Demand for Early Career Accountants up 20%

22nd June 2023

Posted In: FYI

Demand for early career accountants has increased by 20% in the last 12 months, according to new data released by specialist accounting talent advisory and recruitment firm Barden. Defined as accountants with 3-5 years post-qualification experience (PQE), the demand for early career accountants is being driven by finance teams restructuring and reshaping themselves for the future.

At present, finance managers, finance business partners and senior financial accountants are amongst the most sought-after talent in organisations big and small. Practical accounting skills remain important but increasingly CFOs are prioritising candidates with people skills; such as the ability to influence others, to lead others, to lead change programmes, and the ability to communicate financial information to non-financial people.

Elaine Brady, Managing Partner, Barden Leinster said:

“It has been widely reported in recent months that greater attention needs to be devoted to the development of softer skills, the sorts of skills that early career professionals have not had the opportunity to develop as effectively during COVID.

We are seeing this on the ground, and increasingly it is these core skills that differentiate who is promoted/hired and who is not.”

This increased demand contrasts with a similar decline in available talent driven by two key factors. The first of these is a significant uptick in the number of early career professionals relocating overseas/travelling post-pandemic, with the duration of their stays extending well beyond the traditional 12–18-month mark. The second factor is a divergence in the opportunities available for accountants at this early career level as firms diversify their service lines and finance project and transformation opportunities increase in frequency.

These findings come as Barden announces a new three-year agreement to support the Chartered Accountants Ireland Young Professionals group. The partnership will ensure those a few years into their careers as chartered accountants have access to the most up-to-date marketplace intelligence and expertise they need, awareness of future trends and opportunities as they come down the tracks, and what these mean for their career.

Commenting, Sinead Donovan, President of Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “Today’s announcement represents a significant enhancement of the supports available to early career accountants. Supporting the next generation as they enter the profession and build their careers was my priority when I became President.

When we see a 20% increase in demand for talent coupled with a decline in available talent, it’s clear that there is something amiss.

“Part of this is better communicating exactly what we do in our profession. It is not just the traditional accounting skills anymore, it is the people skills, the non-financial reporting expertise and so much more. Our annual student recruitment campaign, underway at the moment, very much reflects this focus. We are delighted to partner with Barden to help the next generation access these opportunities.”

Elaine Brady, Managing Partner, Barden Leinster concluded: “Our partnership with Young Professionals cements our commitment to Chartered Accountants Ireland members and signals our confidence in the future of the profession.  Over the coming years we hope that our insights, data and collective experience will help enable early career members to make better, more tactical decisions about their professional future.  That’s what makes this partnership so important.”

Pictured (l-r): Elaine Brady, Managing Partner, Barden Leinster, Peter Gillen, outgoing chair, Young Professionals, Sinead Donovan, President, Charted Accountants Ireland. (Image: Iain White Photography).