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How to grow your accountancy and finance salary in 2019

By Karen Young, Director of Hays Accountancy & Finance 

Accountancy and finance professionals who can keep pace with ever-changing technology and legislation will be in demand this year. The vast majority (89%) of accountancy and finance employers say they have experienced a skills shortage over the last year, according to the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 guide.

Salaries have risen by 1.8% on average across the accountancy and finance profession in the UK, but do not let this fairly moderate increase concern you, salaries for the most in-demand roles increased by more than double the UK average. With competition for the most skilled professionals in high demand, 81% of employers told us that they increased salaries last year, and the good news for accountancy and finance professionals is that 77% of their employers say they plan to further increase salaries in 2019.

The right salary?

Just over a third (34%) of finance professionals say they are unhappy with their salary and nearly a quarter (23%) would consider a move for a better salary and benefits package.

For all finance professionals, it is essential that you know your ‘market rate’ – this is how much you could be earning compared to the average nationally and regionally based on your skillsets and experience. Whether you are considering a move or plan to stay with your existing employer, you can check your market rate using our salary checker.

Do you have all the skills you need for the salary you are looking for? If not, what can you do to build on your existing skills?

Management skills

With the rise in automation across the sector, there is an increasing need for professionals with operations and technical skills. A manager who can combine an awareness of how technology and automation can streamline and improve processes with the soft skills of communication, leadership and project management will become a manager who is truly indispensable – and can command the best salary.

Philip King, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management, said: “Technology is a tremendous enabler, but it does not replace the need for good, common sense management that seeks out opportunities and finds solutions, neither does it replace the need for those ‘softer’ skills to get the best out of your colleagues and peers.”

Upskilling

From changing technology to new legislation, the pace of change across the industry shows no sign of slowing down. Those who can keep up with the change and arm themselves with the latest industry knowledge will be those who will see the highest salaries over the coming year.

Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of AAT, said: “The rise in automation is beneficial to the profession, not detrimental. Accountants may spend less time at their calculators, but that frees them up to deliver greater value to clients, provide clearer financial recommendations, and build better, longer-lasting relationships.”

John Edwards, CEO of the Institute of Financial Accountants, said: “‘Flexibility’ and ‘adaptability’ continue to be watch words. Accountants need to be up to date with changes in regulations. The introduction of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017, GDPR, HMRC’s Trust and Company Services Providers register and criminal records check to Making Tax Digital mean the ability to be agile remains as important as ever.”

Bruce Cartwright, Chief Executive of ICAS, said: “A sector which is worth £52 billion to the UK economy; employs 600,000 people and contributes £10 billion to the nation’s tax coffers, is certain to maintain its position as the pre-eminent profession of business.”

With the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the year ahead looks to be a challenging one, but good jobs are out there and there will always be opportunities for those who can stay one step ahead.

If you’re unsure about your current pay and think you could be earning more in your role, try our new salary checker tool, where you can quickly compare your salary to the average and top level for your region.

About this author

Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.

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