The Chartered Accountancy profession is both locally and internationally well recognised as providing attractive career opportunities in various industries, highlighting the flexibility of the Chartered Accountancy, CA (SA) qualification.
In a recent conversation I had with one of our specialist financial recruitment consultants, he mentioned that they are seeing an increase in newly qualified CA’s in Cape Town, however there seems to be a shortage of jobs available for them. The reality is, newly qualified CA’s are still seen in commerce based markets as fairly inexperienced. In fact, several companies compare them to an expensive graduate in accounting, based on the articles SAICA and SAIPA being recognised as training contracts with accounting or audit firms.
And as for the newly qualified individuals, there are two waves of CA’s. The ones who starts looking early for a job, about four months before the end of their articles and the second wave is the one who starts looking after he returns from an international secondment (if the opportunity is afforded to him).
However, circumstances have changed. The current job market for newly-qualified accountants is extremely competitive and companies are very specific about who they recruit and what type of person they are looking for.
Changes in the profession
As the global economic recovery strengthens, employers are looking for finance professionals with a wide range of skills, experience and personality traits.
Like every other job in today’s time, the accountant’s profession has changed. You are no longer expected to only have a technical role. Soft skills play a bigger part in your occupation, you need to be able to solve problems, be an innovator and a proficient communicator.
CA’s (SA) also needs to be able to adapt to any environment, able to self-manage and take initiative. These are attributes that must be developed during the education phase in order to ensure that you retain the reputation of the qualification.
Changes in the labour market
The shortage of employment opportunities arise from pressure on a company’s bottom line and changes in the labour market and the South African economic conditions. Taken into account the high cost-to-company associated with employing a newly qualified CA (SA), many companies are reconsidering creating or making positions available, which decreases the supply for qualified CA job positions.
Many companies are also rather choosing to hire accountants who have completed articles but without the CA (SA) title as a cheaper option to gain an experienced staff member, without the cost of the qualification.
Internationally the financial cycle has also made its mark on South Africa. It has become harder to obtain visa’s which allow employment. Fewer audit trainees are being sent on secondments overseas. Highly skilled CA(SA)’s that previously formed a large part of the employee basis in the financial sector overseas, especially in the UK and USA, have returned to South Africa.
The employer holds the key to success
In an ever changing workplace, employers seek employees who are interested in keeping up with new developments and knowledge in the field. It has been noted that one of the top reasons employees leave their employers is the lack of opportunity for career development within the organization.
We keep on hearing and reading about the constant skills shortage in our country. But keeping up with current changes in the accounting field is vital for your success and increased job security.
The most recent professional evaluation exam held by the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) provides a picture of the positive impact several industry bodies are making towards the growth and transformation of the accountancy industry.
Why networking is vital for accountants today
The accounting professionals need to demonstrate that they bring more to the organisation than just their qualifications and technical skills. Looking into the future it will be just as much about being an expert in an individual field, as about building trusting relationships with experts in a wide range of services.
The accountancy role is now expected to have a hands-on attitude within the company, partnering with potential clients to develop best practice and improve its bottom line.
Networking is a really good way for professionals to stay in touch with changing industry standards and trends.
We all have aspirations and dreams of what we want to do and who we want to be, so stay focused and be prepared to put in the leg work to get there. Although the industry is changing and in some ways becoming more challenging, if you have the right technical and soft skills you will find numerous job opportunities to advance your career.
Communicate Personnel is a reputable recruitment agency with specialist consultants who can help you with your job search.