a specialist boutique and they only take candidates with top-notch academics and experience from top-tier firms. Speaking to a specialist recruiter about your options in the market and the opportunities available can put you in a good position, help you stand out from the crowd, and help you to plan your career path in Corporate Finance. For more information on this article, or to speak to James about your next career step into Corporate Finance, contact him on 020 7269 6365 or


60 Seconds With: Martyn Atkinson, Partner, Head of Audit and Accounts at Sopher + Co

Martyn Atkinson has been with Sopher + Co for over 20 years and is now Partner and Head of Audit and Accounts. At Sopher + Co, Martyn manages a significant portfolio of corporate clients and owner-managed businesses. His client base crosses many industry groups but his main focus is in financial services (including hedge funds), media and entertainment and professional services firms. You have an impressive career with all of your time being at Sopher + Co., what do you think the benefits of staying with one firm throughout your career history are? The ability to grow strong client relationships. At Sopher + Co one of our core values is putting the client first and during my time here I have been able to create long-lasting relationships with clients understanding their needs and tailoring our services as their businesses and circumstances change. I have also enjoyed watching my team grow and being able to act as a mentor gives me immense job satisfaction as I watch them progress through their career. On day one you never know what lies ahead of you. When did you realise that Sopher + Co. was the firm you wished to be a Partner at and why? Established in 1975 as a family business, the firm have kept the same values at its core. This allows for decisions to be made at a rapid pace as there is an open-door policy with all Partners. This also means for those individuals who are willing to work hard there is more responsibility and progression routes available. What is great about working for Sopher + Co.? Over the years I have watched the firm grow its strong reputation and with this comes the opportunity to work with a diverse portfolio of clients spanning over 20 industries. This includes some of the most influential entrepreneurial individuals and businesses in the UK. As a top 50 Accountancy firm (Private Client) we have a key focus on growth and professional development of our colleagues with study packages available and a great working environment. How big is your team and what advice would you give anyone who would apply to be part of the team? Within our Audit and Accounts team, there are 76 fee earners spanning all career levels. As an interviewer, I look for a range of qualities within candidates – enthusiasm, attention to detail, confidence within their own abilities and good interpersonal skills. Candidates who are ambitious, hard-working and are good at what they do can progress and reach their potential at our firm. How would your team describe you? You will have to ask them… but I would hope: methodical, collected, approachable and knowledgeable. What advice would you give to your younger self? Be your own self-advocate in order to drive your own success. Make the most of every opportunity you are given, even if you don’t recognise it as an opportunity at the time. Don’t be afraid to take risks and ask questions– as we all have to learn! When you interview someone for your team or organisation what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you? Generally, before the interview, I engage in some small talk and this together with body language and the handshake gives a good idea of somebody’s personality and a real idea of where and how they would fit into the team. What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation face? I think the next generation will have to embrace change at a more rapid pace, particularly as further technological advancements are made. Whilst there is a lot of uncertainty within the finance sector currently, I believe automation and AI will play a much bigger part in the role of accountants in the future. What do you do to unwind outside of work? I play hockey at the weekends as well as going to the gym to try and keep fit. Thanks for your time Martyn, and as a little treat for all of our readers…do you have any guilty pleasures you can share with us? I am a fan of Eurovision! ​ For more information on this article, contact Callum on 020 7269 6369 or Back to 60 Seconds archive >>


July 2019: Finance Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the finance sector. Here are the key movements in July 2019: Darren Reeds has joined CVR Global as a Partner for the Insolvency and Restructuring firm. Darren joins from Deloitte where he spent over five years as Head of Financial Advisory Services for the Big Four firm’s insolvency and restructuring division in the British Virgin Islands. He specialises in fund recovery, and cross-border litigation and enforcement procedures and will be based at the London office. Nick Andrews has joined BDO as a Forensics Partner. Nick will be based in their London office after joining from Grant Thornton, where he was Partner in the forensic and investigation services department Simon Dingemans has been appointed Chair of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), and will lead its transition into a newly established regulator called the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA). Simon is the recently retired CFO of the FTSE 100 pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline. Specialist corporate finance firm Verde Corporate Finance has hired Mike Fenwick FCA as Associate Director to boost the senior management team. He has over 30 years’ experience and spent 28 years in practice including 21 years at PWC before being appointed finance director at Wild Water Group. MHA MacIntyre Hudson has appointed Robert Blech as a Director to join their professional practices sector team. He has 17 years’ experience in accountancy, 14 of those as a Director at Accura Accountants. He will specialise in accounting for the legal sector including SAR audits. 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 02072696369 or Back to Finance Movers & Shakers Archive >>


Using a Recruiter to Your Advantage

Whatever stage you are at in your career, whether you are Associate or Partner level, having the right people help you in your job search can be instrumental to the success of your career. The right consultant can help you with every aspect of your job search, and there are key points which can make your journey with a recruiter beneficial and effective. Most important, however, is ensuring you choose a reliable and credible recruiter and make the most out of the relationship. There is a certain notoriety when it comes to the recruitment industry. Scrolling through LinkedIn usually tells a very sinister story! Undoubtedly there are some shocking stories out there but there are also firms and recruitment consultants who can really make your job search a positive experience, and there are things you can do as a candidate to make using a recruiter work for you. 1) Transparency On occasion, candidates will be very reluctant to divulge certain information that is essential to help them. Think about it, you are asking for a recruiter to approach people in your industry and represent you as the best candidate possible. We're going to be intrusive, want to know every last detail about your career and your requirements. How else do you expect us to represent you in the best possible light to prospective employers without this information and to ensure we approach relevant firms? This is your career we are talking about and to support you I need to know as much as possible. 2) Think of where we add value Fundamentally we're here to provide a service to you. We help to make you better at applying to jobs. This is a crucial message I try to deliver as a recruiter when I talk to any candidate. For example, some of the key areas where I can add significant value to your job process are: Market Expertise – Working across a specialised marketplace, I can give you inside knowledge on what the market has to offer from an employment perspective. Who pays best? Who offers most flexibility? Where are you going to reach your career pinnacle? Managing Processes – I'm able to manage all your applications and your diary for interviews whilst ensuring you have one point of contact, processing everything in one call rather than five. This saves you a huge amount of time and makes sure distractions to your current working commitments are kept to a minimum. Negotiations – Negotiating can be difficult and stressful, especially when it's your personal finances at stake and when you don’t know who you're negotiating with. As a recruiter, I can manage this on your behalf. We use our relationships with the employer to your advantage to get you the best possible outcome, removing all unnecessary stress. 3) Exclusivity I'm confident that anyone reading this has their own “nightmare recruiter story” and will, in a number of cases, have used a number of agencies rather than one. Exclusivity is, in my view, the best approach. Having said that, don’t just pick anyone, believe it or not, we are not all the same! Exclusivity prevents duplicate applications, prevents multiple phone calls and prevents the “tug of war” scenario where you don’t know who to believe when considering multiple options. I’ve been there myself, I know it’s an absolute nightmare but learning that lesson could well be costly career-wise! 4) Find out about your recruiter You are going to enter into a world full of different people, offering conflicting approaches and contrasting methods of finding you your next job. Yet when I speak to candidates for the first time, it’s very rare they ask questions about myself or my firm. Ask your recruiter questions, find out what they have to offer, how they intend to approach the market, what their opinion is. That initial phone call is essential to assessing the credibility, competence and talent of the person you're entrusting your professional future with! Form a job search strategy with them, see if they understand what you're looking for and be selective in who you work with. A good recruiter will instil confidence that they are the best person to help you with your next career move. Make sure you assess them thoroughly! Summary These are just some key points that I know from experience, on both sides of the fence, has helped make a candidate journey with a recruiter effective and beneficial rather than disastrous and damaging. The fundamental theme comes down to trust, respect and honesty between all concerned. This is the fundamental starting to point to any successful business relationship, isn’t it? There are poor recruiters in our industry but tell me an industry that doesn’t have bad people/firms operating within it? Take the provisions from the start to make sure you work with the good recruiters and receive the best service from them! For more information on this article, or to speak to Tamara about your Legal recruiting needs, contact her on 020 7269 6368 or


Are Robots Taking Over the Finance Profession? The Impact of Technology and AI on the Finance Sector

Nobody knows for certain what the future of the finance profession will hold, but technology will undoubtedly be involved. Automation and other technologies, particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing finance and accounting work, and accounting professionals need to be prepared for whatever happens next. There has been discussion amongst finance industry commentators who believe technology will eventually replace many existing finance positions. Changes in accounting automation has resulted in finance functions boosting efficiencies and aligning with digital transformation initiatives, and technologies such as cloud computing, software robots and virtual reality are transforming workplaces and revolutionizing finance and accounting work. As a result, repetitive single-function jobs are most immediately under threat, particularly task-based and data-driven roles, and experts have predicted that by the latter half of the next decade AI will have advanced even further and potentially replace more sophisticated roles. Some UK accountants are worried that their jobs will be outsourced, whether this consists of roles being sent overseas or replaced by technology. Post-Brexit uncertainty was the main worry for 31.6% of accountancy professionals recently surveyed by GovGrant in association with Accountancy Age, but technology-based change was cited as the biggest challenge, with 40.5% of survey participants fearing being replaced by technology and 30% concerned about keeping up with new technological developments. However, the survey also revealed a degree of optimism along with an awareness of the need to adapt to technology and provide value-added services, with only 5.8% very pessimistic about the future of the sector. As surmised by GovGrant CEO Luke Hamm - “There are opportunities out there right now for accountants to start redefining the services they provide and the interactions they have with their customers”. So, do finance professionals need to be concerned about the future impact of technology on the sector? It can be easy to worry that new and disruptive technologies, such as AI, will only have a negative impact on jobs, but technology’s power to change the landscape of a profession and the nature of work is not a new phenomenon. Just as technology has and will inevitably make some jobs obsolete in the future, it will also create opportunities for innovation and open up new markets and career paths. Eliminating task-based and purely data-driven work, AI will give accounting professionals the chance to take on fresh responsibilities and gain more exposure to different areas of the profession, advancing skills as analysts and advisers. While audit and other traditional finance jobs may be under threat, few firms have said that auditors will become obsolete - instead, the finance sector will look for strategic vision and advisory skills in employees. Rather than just seeking a data-driven skill set, firms will look to hire people with strong advisory skills, strategic and commercial awareness, and emotional awareness and people skills - those important soft skills that a robot or automation system won’t have. As a result, it is unlikely that accounting automation and robotic finance professionals will completely replace humans any time soon. However, it is still a good idea to future proof your career by anticipating technological changes in your workplace and increasingly working with automated tools and emerging technologies to perform the best possible service. Skills to help your career moving forward may include data analytics, communication skills, emotional intelligence, and creativity and strategic thinking. As long as you stay ahead of changes in the digital space and continuously update and refresh your skillset, accounting automation and technological developments are unlikely to become a major threat to your career success. Rather than shy away from major developments in this unprecedented period of technological change, be bold and flexible, and focus on innovations and use them to you and your firm’s advantage, ultimately advancing your career. For more information on this article or to speak to our finance recruitment experts about changes in the sector and your options in the market, contact Kate on 020 7269 6363 or


Working With a Recruitment Agency vs. Going Direct

Here at Pro-Group, our expert recruitment consultants often get asked the question - “Why should I use an agency?”. This is a fair enough question for people who have historically gone direct to their employers, and aren’t aware of the numerous benefits that working with a recruitment agency can bring. Whatever stage you are at in your career, having the right people helping you in your job search can bring many benefits and make all the difference when it comes to finding the right role for you. Recruitment consultants can streamline your whole jobseeking process, source new opportunities that suit your career aspirations, and help you with every aspect of job searching, from inside knowledge from years of relationship building to interview preparation tips. So, what are the main benefits of working with a recruitment agency? 1. You are not restricted to only apply to “live” vacancies Whilst job seekers looking to apply directly have to wade through the internet looking for companies that are hiring for live roles, recruitment agencies have spent years building relationships with the decision-makers of these firms, meaning we know what they want, even if they aren’t publicly recruiting for it. This is probably one of the biggest benefits of working with an agency, being able to interview for roles that other people can’t. 2. We ask the questions that you don’t want to Feel the salary is too low? Want to know how many people are interviewing for the role? Keen to know what the interview will entail? Interested in what benefits they offer? These are all questions that you might not want to ask in an interview, but we are happy to find out for you, leaving more time for you to concentrate on getting it right in the interviews. 3. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail A good recruiter knows their client and knows what that client is looking for. This allows us to prepare you prior to interviews for everything that the interview process involves (technically and competency-based), and for everything the client might like (or dislike) personally. Interview preparation is massively helpful and having the inside scoop could be the deciding factor in you getting the role over the candidate who went direct. 4. Efficiency Finding a job takes time and effort, why not let us take the brunt of that? We understand that you still have to work and maintain a personal life, and working with us saves you time and energy by letting you concentrate on what matters, your performance in the interviews themselves. These are just some of the key benefits of using an agency, but there are so many ways that working with a recruiter can give you a competitive edge. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help you in your job search, get in touch! For more information about this article, or to speak to Kate about your recruiting needs or Finance jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 020 7269 6363 or


June 2019: Finance Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the finance sector. Here are the key movements in June 2019: Romy Comiter has been appointed Managing Director, global assurance services at FTI consulting. Romy was previously a financial services Partner at Mazars where she spent eight years leading the insurance consultancy team. PwC is promoting 69 new equity Partners, up from 54 last year. Together with 13 direct Partner hires recruited during the year, the firm’s total UK Partner number is now 944. This year 38% of the newly promoted Partners are women and the firm says the pipeline of women coming through into senior roles is also stronger, with 38% of newly promoted Directors female. In addition, 16% of the new Partners are black, Asian and minority ethnic and 27% are based outside London. Jamie Lane has joined Saffery Champness as a Partner based out of their Bournemouth office. Jamie joins from Smith and Williamson where he operated in an audit and transaction services role. Jamie trained through the firm rising to Partner prior to his departure. Business advisory firm Quantuma has appointed Duncan Beat as a Partner to its Chelmsford and London offices. He is a licensed practitioner with over 30 years’ experience in corporate insolvency matters. He joins the firm from Baker Tilly Creditor Services LLP, where he was Managing Partner. During his time in the industry, he also established an insolvency department for a major firm. Prior to this, Duncan has held roles at RSM, Cape and Dagleish, Elliott Woolfe & Rose and Stoy Hayward (BDO). Cooper Parry has quit the PKF network in the UK after being part of the group for over five years. There was understood to be a geographical conflict over an office opening which competed with another PKF UK member firm. 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 02072696369 or Back to Finance Movers & Shakers Archive >>


60 Seconds With: Nigel Walde, Partner at Saffery Champness LLP

Nigel is a Partner in the Saffery Champness' London office, providing specialist advice on claiming the creative sector tax reliefs. He also has a depth of experience in the UK Cultural Test and qualifying co-productions, as well as providing auditing and accounting services. Nigel acts for a wide range of clients, from small independent film and television production companies to major US Hollywood film studios. He also advises video game and theatre companies. He has been providing advice, audit and accounting services to the media industry for 12 years, having previously worked in the film team at RSM Tenon. What three traits define you? I care about the clients I work for and the people who work around me. I am conscientious and sometimes a little impatient. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had? There have been a couple, cleaning the letter cubby holes in my local post office and working in the laundry room of a large hospital – I was told it would do me good at the time. How do you define success? Being the ‘go to’ person or company in the industry you work in. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? I would like to do something entirely different that involves me spending my time outside – I have always liked the idea of farming! What is your personal philosophy? I believe that to feel truly satisfied and progress you need to be well outside of your comfort zone as much as possible. How do you start your day? Jumping on my bicycle and riding to work, it is a great way to get you going in the morning! What’s your favourite thing about working for your current company? It is full of bright, energetic and enthusiastic people who have an appetite to succeed and have an interest in the success of our clients. What are the secrets to good leadership? Remain composed no matter how difficult the situation is, show encouragement and allow people to do what they are good at. What makes your company unique? We work in specialist sectors and excel in the work we do and the advice we give in those areas. What has been the biggest challenge since you have been promoted to Partner? As a new Partner growing the team, business and winning new work for the firm is challenging. You are also very quickly required to start running the business. However, it is all enormously rewarding and a great learning experience. For more information about this article, or to speak to Kate about your recruiting needs or Finance opportunities in London or Nationwide, contact her on 02072696363 or Back to 60 Seconds archive >>


Interview Preparation Tips for Auditors

Whether you have a 1st class degree in Mathematics from Oxford and ACA 1st time passes or not… You need to prepare for your interviews. Here at Pro-Finance, too many times have we worked with candidates who genuinely believe they do not need any help from a recruitment consultant in order to prepare for their interviews, and despite the obvious loss on our side when candidates come across too arrogant or unenthusiastic and get rejected – a knockback is sometimes necessary to prove the importance of interview preparation. If you are serious about finding and securing the best role for you, you need to commit to the processes you chose to apply for. So when it comes to due diligence and mentally preparing for your interview, what should you be doing? Our specialist finance recruiters have put together advice on 7 key areas to prepare before your interview! 1. Research the company Read everything there is available on the company! Don't just read one line on the 'About Us' page. You want to read their mission statement, research the sector specialisms, check for awards, news articles, previous mergers and acquisitions, look at the company LinkedIn profile, the Glassdoor profile and reviews. 2. Who you are meeting? This is essential - your questions at the end of the interview are key to getting enthusiasm across and a personal buy-in from your interviewers. Showing you have done your research and being able to ask personal questions creates a personal interest for example; “I noticed you moved across from Top Firm & Co three years back, what attracted you to this particular firm?” 3. Research the role itself Make sure you have read the job spec carefully - you want to match your CV with the spec as best as possible and also note down any questions you have with regards to the role. You do not want any nasty surprises to creep up on you and find out you are wasting everyone’s time. 4. Prepare for CV-based questions You want your reasons for leaving each role to be fluid, no hesitations and everything to make complete sense. Never bring any negatives into an interview so please, do not tell them how much you hate your old boss for twenty minutes. 5. Prepare for competency-based questions Strengths, weaknesses, difficult clients, difficult colleagues… You want as many questions to already be answered in your mind so when someone says to you, what is the largest client you have worked with – you don’t say “ERRRRR… I’m not sure…. ERRRRR”. You want to come straight back at them with a structured answer, with specific details of actions you personally took and the results that followed. 6. Have questions ready You must have a couple of questions regarding the role and the firm to get your enthusiasm across and, even better, you should try to engage with your interviewer/s with a personal question. 7. Book a mock interview with your consultant! After all of this preparation; that’s when you are ready for your mock interview. Once you have finished your mock interview, you want to take all of that back home and revisit your preparation to brush up your answers. Aside from these key preparation points, you should also ensure you give yourself some time to fully relax the day before and ALWAYS call your recruitment consultant the second you leave the interview. If you give the wrong answer to a question but call the consultant immediately, he/she may be able to call the relevant Partner immediately to explain the nerves may have crept in and rushed an answer you know was incorrect – giving them the opportunity to overlook it. The moral of the story is, trust your consultant to help you prepare and never think you are beyond preparation. No matter what level you are; preparation is always important. For more information about this article, or to speak to Kate about interview preparation tips or Finance jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 02072696363 or


The Benefits of Working in a Finance Charity Role

Working in a finance role in the charity sector offers you the opportunity to use your skills in finance and accountancy to support a cause you are passionate about. Many finance professionals who work in the charity sector note that job satisfaction, a good work-life balance and the chance to give back are just some of the benefits of working for a Not-For-Profit organisation. The third sector offers a huge range of opportunities, from varied roles to different working environments, many of which are just as exciting and fast-paced as the commercial sector. Considering a career change? Our specialist charity finance recruiters have provided insights as to why you should consider moving into a finance role in the charity sector. Joining the finance department of a charity or Not-For-Profit organisation puts you right at the heart of the organisation. Working in finance in this sector offers variation - you could find yourself working to raise the profile of fundraising projects one week and ensuring donations are accurately recorded the next. It is important for charities to have a strong financial infrastructure as well as committed and motivated employees to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation, all the while contributing towards its cause. Whether you are managing gift aid, maintaining financial records or developing profit projections, the way in which an organisation’s finances are run allows for goals to be reached and for invaluable work to continue successfully. Due to the importance of an effective finance department within charities, there is a constant demand for finance professionals who have a genuine interest in the sector - or even better, a genuine connection to a charity’s cause. Moving from a finance role within a large corporate company to work for a smaller charity is incredibly beneficial, as you can use your commercial background and awareness to add value to a non-profit organisation. While the emphasis in a purely commercial organisation is on profitability, the focus across many NFP organisations is now on surplus and return on investment. There are many ways in which the knowledge that comes with having a commercial background can be utilised in the charitable sector. NFP organisations often have trading companies underneath them selling a product and using the money from sales to invest back into the organisation’s valuable work. For example, the income of the British Council is projected to being in the region of 2 billion by 2020, the majority of which is going to come from commercial activities. This is similar for a charity like Marie Curie, where profits from sales and retail operations are invested back into funding care and support. While these are examples of larger organisations, smaller charities also often have a commercial function to maximise the impact of donations and funding towards the core goals of the charity. This is why charities and Not-For-Profit organisations need finance professionals who have a commercial background, as having commercial awareness means that you appreciate profit and loss, ROI, scenario planning and dealing with commercial products and sales. Salaries and benefits will depend on the size and location of the organisation, and while larger charities may have the means to offer larger salaries, smaller charities will have smaller finance departments which means more responsibility and the chance to make a big impact. Laura de Poitiers, Finance Manager at Belu Water Ltd surmises, ‘the best part of my job is seeing the work I do have a real impact on the profits we can make, the carbon savings we can deliver and the transformations these actions can effect on the world and its inhabitants.’ The main reason many people choose to work in the charity sector is wanting to give back and make a difference, as opposed to benefitting shareholders. As cited by the ICAEW, whether you want to support your local community, the natural environment or causes that affect people all over the world, you can work for an organisation and a cause that means something to you. The charity sector can be overlooked by finance professionals searching for roles, but no longer is the charity sector seen as a dusty old sector or the ‘poor cousin’. In reality, organisations within the third sector are often exciting, commercial and fast-paced and can offer a rewarding career, and you often see people who have this ‘world first mentality’ move from corporate organisations into small charities and Not-For-Profit organisations. Working in a finance charity role, you get the best of both worlds! It is an opportunity to utilise your commercial experience as well as making a real difference in society. For more information on this article, or to talk to Matt about your next finance charity role in London or Nationwide, contact him on 020 7269 6323 or


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! 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 Aaron on 020 7269 6340 or


60 Seconds With: Alicia Crisp, Partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson

Alicia joined MacIntyre Hudson as a graduate trainee at the North London office in 2007, qualifying as a chartered accountant in 2010. Alicia is a Partner in the London office, managing a portfolio of clients, and her key focus is working with owner managed businesses across London and south Hertfordshire, from new start-ups to long-standing companies. You have an impressive career with all of your time being at Macintyre Hudson, what do you think the benefits of staying with one firm throughout your career history are? For me, a huge part of being an accountant is working with people. Being at the same firm means that whether I'm trying to support a new trainee with a problem, mentor someone looking for promotion or deal with a technical client query I have some idea of what they are going through. It also means if I’m not comfortable with the way something is working I know how to go about trying to find a solution. It has its limitations too though, whenever I recruit someone from another firm I encourage them to suggest different approaches to doing things. You must be very proud of being promoted after only 10 years of joining the firm. Are you one of the youngest people that have made Partner? While I was the youngest Partner for a while, I certainly wasn't the youngest ever. I was 22 when I started whereas some of our Partners have started as school leavers at 18. Last year I was awarded number one in the Accountancy Age 35 under 35 just before our AGM. While I was thrilled it also felt slightly awkward, I have never thought I am doing anything special and my fellow Partners certainly helped keep me grounded with the jokes about the advantage of being the only partner under 35 at the time! On day one you never know what lies ahead of you. When did you realise that Macintyre Hudson was the firm you wished to be a Partner at and why? I am quite a loyal person, MacIntyre Hudson has always presented great opportunities and variety which made it easy to want to stay and I'm not someone who would leave just in case there is something better out there. I have had opportunities to move on and have always chosen to stay – while things aren’t always perfect, as a firm it really does suit me, I like the level of client contact that I have had from the beginning, we are small enough that hard work and a good attitude mean you can be recognised and rewarded but large enough to have some top-level specialists that mean we can give a level of client service to be proud of. What is great about working for Macintyre Hudson? I can get a bit over-enthusiastic about why I think MHA is a great firm to work with or for - it has changed a lot in the time I have been here but growth has brought with it lots of opportunities. Inevitably we lose a number of our newly-qualified staff to industry each year, but the feedback we always hear when they come back to visit is realising just how much great training and support they have received at MHA compared to other people out there. How big is your team and what advice would you give anyone who would apply to be part of the team? My immediate team is seven people but I dip into other teams a lot and at peak times can have as many as twenty people working for me. As one of the staff partners in the London office and someone with a growing team, I do a lot of interviewing. The best advice I can give is to be open about who you are and what you value. A key strength in any team is the diversity of skills, abilities and life experiences. Be frank about what you can bring to the table and authentic about what motivates you - while you need to have your interview answers prepped you need to let through some of yourself, it isn't all about scripted answers to questions! How would your team describe you? Tough question! I’d guess fair, approachable and if I am honest possibly a bit demanding. I am a firm believer that you get back what you put in, that doesn't mean that you have to work twelve hours every day of the week, but I want everyone to make the most of the opportunities to learn and develop, it will make people want to invest in you (and also makes it easier to accept the days when you maybe lose your focus a bit!) While I can be out of the office a lot, if someone on the team is experiencing a personal issue, supporting them is a key priority so I will endeavour to stop and make time for them. What advice would you give to your younger self? Maybe to do a couple more life-experience type things before settling down for a career, it feels like there's so much pressure to get a job and start moving forward with life when really another year or two of travelling or learning a language wouldn't have hurt, as long as I could have worked enough to pay for it. That said, I was lucky enough to take a sabbatical in 2013/14 to do a ski season in France which was a great opportunity to catch up on something I wished I had done before. When you interview someone for your team or organisation what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you? I really try hard not to be distracted by first impressions, it is easy to be put off by someone rushing their words due to being nervous or distracted by lack of neat presentation. Although, neat and appropriate clothing and a sensible handshake will always help get things off to a good start! What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation face? There are a lot of unknowns about technology, things are changing so rapidly I can imagine it will be hard for people to plan what to study when things are changing so much. The cost of studying is increasing too so there is pressure on making the ‘right’ decision. Apprenticeships such as the AAT are a great way to balance getting professional training while earning money. It is never too late to change your mind or take some time out, accountancy was a last minute career change for me coming out of university and I have never looked back! What do you do to unwind outside of work? I love doing things that are different from the day job, particularly being active. When I can, I go climbing or to a dance workshop, but at the very least I try and get to the gym or go for a run even if the thought of finding the time is stressful. Aside from that, even if my day finishes late I try and end the evening with a couple of pages of a book - it really helps to switch off Thanks for your time Alicia, and as a little treat for all of our readers…do you have any guilty pleasures you can share with us? Theme parks - every year I take at least one day off to go to somewhere like Thorpe Park or Blackpool Pleasure Beach, genuinely one of my favourite days every year. I recently heard someone say one of the great things about having kids was getting to go to theme parks again and I thought 'wow was I supposed to have grown out of that?'. That and the Christmas Movies channel, but that’s a bit seasonal..! For more information about this article, or to speak to Tom about your recruiting needs or Finance opportunities in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696349 or Back to 60 Seconds archive >>


May 2019: Finance Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the finance sector. Here are the key movements in May 2019: FRP Advisory have strengthened its St Albans team with the appointment of Simon Carvill-Biggs as a Partner at the specialist advisory firm. Joining from his position as a Director at Menzies where he spent more than 6 years. Carvill-Biggs brings with him more than 20 years’ experience having also held positions at UHY Hacker Young, BDO and Moore Stephens. Sam Mills has joined EYs Manchester office as a Director in their restructuring team. Mills has a background in financial services joining from PWC where his 9 years was spent as a Senior Manager in financial advisory and then as a Senior Manager in deals and advisory. David Rule has been appointed to the newly created role of Executive Director of Supervision at the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). The role will entail overseeing supervision and monitoring of audit and company reporting and will report to FRC CEO Stephen Hadrill. “[Rule] joins the FRC at a time of strategic importance and will play a significant role in driving further improvements in audit and reporting quality,” Haddrill said. Peter Smithson has joined BDO as an Audit Partner in the technology and media team of their London office. Peter has over 17 years of sector experience having worked for Baker Tilly, Grant Thornton and most recently as a Partner in the West End office of Kingston Smith. 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 02072696369 or Back to Finance Movers & Shakers Archive >>



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