London, 17 January 2011 - The New Year brings new hopes of continued economic recovery and job creation and new research may provide clues as to the positions in demand within the finance, accounting and financial services industries. According to the 2011 Robert Half Salary Guides, many roles show promise for the coming year with salaries returning to pre-recessionary levels.
“With companies focused on growth initiatives, accounting and finance continues to remain at the forefront as a means to manage expenditures, improve efficiencies and favourably position organisations for the upswing”, said Phil Sheridan, managing director for Robert Half UK.
“Despite high unemployment figures, companies report difficulties sourcing highly skilled professionals, particularly in regulatory compliance, audit and general accounting. Job candidates who bring multiple skill sets, a track record of success and a strong sense of accountability will see compensation gains in the year ahead.”
Following is an overview of 11 top finance and accounting jobs for 2011:
Commerce & Industry:
Financial Accountant – The downturn provided the finance function a seat at the decision-making table, with companies turning to sound financial processes to weather the unstable economic environment. As we emerge, businesses continue to seek candidates who can perform fundamental duties, such as maintaining the general ledger, compiling financial reports and managing cash flow. A qualified financial accountant with 6-9 years of experience in a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) in London can expect to see a salary range between £50,000 and £55,000.
Financial Analyst – As companies are increasingly seeking professionals with strong commerciality and business savvy, financial analysts who can assess borrowing structures to ensure competitive funding costs will be in demand. Individuals with expertise in evaluating financial plans, forecasts and budgets while also displaying exceptional communication skills will be in greatest demand. A financial analyst with 3-5 years of experience at a large company in the Midlands can expect to earn between £35,000 and £45,000.
Credit Controller -- Companies need professionals who can contribute to the bottom line by reducing inefficiencies and enhancing profitability. As a result, credit specialists who can assist in the evaluation of credit risk, manage delinquent payments and help improve cash flow are seeing increased opportunity. Base compensation for credit controllers with 3-5 years of experience working at an SME in South Wales will average between £14,000 and £18,000.
Assistant Accountant – With hiring freezes lifting and organisations adding headcount to over-stretched accounting teams, companies are recognising employees by promoting from within. The result is additional opportunity for entry-level roles for individuals displaying exceptional data entry skills and an attention to detail. Assistant accountants are required to match invoices to purchase orders and assist with accounts payable and receivable. Those looking to enter the field with an SME on the South Coast can expect remuneration between £17,000 and £19,000.
Financial Controller – Commerciality and a greater understanding of how the finance function fits within the strategic decision-making process has prompted the need for financial controllers who can plan and direct operational accounting functions, improve efficiencies, evaluate controls and develop business performance metrics while also moving the business forward. A financial controller with 6-9 years of experience at a large company in Northern England will see a base salary between £47,000 and £55,000.
Purchase Ledger Clerk – Challenges in managing cash flow has prompted companies to increasingly rely on credit to ensure business processes remain on track. Purchase ledger clerks have seen increased demand as organisations carefully monitor business records and ensure that they do not default on payments. London-based purchase ledger clerks with 6-9 years of experience at an SME can expect basic compensation in the £26,000-£27,000 range.
Financial Services & Banking (London City)
Regulatory Accountant – A more stringent regulatory environment and greater need for operational transparency has prompted the adoption of consolidated and harmonised compliance controls. While demand for regulatory accountants has increased, supply remains scarce – 16% of UK CFOs report challenges securing compliance skills, well above the global average. Regulatory accountants with 4-7 years of experience should expect to earn between £70,000 and £90,000 in 2011.
Internal Auditors – Audit continues to be in strong demand in the post-recessionary environment, however a shortage of skilled talent exists – one in four UK CFOs report challenges finding audit professionals who can prepare reports, evaluate business processes, improve procedures and perform project management of audit teams. Internal auditors with 1-3 years of post qualification industry experience can expect remuneration in the range of £55,000 - £65,000.
Financial Planning Analyst – With a focus on maximising profitability and identifying emerging trends, financial planning analysts are required to analyse product lines and organisational costs, prepare profit and loss models and perform budget variance and forecasting analysis. Nearly four in 10 (37%) financial services CFOs are challenged in finding qualified accounting and finance staff and a competitive job market means that managers can expect to see base salary in the range of £80,000 to £90,000.
Assistant Management Accountant – The financial services sector is also looking for assistant management accountants with industry experience to help analyse budgets and forecasts as well as provide detailed information and reporting to allow management to make informed business decisions. The role is often held by part-qualified ACCA and CIMA candidates, and with 3-5 years experience, professionals should expect to earn between £30,000 and £40,000.
Client Services – Throughout the banking crisis, the need to provide exceptional client service was never more apparent. As organisations now turn their attention to growth initiatives and revenue generation, client onboarding is increasingly important and demand exists for professionals with exceptional communication and relationship-building skills. Professionals with 4-6 years of experience will be compensated with a base salary between £40,000 and £55,000.
About the Robert Half 2011 Salary Guides
The Robert Half salary surveys include the 2011 Robert Half Salary Guide for accounting and finance and the 2011 Robert Half Financial Services Group Salary Guide for the banking and capital markets sector. Together, the guides contain salary data for more than 300 positions segmented by company size, geography and level of experience. Since 1950, companies have consulted the yearly guides from Robert Half to determine starting compensation levels for their employees. You can download the guides here.