Future-Proof Your Real Estate Finance Career
Finance jobs or accountancy jobs in real estate offer a variety of challenges and opportunities, providing finance professionals more room to manoeuvre in a market in which there is greater competition for accountancy skills and fewer candidates to compete against. Therefore, 2019 could be a good year for accountancy staff at all levels to make their next move within or into the real estate sector.
Here, I look at what are likely to be the major trends that shape the market in accountancy jobs in 2019, and how you can decide if an opportunity will deliver on its promise.
Key Employment Trends In Today’s Market
Even though we are only a couple of months into 2019, already it appears likely that the business world will continue to travel a path wracked by political and economic uncertainty. Add rapid change due to AI and digitisation into the mixture, and you may be wondering if it is time to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm.
However, for finance and accountant professionals, 2019 is likely to be an exciting year. If you are prepared for new workplace methods and the uncertainties that persist, the current employment environment could be the catalyst that fuels your career. Here are a few key trends that we believe will shape the employment market in the coming months.
Let’s get the ‘B’ word out of the way quickly. At the time of writing this article, it is still unclear whether Brexit will happen, or, if it does, when it will happen. We assume March 29th, but the whole process is still up in the air and being managed like a juggler tossing his skittles.
Leading into ‘B-Day’ and as we move beyond it, Brexit will be a big factor in decision making. This will affect the employment market, but anecdotal evidence suggests that professionals have no need to panic. Especially in the accountancy and finance professions, there is a skills shortage which should serve to keep the market robust at worst and buoyant at best. Finance professionals will be in demand from organisations that need guidance through uncertain times.
AI And Digitisation
Like other technological advances that society has undergone, AI and digitisation brings nervousness about what it means for people’s jobs. However, as examined in this article discussing the challenges facing real estate sales managers in 2019, advances in technology have always led to an increase in jobs.
Finance professionals who embrace new technologies are likely to be in demand from companies requiring support through implementation of new systems and introduction of new software. Outsourcing is also likely to be a theme that will require in-house expertise to control, manage and monitor.
A huge amount of data is used to make sense in our uncertain world. Accountants and other finance professionals have a key part to play in this process.
Businesses Are Risk Averse
In an uncertain economy, risk aversion will continue. The real estate market will witness this from all directions, as funding of projects becomes more difficult, and buying and investment decisions are delayed. As we progress through the year and the economic outlook becomes clearer, we suspect that capital will become less scarce and investment growth will increase.
Finance and accountancy professionals will be key in the ability of the real estate market to navigate these changing circumstances. Increasingly, it is likely that accountants will need to possess the skills to provide insight and analysis that inform operational decisions.
Increasing Demand For Multi-Skilled Professionals
Accountants who possess a range of skills and communication abilities are in short supply and sought after by businesses recruiting for talent. The gap between finance and operations is closing as functionalities work more closely together.
Of course, there are functions that are specific to accountancy and finance, but these are the roles most likely to be automated through digitisation. The ability to analyse complicated finances and explain the complexities to other areas of operations is a skill set that is in demand. The ability to explain and interpret numbers, and to determine potential outcomes, are skills that will help accountancy professionals to future-proof their careers.
Temporary Placements Fill Skills Gaps
Fuelled by the current uncertainty and skills shortages, organisations operating in all sectors of real estate are likely to look to temporary staff to fill positions that require specific skills. These may be via fixed-term contracts or on a project-by-project basis. Therefore, there is likely to be an increase in demand for interim staff and a likelihood that more finance professionals will become their own boss.
Skills shortages drive opportunities in accountancy jobs in real estate
According to the latest report published by IHS Markit, at the end of 2018 the UK market suffered its slowest rate of permanent staff appointments for 20 months. However, this wasn’t due to fewer available vacancies. Indeed, demand for staff grew at its strongest pace for 21 years.
The imbalance of demand for and supply of skilled staff has led to further increases in pay for both permanent and temporary employees – as the recently released wage data shows (wages increased by 3.4% annually in November 2018).
The report found that the most in-demand sector for permanent jobs was finance and accountancy. For those who are considering changing jobs in 2019, there are some fantastic opportunities. It will be critical for companies to fill roles with talented employees. Those employees who demonstrate their ability with multiple skills will be the ones most in demand and with the widest choice of the best employers.
What are the skills most in demand in 2019?
The need for professional qualifications is a prerequisite. This shows that you have the capacity, capability and understanding of complex financial issues and accounting theory. The fact that you have attained qualifications shows that you have the strength of character and commitment to see a challenging task through to completion.
However, companies are also looking for soft skills. In a world in which uncertainty is at its highest level for decades and technology advances are leading to a new age of operational advancement, CEOs and CFOs are placing greater value on candidates who can provide evidence of transferrable skills across emotional awareness, communication ability, and situational awareness and evaluation.
Two key skills to perfect in 2019
There are two key skills that accountancy and finance professionals should consider developing as they seek to advance their career in 2019:
- Communication skills
With the increasing requirement to provide insight and explain complexities to non-finance employees, the ability to communicated effectively through a variety of media is increasingly seen as a key skill.
- Technology skills
As companies increase outsourcing, contracting, and filling skills gaps with temporary staff, finance professionals should consider ways in which they can improve their technological skills. The ability to assist with implementation of new systems and software and relate these to operational functionalities will become increasingly sought.
How Remuneration Is Evolving
With high demand for professionals and a shortage of skilled accountants and finance professionals in the market, salaries are likely to continue to rise this year.
There may also be a move toward a better work/life balance. Workloads will continue to be skewed toward end-of-month and end-of-year business needs, but it is likely that employers will seek to provide a better balance otherwise.
The remuneration packages individuals can achieve will reflect more fully not simply your technical ability, but also your secondary soft skills. Such skills benefit the business across functions and through transformation of the political and economic landscape and the changing face of work.
Looking Beyond Remuneration
As the market is changing, it isn’t only the salary that should concern candidates when considering a new opportunity. As business transformation takes hold, you should consider what training and personal development opportunities will be available to you with a prospective new employer. Acquiring new skills will be crucial to future-proofing your career as we experience increasing disruption by AI and digitisation.
There is empirical evidence that organisations are placing greater emphasis on training, and that development programmes are being self-managed by employees (in conjunction with their manager) to empower employees to direct their career in their desired direction.
In addition to remuneration and development, you should also consider other elements of the benefits package that are important to you. For example:
- Are flexible working hours a desirable feature, allowing you to balance work and life more effectively?
- Would home working initiatives enable you to be more productive?
- How much interaction do you want with your boss and the team in which you are working?
- Are there opportunities for promotion?
In the current market, there are exciting opportunities for accountancy professionals with specific and desired skillsets to ask for more customisation of their remuneration package. Before doing so, you should consider what is most important to you and prioritise your wishes. Increasingly, salary is not the only factor of remuneration that is negotiable.
Accountancy Jobs In Real Estate Summary
As we move through 2019, it must be hoped that greater clarity will enter the economy. We have some hurdles to tackle – Brexit, international trade tensions, EU elections, etc. – but as these arrive, pass and fade, we expect the employment market to pick up further.
Currently we are witnessing many exciting opportunities from our clients. Demand for skilled people in accountancy and finance is strong, but short-term anxieties are disrupting the flow of candidates looking to make a move. For those who are, the possibility to secure a satisfying position that offers you the opportunity to use your current skill set to its fullest and benefit from the development that will future-proof your career, along with a bespoke remuneration package, may never be better.
For a confidential conversation to explore the current market and discuss your next career move, contact Macdonald & Company
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and search for your next finance and accountancy role now.