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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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Financemoves.co.uk 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. Accountancydaily.co 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. Financemoves.co.uk 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. Financemoves.co.uk 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. Financemoves.co.uk Back to Finance Movers & Shakers Archive >>
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 Finance Directors looking to move into the charitable sector, you will often find that the responsibilities are very similar to that in the private sector - the role of Manager, Bookkeeper, and Financial Controller. So, what are the main reasons why Finance Directors decide to move into the Not-For-Profit sector? The key difference between roles in the private and third sectors are the strategic relationships your role will involve. In the third sector, you will face exciting challenges that are unique to the Third Sector, including generating income and funds for your Not-for-Profit organisation. The past few years have seen Britain in a period of uncertainty, which in turn has presented a unique set of challenges to British businesses. Charities and Not-For-Profit organisations face many unique challenges that other sectors do not come up against, and ongoing funding challenges and potential changes with EU funding that could be presented by Brexit have potentially tightened government and NHS contract margins even further. Uncertainty and economic instability surrounding Brexit has undoubtedly impacted many markets, including the Third Sector, although some claim the charity sector has bounced back and in the past year or two, we have seen the UK government finally talking about the charity sector. Although basic salaries tend to be lower than those offered in the commercial world, there are many other benefits, challenges, and reasons why Finance Directors choose to make the move into the charitable sector. 1. The feel-good factor Making a difference is cited as one of the main reasons senior-level finance professionals make a move. Sometimes, a personal calling and an affinity to a particular cause such as religion, animals, disability, health, the young and/or the elderly or poverty relief will drive this, whereas sometimes it may just be a general desire to give back and help, rather than generate profit for shareholders. 2. Charities tend to be more agile and reactive Not being answerable to shareholders, charities tend to attract a unique set of individuals who are bound by their principles and integrity and as a result, have a strong sense of wellbeing which can be refreshing in comparison to the private sector. Many cite their organisation's culture and working environment as a reason for working in the Third Sector. Being able to work in an environment where you are not restricted by red tape and shareholder’s demand for profit allows you to be agile and reactive to the causes you work so hard for. The challenges faced by a Finance Director in Not-for Profit organisations are very different, and as a result, can be much more rewarding. Whilst basic salaries are often lower, the benefits offered can be comparable if not better than the private sector with generous pension and holiday entitlements. and flexible working as well as softer wellbeing and lifestyle benefits often also offered. As a whole package, therefore, third sector roles can often be highly comparable to the private sector. 3. New opportunities and a diverse working environment As touched on above, the charitable sector tends to excel in compassion to the commercial world by offering a flexible and diverse working environment. Working patterns, hours or contracts which suit both parties or maybe offering the opportunity to travel internationally / be posted overseas for those charitable organisations which support global causes. The roles offered within the sector are often diverse and can range with regional staff on the ground supporting the people the charity supports, to retail and commercial operational teams, fundraising, lobbying teams, journalists, care and support staff through to the full array of corporate roles mirroring the commercial world such as Marketing, Finance and HR. What all these members of staff tend to have in common is that they are passionate and united by the cause they support which is very powerful and rewarding. These professionals share a passion and fight to help their cause and the sector which those in the private sector may not get. Ultimately, in your role as a Charity Finance Director, your commercial acumen gained from the private sector can be key to the charity not only surviving challenging times but in helping it thrive. In addition, you will be in a unique position the charitable sector offers in helping some of society’s most vulnerable by controlling costs, managing investments to generate more income, controlling capital projects, the financial management of key contracts and relationships, and ensuring the financial wellbeing of the charity. For more information on this article, or to speak to us about making your move into the Not-For-Profit sector, contact Claire Stradling on 020 7269 6351 or email@example.com.
Louise Morriss is Managing Director at Fitzgerald & Law Corporate Reporting Services, and specialises in providing audit solutions to UK and international companies. Louise joined F&L in 2006 as a Qualified Accountant, and her experience gives her wide ranging skills and knowledge of many business and risk issues across multiple sectors, which allows her to expertly deal with the challenges faced by businesses based in the UK and throughout EMEA. Louise speaks with Kate Green, Managing Consultant at Pro-Finance, about working at F&L, how the role of Director/Partner has changed over the years, and offers advice for finance professionals looking to progress their career. Tell us about yourself, how your career started and what you do at Fitzgerald & Law. My career started in 1998 when I joined the Bank of England in the Foreign Exchange department. I always saw a career path in finance. A journey into practice was something I wanted to pursue because it gave me the opportunity to work with clients in a variety of different sectors. I head up the audit division at F&L and work with a superb group of people who are not only technically grounded, but work hard to provide a superior level of service to our clients. How do Fitzgerald & Law differentiate themselves in the market? We’re a family. It sounds corny but it’s true! One of the many things that attracts candidates to F&L is the friendly feel they get when they meet us. Also, with our San Francisco office and our North American client base, there are opportunities to travel and work in the US which sets us apart from other accountancy firms. How big is your team and what advice would you give anyone applying to be part of the team? Our audit team is fairly small at 14 but the F&L group has 100+ people. Everyone in the team respects not only the job they need to do, but one another. It’s important to me that a team genuinely feels like a team - all working together towards the same goal. How would your team describe you? I hope it would include approachable, knowledgeable and fair. A good, well rounded team is the most important asset to a firm like ours. I never take anyone for granted. What advice would you give to your younger self? Not to be afraid of failure; to travel and experience as much as possible - it will define you. When you interview someone for your organisation, what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you? When I interview someone I’m obviously looking for a technical skillset, but also whether they are a team player and whether they have the enthusiasm needed for the role. What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation of finance professionals face? The digital era is one that’s here to stay and is continuously evolving. With it brings great opportunities but also responsibility to ensure we maintain the ethical values that are ingrained into us when we start in the profession. How do you think the role of Director/Partner has changed over the years? The days of the stereotypical boss ‘do what I say, not what I do’ have gone. I’m not only responsible for the growth and success of the business, but also for the talented people who work in my team. I need to earn their respect as a trusted employer. If not in finance, what would the dream be? This has changed as I have grown older and had children. The dream now would be to try and give something back to the community - either working with the elderly or with young children. Any final words of advice for people looking to progress their career? The accountancy profession is changing but the underlying core values will always be there. You need to respect the responsibility you have been given as a trusted professional advisor. Thanks for your time, and as a little treat for all of our readers - do you have any guilty pleasures you can share with us? Listening to cheesy 80s music radio stations - I know all the words to ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’! For more information on this article or to discuss your recruitment needs, contact Kate Green on 020 7269 6363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Brown has worked at Blick Rothenberg since 1997 when he started as a trainee and has been a Partner since 2007. Throughout his career, Jim has helped well over 1,000 international businesses with the practicalities of setting up operations overseas in multiple territories, from professional practices and growing family-owned businesses to venture capital and private equity-backed corporations and listed entities. Jim progressed his career from Graduate to Partner with Blick Rothenberg and has led the firm's international outsourcing team through consistent periods of double-digit growth for more than ten years. He speaks with Tom Eagle, Associate Director at Pro-Finance, about how Blick Rothenberg differentiate themselves in the market, the challenges facing the next generation, and the changing role of Partner. Tell us about yourself, how your career started and what you do at Blick Rothenberg. I’ve been at Blick Rothenberg since I was a trainee (back in the last millennia). I’ve filled a number of different roles in that time, including secondments both overseas and to a FTSE100 listed entity, and have been a Partner since 2007. I now have a number of different “hats”. My primary role is to run our “Global Services” department that provides outsourced business support to companies as they expand internationally. This involves responsibility for a team primarily based in our Covent Garden offices with other resource in both Central Europe and Asia. Beyond this, I work with our technology team to deliver change to ensure that we are working in a tech enabled way and provide our clients with the ability to do the same. I act as the firms Ethics Partner and sit on the management team who are tasked with driving forward the firm’s strategic direction and results. How do Blick Rothenberg differentiate themselves in the market? There are two ways of looking at how we differentiate ourselves. The first is investment in our people. Where most firms' Partners and websites will say that they are client focused we, unashamedly, will say that we are people focused. We believe (and have the track record to substantiate this) that if you hire the best people you can find, support their development and give them interesting and varied work to complete, they will be enthused and our clients will be delighted with the service they receive. We highlight this approach to our clients with the strapline “Our people, your partners”. From a service line perspective, we do believe it is important to have a focus. As a large firm we are “multi-niche”. One of these, and the niche I have operated in for more than two decades, is working with clients whose businesses operate internationally. We support clients operating outside of their “home” territory, whether that be in the UK or in over sixty other territories, with a range of services from high level tax structuring advice through to practical day-to-day support. How big is your team and what advice would you give anyone applying to be part of the team? The team is c.100 people. They come from all over the world (between them the team speak over twenty languages) and bring with them many different experiences. This breadth is what makes us an interesting place to work and successful at what we do. To make the most of these varied experiences we need to work as a team. Therefore, if you want any advice about working here, please be prepared to be a team player first. If you want to work on your own, without the support of or the expectation to provide support to others, we will not be the place for you. What advice would you give to your younger self? Volunteer more of your time in the community, you and they will gain from it greatly. When you interview someone for your organisation, what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you? That really would vary per person. Some people are immediately relaxed whilst others will be really nervous and take time to settle. I try not to judge on first impressions as they can be misleading. What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation of finance professionals face? The pace of change. There is a Justin Trudeau quote from Davos 2018 that reads “The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again”. The challenge, from a professional sense, will be what it has always been; understanding your clients and delivering on what they want consistently. Those expectations will change as quickly as even the most progressive firms can evolve. From a personal level, there are more and more opportunities for digital distraction. These need to be managed alongside trying to build relevant commercial and cultural experience to engage individuals and build long lasting relationships. How do you think the role of a Partner has changed over the years? In some places it hasn’t changed at all. Many firms still have a view that a Partners sole role is to run a large block of recurring fees. For many years now, we have promoted to and recruited Partners on the basis that they should be entrepreneurial. This can mean many things such as generating fees, building networks of referrers, developing new business lines, creating new methods of delivering service etc. This is one of the key factors that has allowed us to maintain double digit growth for many years. I think this change in expectation has happened at Blick Rothenberg but still needs to happen in many firms (especially mid-sized firms). If not in finance, what would the dream be? A golf handicap of 14. Any final words of advice for people looking to progress their career? Find a niche and commit to it. You need to then find a place where you can surround yourself with people you can learn from (and don’t forget this isn’t just your peers and superiors, you should be able to learn from the majority of those you work with) and, most importantly, make sure you enjoy what you do and who you do it with. You will never commit sufficiently to have a really successful career if you are not happy doing it. Thanks for your time, and as a little treat for all of our readers - do you have any guilty pleasures you can share with us? My guilty pleasure is time enjoying the same things my children enjoy. This was Lego, still is rugby and is becoming Warhammer. For those who haven’t come across it; Warhammer involves fighting battles with plastic soldiers set in a distant and grimdark future. I imagine I will grow up one day but I hope it’s not for some time yet. For more information on this article for to discuss your recruitment needs, contact Tom Eagle on 020 7269 6349 or email@example.com.
Mital Shah is a Director at UHY Hacker Young's London office, and has over 18 years of experience in audit, financial reporting, due diligence and Corporation Tax services. Mital has built his career in practice and joined UHY Hacker Young in January 2018, and has a wealth of experience in auditing companies, especially owner-managed businesses and listed companies, across a range of sectors including property development, technology, shipping, mining, financial services, oil & gas and the general corporate market. Mital speaks with Aaron Scott, Consultant at Pro-Finance about UHY, the benefits of sticking with the same firm, and offers advice for the next generation of finance professionals. You have had an impressive career with UHY, what do you think the benefits are for sticking with the same firm? When you are with the same firm, you get to know the heart and soul of it. You get to be a part of the important decisions for internal as well external processes. Your opinion is valued. If you do it right, you get invited to all the cool parties at the firm – by which I mean you have the opportunity to be involved in administrative projects and strategy sessions. I love being asked for my or the audit team's participation in these critical items. It gives me great job satisfaction that significantly outweighs the hours, the stress and the hard work. They are all part of my life, but the payoff is having an impact on this firm that I can "own". On day one, you never know what lies ahead of you. When did you realise that you wanted to be a Director within a Top 20 firm? Being a Director has always been an ambition of mine from when I entered the profession back in 2000. The fact that it is at UHY, is a choice I am proud to have made. How does UHY differentiate themselves in the market? We are ambitious people, united in our mission to be exceptional accountants and business advisers delivering a seamlessly integrated client service. Through our UHY network we harness global intelligence and combine this with local presence and knowledge to share technical and commercial insight. Our people have a deep understanding of a number of diverse sectors ranging from education to natural resources, from automotive to healthcare. It is this depth and breadth that gives us tangible and proven insight into the commercial landscapes in which our clients operate. It also allows us to apply our expertise to our clients, irrespective of their market and sector. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to progress within the team? Hard work always pays off. One phrase has always stuck with me throughout my life, it goes something like this: ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’. I believe no matter what the situation, as long as you stay calm, collected and composed – it all works out in the end and the rewards are usually good! What advice would you give to your younger self? The sky is not the limit – you can go beyond! When you interview someone for your organisation, what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you? It would have to be how much they know about UHY to want to work at our firm. It tells me how well prepared the candidate is and the research they have done. Putting that in to perspective, it tells me that that candidate is a solution finder. What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation of finance professionals face? In my opinion, technology is the biggest challenge anyone entering our profession will face. With AI technology that is taking over Auditing, the new generation will have to learn basic skills in Auditing very quickly before machines can do this work. When you stepped from Management to Directorship, what challenges did you personally face? On a personal level, I don’t yet feel I have faced any challenges as I feel I have been ready for this role. There is one thing I do find challenging, but I believe I am quite good at, that is motivating the audit team – ensuring that the focus is maintained. Thanks for your time Mital. One final question for our readers, what do you like to do to unwind outside of work? This would have to be spending time with my wife and kids, be it watching Disney movies with my daughter, or playing Lego with my son, or watching movies with my wife. As a family we travel quite a lot and enjoy our Safaris to Kenya every year.
Working in an Essex-based accountancy practice, whether this is a role in Audit, Accounts, Corporate Finance or Outsourcing, 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 a local practice means you will work with local clients. Firms in the Top 10 have offices in Essex, 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 Essex 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 just 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. 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. 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: Finance roles based in Essex accountancy firms offer similar salaries to those in the city, and when working locally you also save the monthly cost of the commute into London. Firms based outside of the city sometimes offer a car allowance, and you can also save money driving to work where there is often free parking on-site. When it comes to benefits, packages are largely dependent on the sector and business. 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 Essex 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. With smaller Essex practices, you will also find that they are not quite as strict on exam guidelines - as long as you work hard and this is reflected in your day-to-day results, they don’t tend to focus solely on exam grades. They will give you study support and training in a supportive environment which will set you up well for your career going forward. For more information on this article, or to speak to Kate Green about a move into a finance role in Essex, contact her on 020 7269 6363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the finance sector. Here are the key movements in November 2019: Former Nestlé UK chair and CEO Dame Fiona Kendrick is the new Chair of PWC’s Public Interest Body (PIB). She will take over from Lord Gus O’Donnell who is leaving at the end of December after four years in the role. Dame Fiona left Nestlé last December after a career of nearly 40 years during which she held a variety of posts both in the UK and overseas. economia.icaew.com Andrew Johnston joins FRC Conduct Committee. The Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Conduct Committee oversees the audit regulator’s enforcement work. Andrew Johnston took his seat on the committee on 9 November. As well as government actuary he was also a member of the management board administering the World Trade Organisation pension plan. economia.icaew.com RSM has appointed Greg Moreton as a Partner to lead its National Debt Advisory practice. Moreton has over 20 years’ experience as a specialist debt advisory professional, with a core focus on assisting middle-market businesses to raise and renegotiate debt finance. financemoves.co.uk BDO has appointed Oliver Back as a Partner and Head of the new Contract and Commercial Risk practice based in the London office. Back will help clients to manage risk and achieve greater value from their third party relationships on both the buy and sell-side. Back joins BDO from PWC and has also worked at EY. Financemoves.co.uk Specialist business advisory firm FRP has promoted Alex Sargeant to Director in the Corporate Finance team based in the Bristol office. He has 10 years’ experience and joined the firm in 2017 having previously specialised in financial due diligence at Deloitte. He specialises in sell-side and buy-side corporate finance advisory, primarily for business owners and private equity investors accountancydaily.co Back to Finance Movers & Shakers Archive >>
Creating the ideal CV can be a tricky task, but the perfect Finance CV is the very first step towards your dream job. To avoid your CV being dismissed and missing out on that all-important job interview, there are things you need to consider, and our specialist finance recruiters have provided all the information you need to create that perfect CV! Unlike ticking the ‘open to opportunities’ box on LinkedIn, submitting your CV symbolises an active interest in a role. Best to avoid the mentality of “just send my CV and see what they come back with”. If the role is worth applying for at all, then this is presumably worth doing with your best foot forward. A specialist finance recruiter will likely see over 100 CVs each week. With both your experience and motivations in mind, they should be able to consult on: (1) the common mistakes to avoid and (2) how best to tailor your CV and exhibit your strengths. We have provided a general step-by-step guide on how to format your CV in the candidate-scarce and technically-niche finance market, which includes: General formatting: keep it simple The executive summary: lose the fluff Employment history: bullet point what you did The application: tailor your CV before applying Quick disclaimer: ‘the perfect CV’ does not reference a stereotypically perfect career as it may appear on paper, though exemplar excerpts have been included below for illustration. 1. General CV formatting: keep it simple. Your experience should speak for itself in a way that is easily comparable with other CVs. Send your CV to your recruiter in Word (not PDF) format and say goodbye to: Flashy fonts (keep it to black, Arial size 11) Convoluted layouts (stay away from using any kind of columns) Photographs Charts/images ranking your skills The length of your CV is entirely dependent on your seniority. You would ideally want about half a page per role, outlining your key achievements, responsibilities, and clients. This means that the CV of a newly-qualified accountant who has just completed their training is likely to be 1-2 pages long, whereas a Senior Manager or Director's CV is more likely to be up to 6 pages long depending on the number of moves and responsibilities they have had throughout their finance career. 2. The executive summary: lose the fluff. Put yourself in the hiring Partners shoes - what would you want to see from the CV of a potential employee? Within the first half-page, your CV should provide an overview of the most important details, including the cost and relevance of your candidacy: Your name Desired location Right to work Relevant qualifications and education Notice period Languages spoken Systems experience Promises of personal qualities are near impossible to make credible if written in the first-person. Recognise the benefits of having your CV written in the third person - using the pronouns “I”, “me”, “my”, “mine”, “our” or “we” on your CV dampens the third-party ‘sell’ before you really need to. In the niche and candidate-scarce finance market, employers are generally just not that interested in the finer details of your education. Key things to include in the education section of your CV are: Focus on the credentials themselves Grade for your degree A-Level subjects and grades Awards/scholarships Places and year of study CANDIDATE: [NAME] LOCATION: London RIGHT TO WORK: UK Citizen QUALIFICATIONS: ACA (2015) – 1st Time Passes AAT (2012) - 1st Time Passes EDUCATION: University of Sheffield BSc, Mathematics (2011): 1st Class Honours [Sixth Form College] A-Levels (2008): A - Mathematics A - Economics B - German AVAILABILITY: 3 Months (negotiable) LANGUAGES: German SYSTEMS EXPERIENCE: Sage Xero, Quickbooks and Caseware 3. Employment history: bullet-point what you did. This section should be in bullet-points for ease of accessibility, similar to the format you would ordinarily see in job specifications. Showcase your most relevant experiences and achievements, and even if you've worked at one company, be sure to show your progression internally. This section should not detail what your team did - bullet pointing what ‘you’ did means focusing on your own actions/achievements. In instances where a collaborative effort was made, the focus should be on your personal contribution to the wider effort. Include client examples and turnovers, as well as how many engagements you have led or been involved with, as this will provide insight into your working routine. In bullet pointing what you ‘did’, it is important to realise what can and cannot be demonstrated on a CV. Steer away from an emphasis what you ‘learned’, ‘developed’ or ‘demonstrated’, which are not only difficult to bring to life on a CV credibly, but are also more relevant at interview stage. Keep the content to the job you performed, responsibilities fulfilled and value-added. Your CV will often need to get past a generalist finance researcher/HR professional before even being seen by a finance specialist. Include buzzwords from the person specification, such as “IFRS”, “ACA” or “leading audits” for instance. Consider the buzzwords seen on the type of job specifications you are interested in and be sure to include those on your CV where applicable. Other general points for this section: Keep it chronological, in descending order of recency Format promotions/secondments under the same employment term where possible Include the location (city) where each position was held Consider omitting roles held prior to your beginning your formal qualification 4. The application: tailor your CV before applying. No one job or company is the same, so make sure that your finance CV is tailored to the position and firm that you are applying to, whether is this is one of the Big 4, Top 20, or a boutique firm. Highlight the main reasons you would be suitable for the position, and try to echo the organisation's corporate values and what the job specification says they are looking for throughout your application. In summary, your finance CV is first and foremost a sales document highlighting your strengths and skillsets. Ensure that it is formatted in the most easily readable and accessible manner, and make sure it plays to your strengths and is targeted to the role you are applying to. This is the case no matter the role, whether you are a Corporate Finance Associate or an Audit & Accounts Senior Manager. Last but not least, don't forget to check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation throughout.
In June 2016, 51.9% of the UK public voted to leave the European Union and since then, speculation regarding the impact of Brexit on the UK economy has been rife. This has been the case particularly for the financial services sector, mainly because of the sector’s impact on the British economy and its international influence. There is no question that uncertainty of any kind affects business activity - it is more difficult to plan, make investment decisions, or forecast further than a few months ahead. However, post-Brexit there should not be too much of an impact on the Corporate Finance industry as a whole, nor on the jobs market. The nature of the market may change in regards to primary operating areas - we may see a move away from M&A due to the uncertainty of the economy and a move towards distressed companies, restructuring, debt and capital advisory. But, we should not expect the structure of private M&A transactions to change significantly as a result of Brexit. The latest Baker Tilly International research report, Global Dealmakers: Cross-border M&A Outlook 2019, upholds this. 54% of the 150 participating global dealmakers said M&A activity will increase through the rest of 2019 and beyond, with 71% intending to focus on cross-border investments as they seek out new markets. Southeast Asia and North America are among the top investment destinations, although large numbers of respondents intend to remain focused on their home markets which is positive for the UK M&A space. While geopolitical events and economic uncertainty in the UK surrounding Brexit is creating concern, dealmakers are remaining positive on their ability to get deals done and many anticipate an uptick to the ongoing rush of M&A transactions. The prospect of Britain’s exit from the European Union - especially if it takes place without a negotiated deal - will inevitably have some negative repercussions that affect not just the UK economy but economic stability around the world. At the same time, the concentration of Corporate Finance is not likely to change - what may change is how business sits within its sub-categories. M&A is likely to remain a prosperous market, as will the majority of financial services. London is the financial services capital of the world and going forward this will continue to be the case. In 2018 for example, the financial services sector contributed £132 billion to the UK economy, 6.9% of total economic output and 49% of the sector’s output was generated in London. In the last six months, we have not seen any notable negative changes in the job market - boutique and accountancy firms have seen little impact so far. In Q1 of 2019, there were 1.1 million financial services jobs in the UK and there will certainly be opportunities within the Corporate Finance market post-Brexit.
The new chairman of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has called on the government to enforce the separation of audit and consulting at the Big 4 accounting firms. Simon Dingemans, who started at the FRC in October told the Financial Times that breaking up Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC was a “critical” measure to improve the quality of their audits. Simon Dingemans, who formerly worked at Goldman Sachs and GSK, replaced the FRC’s former management team last month and has advised the government that they should get involved to make this split of services within accounting a legislative change. This separation of audit and consulting within accountancy firms was first proposed in April by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), who were clear that auditors should focus exclusively on audit to secure higher quality, and not also on selling consulting services. They proposed that separation would achieve this by: Creating a strong audit culture in the firm and eliminating tensions with the very different culture of advisory services Enhancing transparency Making audit truly independent by ending the subsidies from the rest of the firm “Demonstrating a culture of quality, independence and objectivity” and eliminating “undue influence from the wider (non-audit) business” This has been resisted by the Big 4 as well as mid-tier firms across the industry. They have argued that the CMA’s recommendation to split non-audit and audit services into separate entities would challenge the firms’ resilience. Earlier this year, leading figures from each of the Big 4 were questioned by MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee on the future of audit and their views on the recommendations of the CMA. David Sproul of Deloitte argued that if audit services were made to be a separate entity and split from consulting services it would put the accounting firms at stake. As detailed by Accountancy Daily, this is because audit fees only form 20% of firms’ overall fee income, meaning the separate entity would not have the 80% from non-audit services to make it robust and able to stand alone without the multidisciplinary practice behind it. Mid-tier firms including BDO, Grant Thornton and Mazars have also expressed their reservations of an audit and non-audit split with concerns that if the rule was extended to challenger firms, they would be left with insufficient profits to invest to compete with the Big 4. Scott Knight, Head of Audit at BDO said “legal separation undermines the viability of audit and non-audit practice”. There are also fees to consider - with a separation of audit and consulting services, fees are likely to rise across the industry. However, there would be some positives that could come from this separation. A split should drive quality forward as people will have one sole focus, whether this is audit or non-audit services. As well as this, the audit entity could be run entirely by auditors, whereas currently, only around 25% of people at audit practices are from an audit background. The CMA has also proposed mandatory joint auditing in the UK, where one firm is the Big 4 and one if mid-tier or smaller, which has been denounced by both the FRC and the Big 4. Dingemans has said that “joint audits lead to duplications, confusion of responsibility and extra costs for no obvious added value”, and Bill Michael of KPMG has agreed that although a joint audit would provide another pair of eyes, in reality, it would be very difficult to implement.
Last night on Wednesday 6th November, Pro-Finance hosted an 'ACA/ACCA What Next' careers event. We welcomed Katherine Stone, Corporate Finance Manager at Moore Kingston Smith and Nigel Walde, Partner at Saffery Champness who shared how they translated their years of hard work into senior positions. We welcomed a group of young accountants and finance professionals, ranging from those approaching qualification up to 3 years post-qualified, to our office space in St. Paul's for drinks, nibbles, and networking. Pro-Finance was joined by successful finance leaders Katherine Stone and Nigel Walde, both of whom gave advice and shared their experiences in the industry. Katherine Stone is a Corporate Finance Manager at Moore Kingston Smith - awarded the 2018 Corporate Finance Advisory Firm of the Year in England. She joined the firm in 2013 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant and has worked for a mixed portfolio of clients of all sizes across a number of sectors, providing audit, accounting, taxation and general business advice. Since joining Moore Kingston Smith, Katherine has been involved in a number of assignments including due diligence, listing and fundraising assignments, valuations and financial projections, and she shared her invaluable insights into the world of Corporate Finance post-qualification. Here at Pro-Finance, we have helped many finance professionals make the jump from Audit to Corporate Finance and our specialist recruiters can offer further insights into working in the sector. A role in Corporate Finance gives you the opportunity to be at the centre of how a business operates, and 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 - read our specialist advice here. Nigel Walde is a Partner in Saffery Champness' London office and has been at Saffery's for over seven years, providing specialist advice on claiming the creative sector tax reliefs. He has been providing advice, audit and accounting services to the media industry for over twelve years, having previously worked in the film team at RSM Tenon. During his career, Nigel has worked with a wide range of clients from small independent film and television production companies to major US Hollywood film studios, and he also advises video game and theatre companies. We recently spoke to Nigel about working within the TV, Film and Creative industries, and he shared the secrets to good leadership and the challenges of Partnership - read his 60 Seconds interview here. Once you qualify, you will most likely find yourself at a crossroads in your finance career - there are many options available to you and no-one can tell you with certainty the right step to take; it’s up to you to use your judgement and make the decision that’s best for your future career. Ultimately, your decision will come down to the sector, culture, progression opportunities and professional development and Pro-Finance can provide insights and advice for the next steps in your career. Read our advice article 'ACA - What Next?', regarding firms, specialisms and career development, or consider the options available to you within the audit and accounts market. Once you become a newly qualified accountant, you will also 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 we have put together all the information you will need to help you make an informed decision - Finance Practice vs. Industry: The Big Debate! If you didn't get the exam results you were looking for, there is also no need to worry! Some of the best candidates, Partners, and Finance Directors we have worked with have had fails on the ACA or ACCA - it's an incredibly tough qualification and a fail on an exam certainly doesn't mean the end of your finance career. You may want to reevaluate where your career will head - you may choose to resit at your current firm, to move into industry, or move to a different firm with further study support. Read our advice on what you should do if you haven't got the ACA results you wanted, or contact us for an informal discussion about what to do next! 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. There are various benefits of working with a recruitment agency vs. going direct - 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. For more information on this article, or for advice on your next steps after you qualify, contact Tom Eagle on 020 7269 6349 or email@example.com.
Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the finance sector. Here are the key movements in October 2019: KPMG has appointed Marc Abrams to run its East Midlands practice as Senior Partner of its Leicester and Nottingham offices. He takes over from Ian Borley, who is stepping down from the role ahead of retirement in April after nearly 35 years with the firm. Accountancydaily.co Deloitte has appointed Sankar Mahalingham as a Director in its UK pensions business. He will be based in London, specialising in pensions advice to corporates and trustees, and focusing on the expansion of Deloitte’s pensions consulting activity. He previously spent four years at XPS Pensions Group, most recently as Head of Defined Benefit Growth. Accountancydaily.co Menzies LLP has promoted Anna-Marie McCrarren, Head of Outsourcing Services, to Partner level. She is responsible for overseeing the firm’s growing outsourcing services team across its Woking, Solent and London offices. Accountancydaily.co Andrew Johnston joins FRC Conduct Committee. The Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Conduct Committee oversees the audit regulator’s enforcement work. As well as government actuary he was also a member of the management board administering the World Trade Organisation pension plan. Economia.icaew.com Drew Stevenson has been appointed Energy Sector Leader at PWC, succeeding Alan McCrae. PWC’s deal leader for the energy sector since 2014, Stevenson has more than 25 years’ experience of deals and transaction services across a wide range of industries and global territories. Financemoves.co.uk Back to Finance Movers & Shakers Archive >>