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Accountancy firms to recruit 1,771 staff over coming year - Finance survey Back  
The top accountancy firms intend recruiting an additional 1,771 staff members over the coming year, to bring the total employed by the firms up to almost 9,000, according to this year’s annual FINANCE Accountancy Survey. Against a background of continuing skills shortages, accountants are benefiting from enhanced benefits packages, as well as rising salaries, with some employees expected to receive bonuses of 30 per cent of salary.
Between June 2005 and June 2006, a total of 1,592 staff were recruited by Irish accountancy firms across all levels. From June of this year, until June 2007, it is estimated that a further 1,771 staff will be recruited in the industry, bringing total employment in the Top 20 firms up to 8,774.

This growth is largely accounted for by an increase in the number of trainees that the firms plan to recruit. Last year some 854 trainees were recruited, while the estimate for the current year is 1046. With staff shortages an on-going problem in the industry, accountancy firms may be looking to increase the numbers of in-house talent that they can train.

As the largest employer, it is no surprise that PwC expects to recruit the most staff - 491 - over the next 12 months, followed by the other Big 4 firms. Of the mid-tier firms, BDO Simpson Xavier is set to hire the most, as it looks to grow its workforce by a further 118, 45 of whom will be professionals.

Mazars is looking to increase its workforce by a third, as it aims to hire an additional 46 staff members, to bring its total workforce up to 195.

Recruitment firms remain a very popular vehicle for hiring staff, and according to a new statistic compiled in the survey this year, 35 per cent of the top accountancy firms outsource between 61-80 per cent of their recruitment needs to recruitment agencies, with a further fifteen per cent outsourcing more than 81 per cent.

With regards to advertising available positions, the national print media is the most popular vehicle, with 60 per cent of survey respondents making frequent use of this medium. Specialist publications are the second most popular frequently used medium, with 40 per cent of respondents advertising in these publications.

Perks and benefits
In order to retain the best staff, accountancy firms are making increased efforts to attract staff and incentivise productivity. Benefits offered by survey respondents ranges from everything from car parking to counseling, with a number of firms commenting that they now offer their staff the facility to purchase additional days annual leave.

For example, in addition to ‘normal’ benefits such as holidays, pension and death in service benefits, PwC offers its employees a comprehensive health management programme, emergency childcare arrangements, a working parents support group, flexible working arrangements, as well as discounts with various retailers, shops, restaurants, etc.
The firm, which is the largest employer amongst accountancy firms, also has an employee assistance programme with confidential counseling for employees and their family for personal and work-related issues.
KPMG offers a full suite of financial perks and benefits to its employees, and the package is designed to be very flexible with employees able to mix and match benefits to meet their own specific needs.

Salary trends
In another attempt to secure the best team, firms expect to pay up to thirty per cent of salary in bonuses in the coming year.

In their last review, on average, 40 per cent of staff working in the accountancy sector got a salary rise of between 0-5 per cent, with a further 45 per cent getting a rise of between 6-10 per cent. This year, 25 per cent of staff can expect to get a higher salary increase, of between 11-15 per cent.

Last year, the greatest number of staff got a bonus of between 0-5 per cent of their salary, and in this year’s survey, this figure again accounts for the highest number of employees. However, a greater number of employees, 10 per cent, will receive bonuses of more than 20 per cent. BDO Simpson Xavier and IFAC are the most generous at bonus time, with bonuses of 30 per cent for BDO, and 25 per cent for IFAC, expected.

Employees at Mazars will also be pleased to see that the expected bonus for non-partners is 15 per cent of salary, up from 5 per cent last year. Similarly, bonuses at Russell Brennan Keane are to rise from 12 per cent last year, to 20 per cent this year.

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