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Accountancy Roles No Longer the Preserve of Accountants

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According to recent analysis from 2015, there is a shortage of accountancy skills counterbalanced by an increase in demand for qualified accountants. With 97% of agencies experiencing difficulties in appointing accountants, recruitment staff are implementing changes to the attributes needed by job applicants. They are now placing a greater emphasis on evaluating ‘commercial acumen’ in candidates without a traditional background in accountancy.

Alternative Accountancy Skills

Approximately 26% of executives are already beginning to appoint new staff to accountancy roles who have some experience in financial services, but who are not trained accountants. Having an aptitude for creative commercial acumen is enough to please at least 48% of executives. They view the opportunity to assist with business expansion as a preferable quality over a strict emphasis on arithmetic skills. A further 17% considered an intense knowledge of a company’s products was valuable, while 9% thought a level of competency and general financial experience could compensate for a lack of accountancy qualifications.

A Successful Strategy

Businesses who have not yet been bold enough to fill accountancy roles with non-traditional staff will be eager to learn the opinions of those who have. 79% of businesses claim a relatively high degree of success in recruiting staff without accountancy qualifications. Only 1% thought the move had been disastrous. However, much depends on a company’s willingness to adopt a new, flexible approach towards what is believed to be an accountant’s role. Some professionals such as contract managers, have successfully integrated into financial departments. Their success has encouraged executives to appoint professionals with financial expertise in areas such as telecommunications, technology and data analytics as an alternative to accountancy skills, proving that commercial acumen is quickly becoming a valuable attribute.

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