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Accountancy & Finance salary insights

Accountancy & Finance  - NZ

New Zealand’s accountancy & finance job market remains strong, although the continuing shortage of accountants across the country keeps the supply and demand ratio firmly in the favour of candidates. Some easing at the entry and mid-levels has come from the addition in early 2018 of the role of Accountant to the Immediate Skills Shortage List (ISSL). Since then, candidate supply has increased for generalist roles. Some senior candidates from relevant regions, such as the UK, have also been secured.In the year ahead, we therefore expect multiple candidates to be available for generalist accounting positions. As a result, salary demands at the entry to mid-levels have lowered. Given that demand for accountants is projected to increase, the continuing ability to recruit eligible migrants will boost the candidate pool. So too will a renewed focus on candidate attraction and retention.

Turning to specific trends within commerce and industry, a key development of note is the focus on business partnering between finance and operations as companies link front and back office functions and improve productivity. Consequently, employers of traditional accounting skills are increasingly looking instead for candidates with strong business intelligence and analytics skills. Strong communication and soft skills are also required for a candidate to be successful.

Another trend impacting talent in demand is the renewed focus on process improvement skills. With back office financial processing seeing a high level of automation as organisations face increased pressure to maximise efficiency, accountancy professionals who can work with robotics or innovate to improve processes and system efficiencies will increasingly be valued.

Meanwhile, the strong economic backdrop of the last five years has led to ongoing demand from start-up businesses and fast growing small to medium sized enterprises for Commercial Accountants.

At the accountancy support level, a major trend is the outsourcing of back office processing functions, which is creating demand for Assistant Accountants. All-round Account Clerks with ample experience and a diverse skill set are needed too, while demand continues to exceed supply for Payrollers, Payroll Managers and Credit Controllers for front-end roles. Accounts Payable and Receivable professionals with strong focussed experience rather than broad experience across multiple functions are also sought.

With fewer people wanting to pursue a career in transactional accounting, these candidate shortages are set to intensify over the year ahead. Salaries for accountancy support professionals remain unchanged. The exception is in payroll, with the supply of Payroll Administrators failing to meet demand and leading to strong increases for suitable candidates.

Turning to professional practice, high demand is evident for intermediate to senior level candidates given the movement into commerce upon completion of their qualification. Adding to demand for Intermediate Accountants is the lack of sufficient exposure firms are giving candidates to clients. This is intensifying the shortage of suitable candidates who fit the requirements of an ‘intermediate’. Given demand, firms are even more open to considering qualified candidates who are bonded to firms for their professional studies and will buy-out 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.

In other areas of demand, tax remains a major focus, with Senior Accountants in BAS and Audit, Associate Directors with business development skills and Agri Accountants sought. Finally, salaries within professional practice are set within defined brackets and have not changed. Salary increases occur following a promotion, often based on years of service or completion of a professional qualification.

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