Adaptability the key skill for accountants

Caroline Naylor, CRA Financial
Caroline Naylor, CRA Financial

It’s a challenging time for accountants on the job market currently.

The CBI and PWC suggest that the financial industry is picking up slightly, but the indications seem to be that increased recruitment is in specialised areas such as compliance and risk management.

Adaptability seems to be the key to improving accountants chances of getting the job they want; being prepared to move out of an industry they may have worked in for long time and shaking off some old – and usually misplaced – conceptions that accountants are over-paid and not willing to re-train or adapt into a contracting and highly regulated industry.

Employers certainly have the upper hand currently and can pick and choose to get someone with the exact expertise and character they want.

So proving that you are flexible, re-trainable and ‘savvy’ is the key to persuading a recruiter – who may believe that your long experience in a set industry means you are closed to other scenarios or that your skills may blunt – that you are the right person for the job.

Make it clear exactly what you can do: how you have grown within your employment; how you changed and evolved to adapt to new situations; what positive impact you’ve had and how you’ve kept up with changes in the industry. Showing what other hats you’ve worn is vital – don’t forget to include any voluntary work, which can demonstrate a wide range of skills in a completely different environment to your norm.

I’ve worked in the financial recruitment sector for several years, and whilst I can see some upward at the moment, hiring levels are certainly not where they were some years ago.

You really do need to stand out from the crowd at the moment and clearly demonstrate how you could adapt your skills to fit the role you are pursuing.

Make sure you give strong examples of your wider experience, such as implementing new IT systems or a particular strength in attracting new clients.

Don’t rely on your previous job titles to sell your skills – which will have certainly have evolved, even if your title hasn’t!

lContact Caroline at CRA Financial on 0114 241 8030 or at