Accountancy recruitment bucks the trend!
A recent article in Accountancy Age echoed what we at Accountancy Learning are also experiencing.
The article, “Accountancy industry in hiring spree amid downturn” gave examples of how regional and national accountancy firms are taking on staff at all levels to cope with client demands. It has been a similar scenario at Accountancy Learning. Over the summer months we have placed more apprentices than during the same period in 2019.
In addition to placing students with our long-standing clients, we have also started working with new clients which include smaller practices and industry clients. Despite the uncertainties that COVID-19 and now Brexit are causing this year, many practices realise they need to recruit in order to meet current client needs. And demand for more accountancy services are likely to increase further following the outcome of Brexit negotiations and the extension to the Making Tax Digital scheme in 2022.
The game changer
COVID-19 has created more work for accountancy firms in terms of helping clients access business support schemes. However, this increase in demand has coincided with the Chancellor’s announcements to help employers recruit and train staff. These incentives include:
- Wage subsidies – the Chancellor has created a new wage subsidy for apprentices recruited between 1st August 2020 and 1st February 2021. This new subsidy gives employers £2,000 for each apprentice they employ between the ages of 16-24 and £1,500 for any recruited apprentices who are aged 25 or over. These subsidies are on top of the existing incentives which give employers £1,000 for apprentices aged between 16-18 years.
- 95% of training costs recoverable – any business taking on an apprentice, of any age, can claim back the majority of their training costs.
- Free apprenticeship training – businesses who employ fewer than 50 staff can claim free training for apprentices aged between 16-18 years.
A combination of increasing demands from clients together with access to unprecedented levels of funding has driven the rise in apprenticeship recruitment.
Helping firms to grow
In terms of accountancy recruitment, we are helping firms to buck the trend and maximise their growth opportunities through our innovative ‘Talent Programme’. In doing so we are:
- Helping them to decide what level of apprentice they need to best support partners and managers within the practice.
- Working closely with firms to understand their working regime, their client types and the personalities within the firm. Once we have a better understanding of these factors, we can take a more targeted approach in finding candidates who are likely to be most suitable.
- Placing targeted adverts on our website, Facebook and on the Government’s ‘Recruit an Apprentice’ website to attract candidates.
- Putting together a detailed job description and person specification, so that both the firm and the candidates are clear as to what is required.
- Carrying out a fact-find of every student to get to know more about them on a personal level as well as academically and to link these skills and attributes with firms where we feel there would be a good cultural fit.
- Screening applicants, based on the agreed job specification, and only forwarding suitable candidates to the firm.
- Getting the shortlisted candidates to complete our Bookkeeping Aptitude Test. We can monitor their progress through the course, mark their test papers and report back to the firm. Alternatively, we can provide the firm with their log-in details so they can monitor their own candidates and score their tests. We set a pass rate of 90% and would only recommend firms interviewing students who achieved this rate or higher.
- Organising face-to-face or online interviews between the firms and candidates and arranging second interviews where appropriate.
- Assisting the firm with offering the roles to suitable candidates, if required, and making plans for the appropriate level of training support which will be required.
An important point to note is that we can do all the above activities, free of charge*, or only carry out one or two aspects, depending on the firm’s in-house capacity for recruiting and selecting apprentices.
Creating the right role, attracting the right candidates
With accountancy recruitment, much of what we do is about matching the right firms with the right candidates. In order to do this we work closely with the firm at the start of the process and where required we can provide guidance on a range of matters such as:
- Current salary rates for the different accounting apprenticeship levels.
- The different levels of apprenticeship and which level would meet the firms current and future work demands.
- How to access the new government wage subsidies and training support packages.
- How to set up the appropriate training and support programme for each apprentice, including the use of online and face-to-face tutor support.
There has never been a better time to recruit an accounting apprentice. With our knowledge and expertise in this area, we are continuing to help firms maximise this opportunity. However, if firms want to access the current government initiatives, they must act quickly. Typically, the recruitment and selection process can take a few weeks before a successful candidate is hired.
If you would like to discuss the possibility of taking on an accounting apprentice (before the cut-off date of 31 January 2021 for wage subsidy funding), call us now for a free no-obligation chat. Paul Hollis, our Business Development Manager would be happy to discuss the different apprenticeship schemes and funding options. Paul can be contacted on 01392 311925 or email [email protected].
*We are not an accountancy recruitment agency and do not charge fees or commission for finding and placing students. However, this is on the basis that we would like the firm to place their student with us for their accounting apprenticeship training. Should a firm only wish to use our accountancy recruitment service and not our training courses, we reserve the right to charge a one-off fee of £500+VAT.