Recruitment advice, job seeker support and company news

Accountancy & Finance Recruitment Trends

17th April 2024

by Suzanne Burr

The new fiscal year signals a busy time for finance teams. It also heralds fresh prospects for job seekers in finance and accountancy, amidst rapid changes driven by advancing technologies, changing work practices and the prevailing cost-of-living challenges, as underscored in a recent report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

So, what can candidates expect to see in the year ahead?

Accountancy In The Age of Automation 

Automation is one of the standout trends that we expect to see gather further momentum in 2024, particularly as more companies dive deeper into what can feasibly be automated.

Many businesses are in the process of upgrading their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, using new data visualisation software like Power BI to streamline operations and enhance their offering.

This is a trend that has been ongoing for several years but is now expected to ramp up, as accountancy firms seek to meet clients’ expectations of how their finance systems should be handled.

Change on this level can be expensive, not to mention time-consuming. Job seekers who can effectively manage these transitions, and have the technical skills to do so, will be a much sought-after resource.

While some may have concerns about roles being replaced by artificial intelligence, the finance sector largely seems to have recognised the benefits of implementing new technologies in everyday operations. ACCA’s report revealed that as much as 90% of the UK-based survey respondents indicated that they understand how it can help workers bring value to their own organisation or to clients.

But it is hard to draw conclusions on the wider impact as we are still in a relatively early stage of our relationship with automation. Only time will tell.

Are Finance Roles More Than A Numbers Game?

Careers paths aren’t necessarily linear. ‘Squiggly careers’ are becoming more accepted as people realise there really is no one set path.

While in years past, financial incentives were one of the primary reasons for making a move, that is not always the case now.

Workers may decide to move to another organisation for better benefits or a better pensions package, or they could seek to achieve a healthier work/life balance.

The pattern of recruitment in 2023 switched from a demand for temporary workers to permanent hiring, however we anticipate this will shift again as the year progresses considering economic uncertainty, windfall tax implications, restructuring changes and potential redundancies.

Presently, there exists a scarcity of candidates for transactional finance roles, including positions such as accounts payable/billable, payroll, and tax, among others.

The Cost Of Living

The cost-of-living crisis is obviously something that is felt more widely than just in the finance and accountancy sector, but it is still a factor worth considering.

Many young finance professionals who are self-funding their educations are now having to press pause on sitting their exams due to costs. This could weaken the pipeline of prospective candidates that are coming through.

Another outcome that we are seeing more often is less flexibility from more experienced candidates around salary offers from prospective employers. If an offer does not meet the expectations of a candidate, they are more likely to turn down the position than they were in previous years. That said, there is growing alignment between employers and job seekers regarding salary expectations and salary band ranges, as highlighted in our North East Salary Guide.

A New Way Of Working

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic employers have grappled with the same debate – do we bring our people back to the office full-time or stick with a remote working model?

ACCA’s results showed that 80% of UK finance professionals were either hybrid or fully remote workers, so it seems that working from home is here to stay.

Accounts teams tend to be at their busiest at month-end and year-end, and many have expressed their desires to be able to work from home during these times as it can allow them to focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by other comings and goings in the office.

As with salary expectations, flexibility has become a sticking point for finance workers. Employers that fail to provide flexible working options may find themselves with limited access to a talent pool.

But a suitable compromise has emerged, after an employee has completed a “bedding in” period of fully office-based working, they can begin to split their time between home and the office.


There are certain periods of time when finance teams' capacity can be stretched thin.

The pressures of month-end and year-end deadlines can result in employees working evenings and weekends, which can take a toll on their well-being.

Nearly half (47%) of Scottish respondents to ACCA’s research said they had felt that their mental health had suffered due to work related pressures.

The boundary between work and personal life can blur significantly when working from home, making it challenging to disconnect at the end of the day. Constant accessibility through phones and the internet further compounds this issue unless we intentionally disengage.

Although there's an implicit expectation to work overtime during busy periods, employers must acknowledge their responsibility to safeguard their staff's well-being.


With so many organisations having diversity, equity and inclusion policies and strategies in place, they have proven they can talk the talk, but how much of this makes it through into everyday working practices?

It is estimated that one in five people are neurodivergent, made up of a range of learning and behavioural differences, which can impact their performance in the workplace.

In ACCA’s research, Scotland ranked second globally in terms of inclusivity, with 80% of Scottish finance professionals feeling that their organisation was inclusive. This is a commendable statistic, one that employers should feel proud of, but they shouldn't rest on their laurels as continuous efforts are essential to provide comprehensive support.

This article covers a broad overview, to talk about your job search and individual circumstances please contact one of our specialist accountancy and finance recruiters who are available for a confidential discussion on 01224 327000.

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