Survey indicates many acccountants are feeling disaffected, says regional head of BDO

The regional head of a business advisory firm is worried that many accountants may be feeling disaffected with their profession, after a survey revealed that most UK accountants plan to leave their job.
Terry Jones of BDO LLP in YorkshireTerry Jones of BDO LLP in Yorkshire
Terry Jones of BDO LLP in Yorkshire

By contrast, just 35 per cent of accountants based in Ireland plan to switch their jobs over the same period.

Terry Jones, the head of accountancy and business advisory firm BDO in Yorkshire, said the findings were a shock, adding: “It’s a great shame to see talented people opt to leave the profession, and the figures certainly indicate some disaffection.”

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The survey, which is based on responses from almost 8,000 CIMA members and student members, also found that almost half (48 per cent) of accounting students are planning to move into a new role in the next two years.

Many of the accountants who were questioned as part of the survey said they planned to change jobs because they wanted more money or promotion.

Around seven per cent of UK respondents who plan to change jobs have their sights set overseas, with Australia, New Zealand and Canada being listed among the most popular destinations.

Mr Jones said steps should be taken to ensure accountancy is viewed as a desirable profession. Individuals should continue to be challenged throughout their career, he added.

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He added: “In some circles, accountancy is seen as stuffy and outdated but, in our world, we get to work in partnership with ambitious and entrepreneurial businesses and influence their path to growth.

“The breadth of opportunities for personal growth are almost unrivalled by any other profession.

“Accountancy has made some real strides in appreciating the importance of finding and nurturing talent, and understanding that culture is just as important as the more traditional motivators. We are focusing on bringing talent into the profession from diverse backgrounds that better reflect the reality of the business world.

“As a sector, we are learning to fish in a wider talent pool than ever before; a pool that doesn’t necessarily revolve around graduates.”

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Mr Jones said that initiatives such as BDO’s school leavers programme have proved successful, because they gave young people the chance to complete their qualifications “on the job”.

He added: “We’ve seen hugely driven, intelligent individuals come through our doors, and they are the leaders of the future.”

Adrian O’ Connor, the founding partner at the Global Accounting Network, said: “It is no surprise that the majority of accounting professionals have aspirations to accelerate their careers in the coming months.

“Demand for top accounting talent is positively booming and ambitious professionals are taking advantage of this landscape to reach for more rewarding opportunities with greater long-term prospects.

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“While this mobility is great news for organisations looking to further invest in their existing internal finance departments, it also serves as a warning to employers who wish to retain existing skills and expertise.”