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The transition to IFRs is driving growth in the accountancy recruitment market Back  
With corporates busy preparing for the introduction of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRs) in 2005, accountants with IFRS experience are in demand, as are CIMA qualified accountants with previous financial services experience, Cara O’Leary writes.
For the past five years the Irish jobs market has enjoyed a great deal of interest and speculation, both here and overseas.

Five years ago, salaries were spiralling out of control. Ireland was losing its allure to many US and international companies as a potential location and gateway to Europe. This has settled with the temporary slowdown in the economy and as a result, the current jobs market is one, which is attractive to both employers and employees.

This will strongly affect roles in the accountancy sector, as Ireland once again becomes a location of choice to many companies. Over the past year or so, these have included companies across a broad spectrum of industries. In financial services, we have welcomed a second Merrill Lynch Office (a centre for some of their support services in Europe), The Hartford Financial Services Group and GE’s new Irish treasury operation, amongst others.
The transition to IFRSs is driving growth in the accountancy recruitment market

In commercial industry, Business Objects, a leading provider of enterprise business intelligence solutions has recently opened an Irish office, as have EBay, Kelloggs and many others. So what then of accountancy firms? Well, as the market grows, so too the requirements for auditors, tax consultants, corporate finance executives and business advisory consultants. So as a result of this growth, many new roles are being created in professional accountancy firms.

For accountants, this is good news. Whether you work in practice, industry or financial services, as the market continues to enjoy sustained growth, opportunities will continue to develop for qualified accountants across all sectors.

Recently, we have observed some interesting trends in the jobs market for accountants. Traditionally, financial services organisations would have employed mainly ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) or ACCA (Associate Chartered Certified Accountant) accountants, with a strong background in financial services or having trained through a large or medium accountancy practice.
Not so of late, when we have seen the requirements for CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) qualified accountants with previous financial services experience reach record highs.
Moreover, CIMA is enjoying equal strength in the commercial sector, where numerous employers are seeking well-qualified management accountants with relevant industry based-experience. The demand for certified and chartered accountants is also still strong in industry, where the majority of jobs on offer at present include financial accountant and financial controllership positions.

Chartered accountants, who trained in a large practice, remain in demand for many leading practices throughout the capital and around the country. In particular, we have seen a strong interest in qualified auditors with experience in the audit of insurance and reinsurance companies. Reinsurance as a sector also remains a strong job base for suitably qualified and experienced accountants.

I saw a particular example of this recently, when I interviewed a qualified chartered accountant (Big 4 trained) currently based in Eastern Europe. Having conducted an initial telephone interview, I saw fit to submit his details to a number of large professional services clients in the Dublin market. Within a couple of weeks he had telephone interviews with two of Ireland’s leading firms, both of which impressed him greatly, and he was fortunate enough to receive one offer immediately. His background? Insurance and reinsurance audit experience.

As always, due to the size of the Dublin funds industry, the need for suitably experienced, ACCA qualified fund accountants remains very strong. Fund accountants who have 3-5 years experience in NAV production, some supervisory skills and have recently completed their ACCA exams are in very high demand.

Internal audit in financial services is historically an area of particular interest to many newly qualified ACA Accountants who have experience in auditing financial services companies. Of late, we have seen a rise in the need for suitably qualified internal auditors in financial services, with an emphasis on the ability and willingness to travel for up to 50 per cent of the year.

Taxation is another continuously strong specialist area in accounting. Constantly affected by new legislation (both international and domestic), tax is an area, unlike others in accounting, where candidates who have qualified overseas may not be an option to an employer in Ireland. This is due to the complexities of the tax laws here and the inherent differences between legislation here and that of other countries around the globe.

However, a growth area which is benefiting our colleagues from around the world is that of IFRs and IAS accounting a growing industry, particularly for contract staff, as many projects will most likely take 6-18 months to roll-out. In addition to this, we have seen an increase in the requirements for qualified accountants, mainly for fixed-term contracts, with Sarbanes Oxley experience.
At the more senior end of the spectrum, the market for finance directors and CFOs, has not been as active as hoped for the last year or so, but all indicators in the market at present are very much for an increase in activity at the senior end over the next 12-24 months. Present requirements are very much for commercially focused finance directors with 15 years plus PQE. All in all the last year has been good to accountants and this trend looks set to continue. The current steady pace of growth will last for the next 12-24 months at least, and unlike the growth rate of five years ago, it should be sustainable in the long term.

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