Over the past year, companies of all shapes and sizes within every industry have had to change and adapt their processes, policies and offerings in order to survive the pandemic. While it’s been a time of rapid change and high stress for many business owners, it has also been a time of opportunity. Businesses have had the chance to grow and learn, to takeaway in-depth learnings around successfully managing within a crisis, as well as steps to create and implement positive and meaningful change in this era of ‘the new normal’.
Financial Services (FS) is no different. We are moving into a much more virtual, lucrative, empathetic and ethical world. Here are some of the key positive trends we are expecting to see from the Financial Services world this year, and hopefully beyond, for candidates and employees alike.
Accountants and Financial Services specialists are in demand
As the nation has stabilised after the initial shock of the pandemic, Accountancy and FS are two areas which have remained steady and this year, we are expecting to see the need for more qualified experts to skyrocket. From changes in legislation such as IR35 reforms and the upcoming ‘making tax digital’ reform we are due to see in 2023, companies are looking to Accountants for expert advice.
Additionally, the shockwaves created by coronavirus across the business sphere called for business leaders to become a lot more financially savvy, keeping their books in order and making the most out of their money while we were on extremely volatile ground. Accountancy has never been in such high demand and we expect this to continue long into the future.
A stronger focus on doing good
Many companies have become attuned to the fact that stakeholders are keen to engage with brands and businesses with meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on their agenda. In recent research reports, 7 in 10 consumers have said they would disengage with a company or brand if they were found to be undertaking environmental wrongdoing, and 50 per cent of millennials have said they would take a pay cut to work with a company that matches their values.
From banks such as HSBC creating innovative products to improve the lives of the homeless, to RBS Bank’s Go Green Hub which sees the company provide £20bn of funding to climate and sustainable finance in the next two years, candidates in the FS sphere are much more likely to now be engaging with companies who want to put doing good on par, or even above, profitability.
The pandemic has created more desirable benefits
According to the CPA Practice Advisor, leaders have now implemented much stronger and purposeful policies and procedures in place as a direct result of the pandemic which, in turn, will positively affect the satisfaction and wellbeing of employees. For example, 41 per cent of senior leaders state that communication processes are much more efficient now compared to pre-pandemic, and 37 per cent believe collaboration has improved.
The options around remote working have also changed dramatically over the past year, with three in four within the finance sphere stating they would prefer to work from home post-pandemic. Pre-pandemic, the industry was slow at picking up and implementing change in this specific area of demand from employees however, the expectation is that this will not be the case for much longer as more candidates begin to opt out of working for companies who don’t allow for any flexibility.
Advanced technology will create a host of new jobs
It has been the worry that as the industry adopts more innovative and state-of-the-art technology, such as AI and Machine Learning, that this would mean the rapid decline of the number of jobs available however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The implementation of such automation will mean a host of brand-new areas of niche skill sets will be required as the industry moves forward. From Data Scientists to Technological Engineers, Technology Transformation Officers and Trust Officers – the list is endless. Automation has, and will continue to, create a wealth of exciting new opportunities for the sector, and this is an incredibly exciting time for candidates and employees within the industry.
If you would like to learn about the Accountancy and Financial Services roles we currently have on offer, head over to the relevant careers pages to find out more.