Accounting - A Race to the Bottom?


How is everybody else finding the employment market at the moment?

I am a AAT Fellow and CIMA finalist and have been in accounting since 2002 so have a lot of experience and over 5 years of that was in senior roles. I was made redundant in November due to the sale of my employer and I have been doing MIP work ever since.

I have been trying to get back into employment ever since but finding that every job is through a recruitment agency and most jobs are asking for chartered accountants (ACA, CIMA, ACCA) and advertising salaries of £25k-£30k. From my past experience, these salaries were what part-qualified accountants were earning but these days it seems that chartered accountants are happy to work for this pay so employers think that they should advertise for a chartered accountant as they are getting a better deal than hiring a part-qualified at the same price.

It also doesn't help that recruitment agencies are using software to pick out key words from CVs that come in from third party websites like GAAPWeb, Indeed, Reed etc, meaning that CVs are getting short-listed by a computer before even reaching the eyes of the recruiter. So even though you are perfect for the role, you are instantly rejected because you did not SPAM your CV with keywords. Even if you do get through the computer filter, the recruiter then goes through a box ticking process meaning that what you are capable of doing is irrelevant, if you have not worked in manufacturing, you are not getting the job in a manufacturing business. The worst part though is when you get through the computer filter and the box ticking but get rejected on the fact that you have held a lot of short term jobs (temp roles) and you get rejected by the recruiter because you are seen as a high risk to the recruiter because they may not get the full commission if you leave the role inside of 6 months and this could also look bad on the reputation of that recruiter by the client because they recommended you for the role.

It just seems that accountant salaries are getting driven down and that can only mean that the value of the accountant is significantly reducing in the UK. In the USA, graduates are leaving University with an accounting degree and getting offered $50,000 a year plus full study support for their CPA with their first employers.

As an MIP, I am also finding that clients are leaving because they can get somebody to do the work a lot cheaper or do it themselves because there is so much information on the internet that they can work it out. Most 'one man band' limited companies are so clued up on things like IR35 that they are doing their own accounts.


  • jps
    jps Registered Posts: 5 New contributor ?
    I am looking for a role at the moment as I am considering undertaking study - (something I have never done) either AAT or maybe ATT.

    I have had many different jobs throughout my life but have never had any "promotions" or been succesful in moving up the chain of command or being given more responsibility hence the imposed/elective "career" changes.

    This time round, after quitting my last role late last year, and taking some time out & I'm now trying to get work - I am of the belief that most businesses are too BOTTOM LINE oriented and don't really want experienced people as we are too expensive where as younger/apprentices suit their "cheap methodology criteria".

    My experience with the agencies is 50/50 at best. In my opinion they are sales people and should be pushing all their candidates in the same manner to achieve their commissions. And yes the use of "computer algorithms" to source candidates is a major frustration with me - more than half the agencies that have my CV have never met me in person. That said I know I could do most jobs but it seems a lot of companies want "human robots" - i.e. those that don't complain, accept everything thrown at them, and even better not likely to leave as it saves on training someone if forbid somebody should leave.
  • Neillaw
    Neillaw MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 307 Dedicated contributor ? ? ?
    The big problems over the last few years for part-qualifieds are the ACA's that are devaluing their services.
    A couple of years ago it was the norm that ACA's were taking lower salaries and taking the positions that you would usually put an AAT person in. This squeeze caused a stagnation in the market which hasn't caught back up yet, over the past year it has started to move things back upwards as more positions have created for the ACA's.
    What I did find is that they wouldn't take any contract work or temp positions, I took this route and developed both my cost accounting and treasury work.
    I'm now getting calls for this type of work in the part-qualified pay bracket.
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