There’s no doubt that our digital evolution is shaping the way financial firms operate. With technology playing a key role, firms are finding new avenues to increase their efficiency and competitiveness. So much so, that these advancements are in fact disrupting the financial services industry and changing the landscape of the accounting industry as a whole. Tasks once handled with paper money, bulky computers and human interaction are now all in one collaborative digital interface.
Almost every type of financial service is being re-invented by start-ups. The more established players are now adapting to the Fintech revolution, but this comes with it’s challenges. Firms must maintain their core processes whilst diffusing innovative strategies throughout their organisation to keep up with increasing tech advancements. And of course, with the UK’s decision to leave the European Union comes further disruption to the financial sectors, particularly over the short term, such as delays with investment decisions and reductions in efficiency as firms must adapt to changing regulations.
1. Cloud Accounting
The emergence of the cloud has led to changing the way advisors operate, with software doing more of the heavy lifting, allowing advisors to focus their efforts more on higher valued activities and less of mindless data entry. With most cloud accounting products acting as a software-as-a-service, this means accounting firms no longer need to invest heavily on server infrastructure as the subscription covers any risks or issues associated with the product. The benefits are significant and includes reductions in capital outlay for servers, physical space, energy bills, IT support on the ground and updates to software. And with better management accounting means a improvements to real-time information resulting in more informed decision making.
2. Accounting Automation
Despite growing concerns that automation could cause redundancies, automation within tech advancements means advisors will now play the centre part in a more holistic operation. Accounting professionals can say farewell to the dozen spreadsheets previously used to determine taxes, predict revenue, budgeting and analysis as fully automated systems can now reduce manual backend accounting. With the right knowledge and strategy in place, automated tools add huge value for both accountants and clients. Despite the common “robots will be replacing humans” fear, automated accounting systems are not intended to replace headcount, but allow accountants to do their job more effectively and building foundations required for scalability.
3. Data Science
Big data has made a profound effect on the way companies operate, and that goes for the finance industry. Accountants can deliver more detailed and customised advice through big data from point of sale solutions to employee management, all of which feed into cloud accounting solutions. With increasing developments of data comes to rises of data departments and financial data scientists. Companies must keep up to speed on management and protection of data to comply with banking legislations. There has been a real shift of focus where previously senior analysts in financial firms have focused on projects related to governance risk and compliance, whereas now financial data scientists will be looking into leverage large datasets to better understand slow turnover markets.
Salary insights have found that 98% of CFOs are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled professional-level employees. Directors are willing to pay premium six figure salaries to secure accounting and finance professionals. Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals are predicted to rise by 2.2% on average this year. Senior professionals with specialist skills will see the greatest increase with expected reach of a 4% increase.
This short supply of professionals have fostered a highly competitive landscape, where businesses are under increasing pressure to offer desirable pay packages and extra benefits to risk losing top professionals to competitors. This demonstrates the importance of fostering environments where employees feel valued, able to progress and adequately remunerated. Competition between firms for talent has had a growing effect on salary negotiations, which are becoming increasingly common when hiring new staff.
Skill gaps are having an adverse effect on finding the right finance professionals, with a shortage of niche, technical experts. If the industry is to remain robust, it needs to address this talent shortage by investing in training and development opportunities for new graduates and those still in education. The hardest skills to source are financial analysis, general accounting and financial management and control. Another crucial requirement for finance professionals is the ability to keep on trend with any regulatory changes within the EU. Therefore, candidates who encompass these functional skill-sets can leverage lucrative salary negotiations. Download our eBook to get a break down of the average UK finance and accounting salaries.
Regardless of some of the talent acquisition challenges, the pace of the hiring environment for financial services professionals is not slowing, especially for SME financial services. Approximately 57% of leaders in the SME category stated they would add new positions to their companies showing a positive outlook for finance job market. With such a prevalent candidate centric market, implementing a retention strategy has never been more important.
Creating an environment where employees are happy and loyal reduces the risk of costly counter offers or worst case scenario spending time and money replacing resigned members. Overall there is a positive outlook for candidates seeking work within the accounting and financial space, but for employers they must ensure they can offer a package which will keep employees happy and fulfilled within their role.
For a full breakdown of the average benchmark of UK Finance and Accounting Salaries, download our eBook.
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