By Richard Hooper
Richard Hooper is a Director/owner of Balance Recruitment, an accountancy recruitment business with specialist divisions focussing on Legal Services, Retail, Media, Technology and Telco sectors. Richard heads up the Legal Accounts division, recruiting for senior accounting positions with international and UK Law Firms.
Whilst the jobs market has been improving steadily in line with the economic upturn, competition is still fierce for certain positions, particularly opportunities offering study support towards accounting qualifications.These roles are likely to offer the successful applicants steady progression over a two to three year period in which they can learn, develop and ultimately become qualified accountants, earning a healthy salary increase and opening up a world of opportunity.
No wonder then that so many applications come flooding through when such vacancies arise. Frustratingly however, too high a proportion of these applications will fall at the first hurdle because the individual’s theoretical studies have gone far beyond their practical experience. All too often we see CV’s where the jobseeker has raced ahead with their exams without actually gaining any/enough relevant hands-on accounting experience to compliment their studies.
In many cases we appreciate it’s not for the want of trying, however until those responsibilities have fallen under your remit, it’s worth slowing down or even putting a temporary hold on your studies or you run the risk of entering a void that employers aren’t looking to fill. A vastly overqualified ledger clerk is a risk to an employer who is unable to give them responsibilities to match their knowledge, as they know they’ll soon become de-motivated and eager to move on. There is also a worry that salary expectations will rise too quickly in line with exam progress.
If you do find yourself in this position make sure you explore every possible avenue in order to gain progressive experience. If you’re studying outside of practice or a structured graduate/trainee scheme, you may need to drive this yourself. Forge close relationships with qualified colleagues and ask for opportunities to shadow or assist them when you’ve completed your own workload. If you can gradually start to assist on a regular basis you may in time get the opportunity to take these tasks on officially.
If progress is just not available in your current employer you really should consider moving on if you want to continue your studies without delay, and when considering your next move prioritise the responsibilities and progression opportunity of a potential new role ahead of the employer profile, firm size etc.
Their latest jobs in The City include:
- Financial Planning and Analysis Manager - £75,000 to £80,000 per year
- Head of Financial Planning and Analysis - £70,000 to £75,000 per year
- Tax Accountant - £55,000 to £60,000 per year
- Fund Accountant - £30,000 to £40,000 per year
To download their 'Legal Accounts' staff salary survey, click here