2017 in eXactitude’s region of Hampshire and surrounding major towns, has seen a strong demand for new financial leadership in the SME market, which broadly speaking we define as companies with a turnover of c£3m to c£40m. This has lead to reduction in the availability of high calibre candidates and allows the experience of eXactitude to add extra value by enabling a hiring company to look at both active and passive candidates. Just putting an advert online frequently does not result in success so far this year.
eXactitude have consulted with a variety of industry sectors and pleasingly most of the reasons for hiring are from a growth perspective. Clients have been looking for skilled professionals who can improve systems and financial processes to facilitate expansion, while maintaining a close eye on cash and working capital. Busy sectors have been IT, Telco, Retail, Services, Digital and financial services.
Clients have tended to initially try and recruit either sector experience or accountants who have operated in a similar size business historically. However the most successful hiring line managers identify key competencies required from their FC or FD and then source and interview against this criteria. This allows accountants to move across sectors and this sector “learning” makes them especially invigorated about their new role thus adding the value we all know a motivated new individual can bring.
SME’s that are budget conscious tend to value sector experience or company size over qualifications, although there are always a number who want the comfort of a CCAB qualified individual to manage their finances.
Budget consideration often affects this Qualified v QBE (qualified by experience) decision. QBE’s are available from a reasonable range of £32k to £45k+. The qualified market starts at £35k++ for a straight from practice or management accountant, rising to £45-55k for many FC’s, with an experienced controller looking at £50-70k in a larger SME.
The FD market locally starts from £65k but most SME FD’s are in the £70-90k bracket with the better salaries going up to c£100-£110k + bonus scheme and equity. (eXacititude publish a detailed salary report every January so please do get in contact if you would like a free copy). Equity participation is in our opinion one of the key drivers for ambitious FD’s who are willing to be flexible on base salary should they have an opportunity to create wealth in return for driving company profitability and hitting financial targets.
Aside from SME financial leadership, eXactitude’s commercial division is also very active in the high demand market for newly and recently qualified accountants into larger SME’s and Corporates. This sector is seeing fierce competition for top talent and salaries in the larger corporate world are inflating. Typically a Top 4 ACA can earn £42-53k in the north of our region and even more in the city. The critical factor to attract this type of candidate is to ensure that the job offering and future career prospects are positioned well at interview, as most strong candidates have a choice of offer when they reach decision time.
eXactitude currently have a number of strong candidates who are keen to secure a new challenge within an ambitious SME, so if you are thinking of recruiting do reach out. Our advice and consultation is free, our fees are very fair, payable only on success and come with a robust guarantee for added peace of mind. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
Nick Tout & Chris Castle, eXactitude Directors