We have seen strong demand across a number of areas within accounting and finance, predominantly driven by changes in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the Royal Commission and hiring within FinTech’s.
This has given accountants more choice in the market and driving competition between companies and job seekers. Here we explore the 4 key accounting & finance skills that will be in demand in 2019.
1.Finance Business Partner
With strong demand during 2018 we see the need for finance business partners continuing into 2019. Most businesses are still on the journey to develop their finance business partnering function, often trying to strike a balance between the monthly deliverables and more adhoc, value add work. Larger companies often have the ability to divide up the work into specific teams, creating roles without monthly deliverables, therefore freeing finance business partners up to do just that.
However this isn’t without it’s challenges, who has the relationship with the business, who does what, and does the business want to deal with several finance people. Whilst smaller companies often have a combined role of monthly deliverables with adhoc finance business partnering. As such most business are still working towards a best in class finance business partner function, where there is an experienced finance person who is part of the business decisions. Recent trends in this space have been for companies to look outside of the traditional ‘accountant’ background for these roles. Does this person need to be a qualified accountant or someone who is a strong analyst, excellent communicator and influencer?
2.Data and Systems
If you are an accountant and think that you might want to work with a business to help them make decisions, then I would strongly suggest you get some knowledge, experience and, understanding of how a business uses it’s large amount of data and the systems used to make sense of it. There are a range of systems out there so it’s unlikely you’ll know them all, however, using and understanding one should give you the principles to learn another, if needed.
We are seeing a trend for most finance teams to either have a specialist data team or person, depending on the size of your business, sat within finance. These are the data experts who are now sat in finance. Go talk to them, understand what they do and how they do it as you will definitely need this skill and experience not just this year but for your whole career.
During 2018 we saw a lot of activity within Financial Control with changes in the accounting standards for AASB 9, 15, 16. This has driven demand for this skill set and we see this set to continue in 2019 as companies either increase their team or take on contract resources to handle these changes. In addition we’ve seen steady demand at entry level for financial control as a large amount of smaller businesses launch over the last couple of years within financial services where they require financial control as their business builds.
I’m not sure this needs explaining after the GFC and more recently the Royal Commission. Regulatory Reporting has steadily grown in importance over the past 5+ years. Whilst it has always been an important function for any financial services company it was a little bit like the old world of IT, if it didn’t have any issues and no complaints then people were happy.
Now however regulatory reporting is pivotal in decisions made within most large financial services companies. Post GFC and our current environment having gone through the Royal Commission where executives can genuinely face jail time for what they sign off on there have been large scale projects to update reporting systems and processes, and hiring to improve size and capability of teams, in short large amounts of funds have been made available for this area of the company to improve, and with that the importance of the function has increased.