28 Oct / 2017
Financial Staffing Solutions are looking to grow their successful team of financial recruiters. Our state of the art office is located right by the Central Line.
A good deal of our clients are in based in and around London and Essex so we enjoy the dynamism of the capital, without the stress of the regular rush hour commute. Doesn’t that sound great?
So if you’re an experienced recruiter, ready to take a step up, earn a city salary locally and bring a new level of excellence to the business, contact us today.
We have a strong client base, excellent IT infrastructure and support together with opportunity to start making placements immediately.
- An excellent package, with a competitive starting salary and benefits
- Uncapped commission
- Ongoing training and career development
- The opportunity to run your own team
To find out more about more about Financial Staffing Solutions and how you can make a positive career move, contact Paul Gladstone or email your cv to firstname.lastname@example.org
27 Oct / 2017
HMRC’s move to digital accounting is without doubt the biggest shake-up to the tax industry in a generation – yet many bookkeepers and most people who file tax returns remain unaware of the changes and what their implications are.
So how will making tax digital affect bookkeepers – and what do you need to tell your clients?
‘Making tax digital is effectively HMRC ensuring that tax accounting finally moves into the 21st century,’ says Brian Palmer, Tax Policy Adviser at AAT. ‘The clearest comparison is with online banking; it’s moving tax into an environment where you can see tax information in real time.’
The most significant element of the changes will be the introduction of quarterly reporting. ‘There are two aspects,’ says Palmer; making tax digital for individuals (MTDi) and making tax digital for businesses (MTDfB). ‘Essentially, the idea is for HMRC to be able to collate information from third parties electronically without, in the long run, taxpayers needing to do a tax return.’ HMRC’s aim is that by 2020 ‘people with straightforward incomes will only need to log onto their personal tax account and verify that HMRC have got the information they need.’
That goal is still some time away, but for most businesses, the move to quarterly reporting is just around the corner – the rollout begins next April. Despite this timescale, there is still confusion about how extensive the changes will be. ‘Originally HMRC wanted everybody to capture and store all purchase and expense invoices digitally; but they have stepped back from that requirement and now are just asking for transactions to be recorded using the MTD-compliant software,’ Palmer explains. ‘If clients wish they will still be able to handle, issue and store paper documents. HMRC just requires that they do their bookkeeping electronically.’
The second question mark was over whether spreadsheets would still be allowed; ‘in fact they will still be acceptable, and as bookkeeper you will just need to link your spreadsheet data with HMRC’s systems using an MTD-compliant interface.’
Why are HMRC making these changes? The impetus is largely to do with wanting to address the tax gap (the amount of tax HMRC estimates goes uncollected), which is believed to be costing an astonishing £36bn a year. ‘£9.1bn of that is estimated to be due to error,’ Palmer says. Not fraud, he is at pains to point out; ‘simply mistakes by small businesses in their record keeping.’ HMRC believe that moving to quarterly reporting will ensure the data capture has more integrity, and this is hoped to reduce the tax gap by almost £1bn a year over time.
The bookkeeper’s view
For Jo McAllister, a bookkeeper with a range of self-employed clients and small businesses, there is a need for clarity from HMRC about what’s expected – and reassurance that micro-businesses and sole traders won’t be handed additional burdens in order to be compliant. ‘None of my clients do their records electronically; they use paperwork, I do the spreadsheets and we file once a year towards the deadline. I think there will be considerable anxiety around having to file quarterly,’ McAllister says. ‘We need to know if this will affect everyone, because for sole traders – hairdressers, cleaners, child minders – this will be quite a challenge.’ For McAllister, ‘there needs to be specific communication from HMRC, with plenty of warning. If it’s arriving next April, it’s hard for bookkeepers to instil confidence in their clients if they don’t know exactly what is required.’
The changes may present opportunities for bookkeepers, because small businesses who currently file their own accounts might decide that quarterly is too complex and instead will turn to a bookkeeper. But McAllister does not believe the move away from the January spike will especially help spread her work over the year. ‘Currently I’m very busy in December, January and February because people don’t have their records ready. To be doing that four times a year – that means more pressure because there are more deadlines. You have four crisis moments instead of one!’
There’s one final sting in the tail – quarterly reporting will actually mean five filings a year, not four. ‘To ease the need to have records kept up to date, quarterly returns will not have to be 100% accurate,’ Brian Palmer says. ‘Prepayments and accruals for example may not make their way into the data in time – so to take that into account there will be a fifth and final return 10 months after the end of the accounting period, to balance the books.’
Ultimately, will going digital make life harder for bookkeepers, or easier? ‘It will make it different,’ Jo McAllister says. ‘Again, we need clarity from HMRC about what kind of filing system they want us to use. Will I have to buy new software? In which case I’ll have to pass that cost on. If I do need new software, I need to be buying it sooner rather than later so I am familiar with it. But, I don’t want to commit to that if I don’t need to. Bookkeepers need to know for sure – and they need to know soon.’
Factfile: When will the changes come in?
- For self-employed, partnerships and unincorporated landlords with turnover above £85k: start on-boarding April 2018.
- For self-employed, partnerships and unincorporated landlords with turnover above £10k and lower than £85k: start on-boarding April 2019.
- Companies and complex partnerships (i.e. turnover above £10 million): start on-boarding April 2020.
- Those with turnovers below £10k will not be required to file quarterly tax returns until their year-to-date-turnover exceeds £10k.
- Clarification for VAT-registered businesses: it’s entirely possible that from April 2019 a VAT-registered business will be required to file MTD-compliant VAT returns, but not file quarterly their income and expenditure reports, as VAT reporting and tax reporting are separate.
Note 1: ‘On-boarding’ means ‘begin filing quarterly returns using MTD software. Your first quarterly filing may be later than these dates depending on your financial year end.
Note 2: The above is designed to be information that bookkeepers need to know, and pass on to their clients, and is accurate at the time of writing. More information from HMRC is likely to be forthcoming over the next few months.
Mark Blayney Stuart is Business Journalist of the Year, Wales Media Awards 2017 and Former Head of Research at the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Networking plays an important role in building a personal brand, though it’s not something that comes naturally to us all. Here are our three top rated posts, crammed full of lots of useful nuggets and insights for making the most of your networking opportunities and building your professional brand.
Our first pick offers some valuable advice to help finance professionals leverage their time at industry events. Whether you’re attending new or the same events year on year, it’s important that you treat each one as a new opportunity to grow your network and build your reputation. Here are some useful pointers for you to consider when attending your next event:
By Andrew Harbison, CA Today Contacts book: Although you will have a digital version of this in your phone, a physical book won’t run out of memory or power. Business cards: Make sure they look as professional as you do. Take as much care choosing the design as you would picking out your outfit for the event.
Are you using social media to showcase your expertise and build your personal brand? If you’re new to social media this post shares some great insights on how to get started:
Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are not just great drivers of news, engines of change and creativity, and sharers of pictures of dogs that look like Samuel L. Jackson (Google it, you won’t be disappointed); they can also be powerful tools for modern accountants to leverage themselves within the wider industry and society at large.
Our third and final post looks at some of the common mistakes people make with their LinkedIn profile and offers some practical tips on how to use it to its full potential:
Did you know that 89% of recruiters report having hired someone through LinkedIn? Or that over ten million people found their current job through LinkedIn? Related: 4 Rookie Mistakes You Need To Avoid On LinkedIn If you’ve been satisfied with a “placeholder” LinkedIn profile up to this point, or feel like landing a job through the site isn’t a viable option, STOP.
If you’re looking for your next career move in Finance or Accountancy, get in touch with us today!
05 Jul / 2016
The most daunting part of the interview process is being quizzed about your employment history, your credentials and why you’re a good fit for the role and company you’ve applied to. The type of questions you’re likely to be asked are not necessarily the things you think about every day, so you need to dedicate some time to reflect on your professional experiences, personal attributes and the reasons that make you the strongest candidate! Organising your thoughts and preparing examples of where you’ve truly excelled will help boost your confidence so that you leave your interviewer with a lasting impression.
To help you avoid those awkward silences and woolly answers, we’ve compiled our top 4 picks that address some of the challenges jobseekers face when answering (or asking!) questions in an interview. Our first pick offers some advice for helping you break the mould and ask questions early on in the interview:
Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/flickr The job interview is a two-way street. You should be assessing the employer just as much as they’re assessing you because you both need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit … and that should start from the moment you take the hot seat.
Have you really thought about why the company should hire you? Is your answer strong enough to help you stand out from the other candidates? In our second pick Liz Ryan shares her advice on how to answer this common question:
Shake up your answer to the tired interview question, “With all the talented candidates, why should we hire you?”
Most interviews will include some of these common questions, so preparing a top-notch answer is key to helping you differentiate yourself and stand out from the other applicants:
Welcome back to Resume Tip Tuesday! Come to CareerBliss every Tuesday for a brand new resume tip to help you in your job search. Check out the archive for resume tips galore! How to Ace Common Interview Questions There are few things which cause such conflicting emotions as finally landing a job interview.
Last but not least, this article is packed full of useful advice to help you prepare for some of the more challenging questions you might face:
A job interview is always a daunting prospect, and in today’s economic downturn, companies are being more selective about who they hire. One of the ways they can filter out the unwanted applicants is to ask difficult questions. Very often how these questions are answered makes the difference between success and failure.
We hope you find these tips useful for planning for your next interview. If you’re looking for a Finance or Accounting role in London feel free to get in touch, we’d love to help!
20 Jun / 2016
In the 1st post of this 2-part series we examined how the role of the CFO has changed in recent years to become more digital. We also explored some of the barriers that CFOs face in driving digital transformation, whilst highlighting the many benefits of embracing digital. By doing so we touched on the ‘digital ready’ skills and qualities needed by modern CFOs.
In today’s post we want to drill down further into the skills needed to become a digital CFO. Digital isn’t the preserve of the future, it’s the past and the present. Those that are slow to adopt put their companies at risk. End to end digital enterprises are more agile, less wasteful, more innovative, and less prone to disruption. Without the tools necessary to conduct business in a digitised world, it is near impossible to compete. To ignore digitisation is to accept a decline into obscurity. Are you ready for the digital era?
What are the necessary skills for becoming a digital CFO?
With the rapid change of the role of the CFO comes a subtle development of the skills that a CFO will need to be successful. It’s important to note that these skills are not a far cry from the traditional skills of a CFO. In our view they are a natural progression, and for the majority of forward thinking CFOs, this progression shouldn’t cause too much difficulty.
Have you got all of the skills listed below?
One of the key changes is that CFOs in the digital age will need to be great at analytics. CFOs have traditionally been good at numbers, but those numbers have always been transactional. CFOs of the future will need the analytical skills to be able to look at the bigger picture. Transactional numbers will be one part of the equation. The larger part of that picture will be made up of data from a variety of points, both inside and outside the enterprise. CFOs will need the vision to ask the right questions, and will be instrumental in assessing a business’ needs and establishing the data points that can solve problems as they arise.
In a recent interview with Business Insider, Ash Noah made a very salient point in regards to risk. “In the 1950s, most companies featured on the S&P 500 would remain there for 60 years. Clayton Christensen of Harvard University says today’s average S&P 500 company will drop off the list in 18 years. Based on those numbers, 75% of the current S&P 500 will not be featured in 2027.” Such stark numbers highlight the important role that CFOs have to play in safeguarding the future of their company.
The precarious nature of business in the modern age demands highly skilled risk management processes. As tax, legal, and regulatory landscapes develop with the digital world, CFOs will need to monitor any changes and react accordingly. It is only by working closely with the CEO, that CFOs will be able to build a resilient business model that has the agility to move with the times.
Adaptability to new technology
CFOs will need to constantly assess their company’s business model with the view of adapting it. Innovation is key to remaining relevant, and new technology will be the vehicle that drives change and facilitates success. CFOs will need to align with the CIO, and work together closely to meet their shared needs. Financing digital transformation will be a primary concern and departments will need to work together to get the entire company on-board.
By adopting new technology, CFOs will be privy to new performance metrics. On the one hand these metrics will help to shape the success of the company by solving problems and driving change. On the other hand, new performance metrics will improve the bread and butter role of CFOs by helping them to quantify the value of intangible assets, such as intellectual property, customer data, and brand reputation. CFOs will need the vision to use new technology, performance metrics, and data points to guide companies through the choppy waters ahead, not only in managing risk, but in identifying and grasping new opportunities for growth and improved efficiencies.
Talent acquisition and retention
A relatively new skill for CFOs will be the strategic management of talent acquisition. Whilst the nuts and bolts of acquisition and retention will remain with HR, CFOs will need the strategic vision to analyse the company’s present and future skill needs. For some CFOs, talent acquisition will involve acquiring digital start-ups or high-tech companies to quickly fill the gaps in an organisation’s capabilities. Alongside the HR director, the CFO will need to develop structured competency frameworks that meet the skill gaps that they encounter. Digital transformation will undoubtedly breed new types of staff, skills and job titles and CFOs will need the people management skills to infuse a digital mindset across their finance teams and company as a whole.
As we move forward, it’s clear that this is a brave new world for CFOs. The challenges they face are only equalled by the opportunities, and whether you’re an aspiring CFO or an experienced veteran, this is surely an exciting time.
If you’re not seeing these opportunities in your current role, get in touch with our specialist recruitment team today.
09 Jun / 2016
There is a revolution happening right now. From multi-nationals to SMEs and everything in between, a new digital economy is taking hold and it demands your attention. Digital technology is running rampant through the business world, ending dynasties, breaking down sector boundaries, and forcing traditional businesses to diversify or fail.
Nearly overnight, ‘digital first’ start-ups can be transformed into market leaders. The speed of change that’s occurring is unheard of. In remedy, CFOs must strive to pre-empt what lies ahead, or at worst, react to market changes. CFOs must be unafraid to upend their own organisation’s operating models, and be willing to invest in the emerging technology required to build an end-to-end digital enterprise.
To highlight the risk that companies are facing by being slow to act, here are some stark numbers. McKinsey and Company recently calculated the impact of digitisation on competitiveness. They said that “industry leaders that had embraced digitisation across the entire enterprise have increased revenues; stock prices 20-30% higher than digital laggards; [and] not to mention the potential 50% bottom-line impact.”
Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of evidence for the need for digitisation, yet according to an EY study, only 50% of CFOs surveyed consider it a high or very high priority in the next three years, and only 49% responded that they will make a high or very high contribution to the shift to digital. If CFOs want to continue to act as a strategic business partner as they have in recent years, they’ll need to take a strong lead in the race for digitisation, equipping businesses with the range of digital tools and technology needed to forge ahead.
CFOs will however face a number of challenges in driving digital transformation. The complexity in moving from legacy systems is one of the biggest obstacles, and often draws resistance from across the board. To get the buy in from all departments, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the benefits, and be able to show that whilst the move may be costly and time consuming, the ability to bring together data from every area of the business under one roof will be worth its weight in gold.
How the CFO role is changing
The role of finance and the CFO has changed beyond comprehension in the last decade. The recent global financial crash brought CFOs into the limelight, earning them both respect and recognition. As digitisation continues to disrupt everything from financial models, to business models, regulations to valuations, CFOs are without a doubt, under immense pressure to react, forecast and drive business change.
In the past, the role of a CFO was of a fiduciary duty, mainly concerned with looking back, driving efficiencies and managing budgets. Today’s CFO is expected to carry that forward whilst adding strategic insight that can shape business and operating models. CFOs of the future will need to be curious about every area of the business, as consumer experience, customer relations and branding become inextricably linked with company value. With this change in focus, future CFOs will need the technical know-how to guide business decisions and build the much-needed digital infrastructure. In a recent CFO Research survey, 93% of the senior finance executives surveyed believe that the CFO of the future will need a much stronger technology skill set than is currently required for the job.
The benefits of embracing digital
For digitally savvy CFOs and forward thinking companies, the benefits of embracing digital are boundless. Principally, the proliferation of Cloud computing will allow companies to consume software innovation as and when it happens. In the past there would be lengthy waits for IT departments to upgrade in-house applications. Now companies can access the latest software as soon as it is available through SaaS providers. A large majority of this tech is focused on facilitating access to big data, and herein lies the importance for finance departments and CFOs.
Cloud based technologies have opened up access to real time data, not only in the financial realm but also in more intangible assets such as customer satisfaction, quality of business processes and customer relationship data. The growth of cloud based ERP and performance management systems are helping CFOs to see the bigger picture, providing one truth, where all the data points are connected rather than being viewed in isolation. In doing so CFOs will be able to strive towards a more customer-centric future, focusing not only on the financial numbers, but on strategic growth through a greater understanding of consumers and their needs.
If you’re looking for your next career move, or need to hire a finance professional, get in touch with us today.
03 Jun / 2016
As a finance professional you probably use Excel on a daily basis, but are you using it to its full potential? In this week’s round-up post we’ve featured our top four picks offering lots of useful Excel tips and insights to finance and accounting professionals.
Our first pick shares four Excel tricks that will help you work through your spreadsheets quickly and efficiently:
Whether you work for a public accounting firm or are an accountant at a company, Microsoft Excel is likely an essential part of the work you perform. While I worked in public accounting, I used excel on a daily basis for numerous work assignments.
Do you use INDEX MATCH to find a single value? Perhaps you’re familiar with the formula VLOOKUP instead and you’re wondering how INDEX MATCH compares? This article guides you through each formula and highlights the pros and cons of both:
VLOOKUP is one of the most popular formulas in Excel and for good reason. The ability to lookup a single value from a large set of data based on a single value is incredibly powerful. It might surprise you to find out then that VLOOKUP isn’t the only player in town when it comes to looking up data in this way.
Working with large spreadsheets containing many calculations can leave readers guessing which sets of data relate and how final figures have been reached. This article provides some great suggestions for making your Excel documents more visual, indicating which cells are connected and how data sets relate:
Draw an arrow to visually illustrate that two cells are connected. USER: I have a large spreadsheet with many calculations. Results from section 1 are carried forward to cells in section 2. It would help to graphically illustrate that one cell flows to the calculation of another.
If you’re looking for accuracy in your data (let’s face it, who isn’t?), our final post highlights several methods and built-in tools that can be used to audit and debug Excel spreadsheets:
CPAs are often tasked with vetting or working with numbers in a spreadsheet. And while accountants are well-trained to identify and correct accounting errors, spreadsheets bring the danger of many other types of errors. Field audit results compiled by University of Hawaii professor and spreadsheet expert Ray Panko showed errors in 88% of 113 spreadsheets audited between 1995 and 2007.
We hope you find these tips useful! If you’re thinking of making your next career move, feel free to call us – we’d be delighted to help.
12 May / 2016
Your resume is likely to be the first chance you get to impress a prospective employer. So it’s no surprise that many jobseekers feel like their resume is never quite up to scratch. Getting it right takes time, patience and research. To help get you started, we’ve picked three articles that will help you avoid the most common mistakes and allow you to focus your time on producing a standout resume!
“Even a fabulous resume isn’t guaranteed to land you a job; but a poorly done resume will cost you opportunities” – this quote says it all. When writing your resume, it’s important not to make any assumptions about the hiring or screening process as this will invariable impact upon how you write your resume and could therefore cost you opportunities. Check out this post for the three most common assumptions jobseekers make when writing their resume.
Job seekers make assumptions about many aspects of their job search. In the long run, many of those assumptions are wrong… and can mean a much longer job search. True: even a fabulous resume isn’t guaranteed to land you a job; but a poorly done resume will cost you opportunities.
“It isn’t you. It’s your resume” – it’s easy to have your confidence knocked when you don’t hear back from applications, but have you thought that rather than it being because of you, it could be your resume? You know what you can bring to the table, but that doesn’t mean others will if you’re not communicating this effectively. Don’t let these resume mistakes hinder your chances of making a great first impression:
Have you been sending your resume but not getting interviews? Chances are-it isn’t you. It’s your resume. See if you’re making any of these resume mistakes: Related: The Top 3 Resume Improvements Everyone Needs Now Unless you are a C-Level executive or have lots of publications, your resume should be no longer than two pages.
It’s quite normal for jobseekers to want to include every last detail about themselves in their resume. If you include all your best achievements and skills and ram your resume full of relevant experience, then surely there’s no reason that you won’t make it through to interview stage, right? Wrong. Most employers only spend 1-2 minutes scanning a resume (some even less than that!), so if yours is full of dense paragraphs, employers are going to find it hard to pick out your most relevant attributes. This third and final pick offers some top tips for keeping your resume succinct, whilst including all the essential information:
Whether you’re fresh out of university or planning a career change, writing a CV can be challenging. How long should it be? What information should you include or omit? Here are three tips to help you create a super-charged CV.
If you’re looking for a new role in Finance or Accountancy and would like some resume advice, get in touch with us today!
20 Apr / 2016
Financial Staffing Solutions has recently applied for membership to APSCo (The Association of Professional Staffing Companies) we were asked to provide references from clients and candidates in order to become a member. We were please to hear that our clients and candidates think we are doing a great job. This doesn’t mean that we are sitting on our laurels, we strive to provide a first class service. Well done to all the team. If your looking to recruit Accounting and Finance staff or seeking a new position, contact us to find out why people think we are great.