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Despite fears of a double-dip recession and the crisis in the Euro zone, the job market for accountants appears buoyant as employers start to hire again in 2012, according to a new global survey of senior accountants by specialist publication International Accounting Bulletin (IAB), more than half of the 156 firms surveyed (58%) expect to hire more full-time accountants in 2012.
47% said they plan to increase recruitment by up to 10%. 6% plan to increase recruitment by between 10% and 15%, whilst 5% expect to increase recruitment by more than 15%.
More than two thirds of new hires in 2012 will be graduates and newly qualified accountants, followed by mid-level accountants (27%) and senior management, financial controller, audit manager or finance director (5%). By job type, the majority of recruitment (60%) will be in audit and services, followed by core accounting functions such as bookkeeping and transaction processing (18%) and taxation (17%).
Arvind Hickman, Editor of IAB, commented "the survey results indicate an industry that is cautiously optimistic after a quiet few years following the financial crisis of 2008. Some of the biggest accounting firms are now reporting a surge in hiring, particularly in advisory services and in fast-growing economies such as Russia, India and China."
When accounting firms were asked if there is a specific accounting skill that is most in demand, the most common answers were knowledge of international financial reporting standards (IFRS), language skills and tax. Other sought-after skills include IT and soft skills such as being a good communicator and being able to work in teams.
Job prospects for management accountants are also improving with core accounting skills such as audit and assurance still in demand. The survey also showed, however, that accountants are increasingly becoming management consultants to their clients, advising them on areas including how to boost profits, cut costs and how to mitigate business risks.