Market update from our MD for newly qualified and finalists……

With the pessimists, depressive promoters and bearers of bad news still ensuring that we are all too well aware of the economic crisis, is it any wonder that the uncertainty of the job market continues to be heightened. As a finalist or recently qualified accountant do you know how our current economic circumstances and the hype around them are going to affect your career?

As Managing Director of Howett Thorpe I have recruited qualified accountants through the two previous recessions and today many of the FD’s we liaise with are the people who took the initiative in hard and uncertain economic times to make strategic moves in their careers they have now reaped the rewards. Dynamic progressive businesses want dynamic progressive accountants. Think about your objectives when you started on this career path – did you consider joining a specific organization with the aim being to qualify and then move on – if this is the case and was your initial strategy then think seriously about what staying with the business you qualified with for several years after achieving this goal says about you.

Whether you feel your current employer is affected by the economic downturn or not, it is necessary that you maximise opportunities to develop your skills and gain control of your career. As crude as it may sound, you are a commodity and need to make sure that when necessary, you are the best product available on the market. At a time when organisations will think long and hard in respect of headcount growth and often only recruit when business critical, the opportunity to pragmatically drive your career, gain exposure to new skills and position yourself as a fundamental part of your business has never been greater.

Understanding your skills, capabilities and market value is critical throughout your career. Preparing a CV will help you realize how effectively you are developing towards your desired career goals. Make clear objectives both in terms of the tangible development of skills and financial rewards gained.

In the current market, illustrating the real value you can add to a company, your commitment and desire to develop your career will go a long way in progressing your application. The range of options open to you will be significantly less than those presented to the Qualified candidates of the last few years, but do not succumb to ‘sitting tight’ or declining an offer for lack of a comparison. Accept the challenge of developing your career during times such as these and demonstrate your commercial worth to the businesses who are interviewing you (and yourself) by replacing a decision process based on choice with one based on research.

Flattering although it may seem, attending one interview and then accepting a job offer is not wise in any market; especially so when the potential to cut your losses and move are reduced. Work with your consultant to develop an interview process that will enable you to be sure the role you are considering is the right one for you. Prepare questions at every stage; including offer stage, and go back to revisit the business when you have an offer on the table.

· Investigate a businesses financial position thoroughly (and be aware we always carry out stringent credit referring on all our clients). Requesting a set of their accounts can be both insightful and useful homework if you take the role.

· Assess you ability to do the role and if the balance of what you can bring and learn is right, you are being recruited to provide a service; but you would expect the opportunity to develop as part of your role.

· Be realistic about what the role can offer you; although most people do not relish the thought of their second move post qualification whilst still safe and secure with they current employers, statistics prove a second move within a 2-3 year period results in the most rapid career and salary progression

Finally, feel free to contact me or any of my Qualified Recruitment Team who have all been advising candidates in your situation for over 10 years. Our success is based on forging relationships with our clients and candidates and providing honest advice – after all you are the future of our business!