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      Accounting & Finance Market Update – August 2022

      Welcome to your Accounting & Finance Market Update – August 2022

      That’s August over! I hope everyone has had an enjoyable summer, whether it’s been at home or on a trip abroad. It already feels like a long time ago since my trip to Majorca. Since the last update we say goodbye to Boris, as Liz Truss takes over as our new PM…keep your eyes on a budget update soon! August also saw the Absolute team’s trip to Berlin, which was an incentive for our 2021 result! It was a fantastic weekend with great food, beer, and company. What a city Berlin is, if you haven’t been I would highly recommend it.

      Team at Berlin wall

      Here’s a photo of the happy Absolute bunch on our Berlin trip 😊

      Included in this Accounting & Finance market update – August 2022                 

      • Key senior finance hires for August
      • Vacancy and job market update
      • How can companies support employees during the cost of living crisis
      • My views on “Quiet Quitting” and my thoughts ahead

      Key senior hires for August

      Clients have been struggling to attract accountants from the Big 4 and Top 10 accounting firms for technical reporting roles. I mentioned this earlier in the year and nothing has changed as we head towards the end of the year. When speaking with auditors in the top 10 firms looking to move into industry, the majority are not looking for a reporting-based role. In fact, I looked up a recent Financial Reporting role that we recruited, and we had to contact 44 accountants from various Top 10 firms before we spoke with a candidate interested in a reporting role. That’s a 98% rate of candidates who weren’t interested.

      For companies hiring direct, this could mean you end up waiting months before finding a candidate. None of the candidates we found for this particular role came via an advert. All candidates were directly headhunted from LinkedIn or found on job boards. If you don’t have these tools available as part of your recruitment strategy, I would look into it or speak with an agency to support.

      For clients who are interested in knowing, the most common areas these auditors are looking to move into are M&A/Corporate Finance/Investment Analysis. Finance Analyst positions are also common, and we have worked with several clients recently on changing their roles from a purely financial reporting role to one that also offers FP&A and analytical duties. This has resulted in a larger candidate pool to interview and a much quicker time to hire for the client as we’ve found candidates are more open to a hybrid role of reporting and analysis.

      If you’re a newly qualified ACA within a top 10 firm reading this and are interested in reporting roles, please do get in touch as we know several companies who we can put you in touch with!

      senior finance key hires

      August saw the usual stall in some processes that we typically see, as many hiring managers and candidates are away on holiday. During times when many companies may stall their processes (Summer/Christmas), companies have a great opportunity to take advantage of this and make sure they have a slick interview process during this time.

      As an example of this…

      During the Summer we were recruiting a Financial Controller position for a London tech business. We introduced candidates and there was a clear favourite after the second interview stage. The final stage would be a face-to-face meeting with the CEO but he was on holiday abroad for another 9 days. This candidate was also directly interviewing (final stage) at another company. After a call to our client to explain and discuss options/risks, they decided to change to a video call with the CEO instead (who kindly made time during his holiday).

      The result, an offer being made and accepted, by a very happy candidate. The candidate commented on the company going above and beyond to arrange the call with the CEO as being one of the factors in wanting to join them over the other business, who ironically during all of this had stalled their process.

      How a business handles its recruitment process can and does have huge value in the candidate’s perception of the company, and between two close opportunities, it could be a deciding factor. Not only could you beat your competition during busy times, but you will give a much better impression to the candidate and have a far higher chance of them accepting your offer.

      Vacancy and job market update

      What goes up must eventually come down, and after more than 24 months of consecutive growth and record after record amount of vacancies in the UK, the number of vacancies has declined.

      The ONS now estimates the amount of vacancies in the UK to have fallen by 19,800 to 1,274,400 (contracting 1.5%). This won’t have come as a shock if you read my updates monthly as I thought we would see this months ago. The data the ONS releases has shown a steady slowing of vacancy growth over the last 11 months. It’s the first fall since April 2020 but nowhere near the size of drop we saw back then. There are still more than 478,000 (60.2%) more vacancies in the UK now than pre-pandemic.

      August hires graph

      Data from Adzuna (which the ONS gathers data from) shows there are 43,577 Accounting & Finance roles in the UK, with more than a quarter of these in London alone (12,631).

      Looking into the senior finance salary brackets there are 5,726 opportunities with salaries of above £50,000. At salaries over £75,000 there were 1,144 which interestingly was almost the same amount as the rest of the UK combined at this level and 352 adverts for roles over £100,000. Many adverts may not state a salary so these numbers won’t include those. But it does show that London is the best place to be if you’re looking for senior finance roles.

      How can companies support employees through the cost-of-living crisis?

      Many companies are looking at how they can support their employees. Firstly with salary reviews but I’ve spoken with several companies who have implemented new initiatives which will benefit their employees more than increasing salaries.

      For example, giving an employee a company mobile phone contract could save the employee £40pm on a mobile phone contract. But increasing their salary by this amount per year they would pay 20/40% tax depending on their earnings (the business also benefits from not paying additional employers NI). Here is a list of other benefits a company could offer;

      • Gym membership, Company mobile phone, Childcare vouchers (employees can then reduce their spend on these)
      • Free or subsidised meals at work (saving on monthly food spend)
      • Interest-free loans / Salary sacrifice (Saving on credit card/loan interest rates)
      • Company car (employees would pay a benefit in kind tax though / electric car is super low tax)
      • Additional holiday or extra work from home days (saving on travel costs)
      • Allowance for remote home workers
      • Extra pension contributions (Candidates could then reduce their pension contributions)

      These are some examples of initiatives other companies have implemented but we would always advice seeking your accountants advice first.

      Thoughts ahead

      As we head towards Q4 and 2023, I think we will continue to see a decline in the vacancies and companies hiring. I see it gradually falling as there are still many companies that have struggled to re-recruit after the pandemic. But with the markets down and a cost-of-living crisis, many businesses will be looking to save cash and plan ahead which may involve a recruitment freeze. During similar times, we have often seen the need for temporary contractors where companies aren’t sure if they can keep people on a permanent basis.

      My advice for anyone in senior finance considering moving jobs soon or early 2023, would be to start looking now. It’s impossible for anyone to know how the market will look next year but the signs are showing we are in decline. What we know now is that it’s still a strong candidate market and we are achieving great packages for our candidates. Please do get in touch if you would like advice or to discuss finding your ideal next role.


      It doesn’t actually have anything to do with quitting. It means only doing what your job requires, nothing more. No extra hours and nothing outside of your job description. A trend that has picked up momentum due to employees not being appreciated or compensated for doing extra work.

      My personal views on this are most of the senior finance candidates I speak with have worked many extra hours and gone above and beyond what is expected of them, resulting in promotions, pay increases, and career progression. So, if you are in a company where you feel you are not being rewarded, thanked, or paid correctly, don’t sit in silence and do the bare minimum. Doing so, could slow down your career progression, earning, and overall happiness. Contact me, and I will help find you a company that will value you.

      Thank you for taking the time to read our market update. As always, if you would like any advice on hiring, candidates, salary benchmarking or just a general chat about the market, please get in touch.

      Ashley Reeve

      Senior Qualified Finance Recruiter

      Tel: 07949 161 351