Posted by Robert Half on 07 January 2015
Accountancy jobs are up for grabs in Scotland in 2015, giving professionals the chance to develop their careers and increase their earning potential. With employers looking to attract and retain talent north of the border as they commit to growth strategies, opportunities are continuing to arise for candidates with the requisite skills, experience and ambition.
Particularly in Edinburgh, there are a variety of accountancy jobs at various levels, which employers are looking to fill. The Scottish capital's financial services sector is one of Scotland's economic trump cards; second only to London in terms of size and scale within the UK. As such, there is plenty of scope for accountants to advance their career in Edinburgh, in both the private and public sectors.
Competition for the best people is helping to inflate salaries, with Scottish accountancy jobs commanding higher salaries. As the north-south pay divide narrows, the appeal of Edinburgh to ambitious finance professionals is continuing to increase. Many candidates are choosing to build a career locally in Scotland rather than heading south to London.
What will Scottish accountancy salaries be in 2015?
Where employers are experiencing difficulties attracting and retaining skilled accountants, salaries are predicted to rise by four per cent or more in 2015. Some 43 per cent of Scottish chief financial officers plan to increase wages by an average of nine per cent, while 28 per cent anticipate paying more in bonuses over the course of the year.
Business partnering is set to be the most sought-after role in the accountancy and finance sector, reflecting organisations' desire to focus on commercial growth rather than simply financial and risk management. Employers are looking for accounting professionals who can derive better insights from data, improve business process efficiency and contribute to strategic decision-making. Financial business partners are predicted to earn between £44,500 and £52,900 in Scotland in 2015, up by 4.2 per cent on average earnings in 2014.
Commercial finance controllers are expected to be in a similar level of demand, with earnings predicted to increase by 4.2 per cent in large organisations and 4.1 per cent in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In large firms, commercial finance controllers are expected to pick up between £73,600 and £85,100, and in Scottish SMEs, wages are predicted to be in the £68,900 to £80,900 bracket.
In accounting roles, for which there is a strong supply of candidates, wages will increase less rapidly. For instance, cost accountants and tax specialists are likely to see salaries rise only at around the rate of inflation. The average SME cost accountant working in Scotland in 2015 should command between £37,600 and £42,800, while tax specialists working for large organisations are expected to be paid £40,600-£61,500 (see the Robert Half Salary Guide for more roles and salaries).
What are employers looking for?
As organisations focus on growth and expansion in 2015, new accountancy jobs are set to become available north of the border. But despite skills shortages in some specialisms, there will still be fierce competition for the top roles; those which offer the greatest remuneration and scope for career advancement. This is inevitable given that many employers are willing to pay a premium in the current hiring climate. Professionals are keeping a close eye on the jobs market and looking for opportunities to move, knowing they may be able to secure a significant salary increase by securing a new job.
In order to give themselves the best possible chance of success in the accountancy recruitment process, professionals need to have an impressive CV which evidences both hard and soft skills, the necessary qualifications and a strong record of achievement.
Employers are looking for more than simply numeracy skills. They want new hires to be strong communicators with analytical minds and an understanding of changes to the UK's financial reporting regime. And increasingly, as IT becomes a more important aspect of accountancy team activities, employers want to hire individuals who have software knowledge and are capable of overseeing Oracle or SAP upgrades.