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Accountancy & Finance - Professional Practice

Hotspots of skills in demand

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Professional Practice

New Zealand’s professional practice market remains candidate short. In particular demand are candidates at the intermediate to senior level since candidates continue to move from a firm into commerce upon completion of their qualification. Others travel overseas.

Adding to demand for Intermediate Accountants is the lack of sufficient exposure firms are giving candidates to clients. This is adding to the shortage of suitable candidates who fit the requirements of an ‘intermediate’.

In addition, many recently qualified Intermediates and Seniors are bonded to firms for a period of time as a result of their professional studies, which can reduce the availability of candidates further. Firms are now more open to ‘buying bonds’ to secure candidates. That said, the request has to come from a firm as employers are cautious of candidates who have broken their bond.

Tax remains a major area of demand. Once tax professionals reach the senior level, they often look for a new role if management or Partnership is not of interest. Counter offers are extremely common, however they typically only succeed in retaining the employee for six months. After this time, the candidate has again successfully applied for a role elsewhere and moves on.

In addition, firms are looking for experts in certain fields, with tax a key specialist offering. This is leading to increased demand for senior and management-level tax professionals.

Senior Accountants in BAS and Audit are also needed. Qualified CAs are taking contracts overseas, thus widening the local shortage of candidates with one to two years of post-qualified experience. This is a key position within firms; after three years of training and study these employees start to become profitable. However, candidates are attracted to the commercial sector for improved work-life balance, salaries and to get away from working in time units.

Associate Directors with business development skills are sought. There are a small number of Associate Directors looking for partnership opportunities, however the majority move to commerce where salaries and career progression opportunities are more attractive.

Agri Accountants remain in demand. There is a significant shortage of candidates who specialise in this area. Only a small number of firms are willing to train staff in this area and these firms prefer candidates with a farming background.

In terms of soft skills, consulting and communication skills are highly valued. Firms are moving away from compliance and thus require candidates who can add real value through consulting. The focus is not only on how you present reports to clients, but how you articulate information and add valuable insight by showing what the data really means.

Jobseeker advice

Consider upskilling. A report claims the half-life of learned skills is now about five years. Regardless of your role or level of seniority, it is therefore essential to continuously upskill in order to stay relevant in an increasingly mechanised world. Here’s 7 ways to upskill and keep yourself at the growing edge of your career without breaking the bank.

Finally, consider how you can demonstrate your data fluency, strategic thinking and readiness for AI-integrated workforces to stand out from the crowd. Read our advice on the latest trends here

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