Audit skills still top the list

When it was announced that the Audit thresholds were to be revised back in 2015 the media hype foretold of a crushing impact on the audit profession. With thousands of UK businesses no longer requiring a statutory audit under the new regulations surely the demand for auditors would take a sharp hit?

Fast forward to 2017, and as Recruiters who work solely with UK accountancy firms we find quite the opposite seems to have happened in the market.

​Why so?

1. Many firms have a greatly reduced pool of audit clients, but in a small practice those remaining tend to be the firms largest and arguably most valuable clients. Larger businesses often provide more opportunity for firms to ‘sell in’ consultancy led and complex tax based services which in turn result in higher fee levels and increased recovery levels compared to pure compliance work. Understandably smaller practices are reluctant to let these clients go.

However, a small practice may have only 1 or 2 audit trained staff to handle these clients, and with little resource to provide continual training, succession soon becomes a huge issue. Consequently, these same firms will then be forced to ‘buy in’ senior audit skills and will pay premium prices to do so.

2. Additionally, during the recession (and following few years) the Top 10 and Big 4 Accountancy firms drastically reduced their graduate audit intake. A few years on and we have a huge ‘black hole’ in the pool of qualified auditors that would ordinarily have flooded down the food-chain into the mid-tier and smaller accountancy firms.

3. Finally, possibly due to the media hype around the ‘demise of the audit’, much fewer graduates opted to specialise in audit; choosing instead general accountancy roles, Tax or Consultancy led disciplines. As a result, although the tide is turning, there is a huge disparity in the number of Senior Audit Professionals with the requisite skills required to lead and manage audit work compared to the demand we have from clients.

man with building blocks which spell the word audit

Audit opportunities across the UK

Because of the gap between supply and demand, we have seen salaries for audit trained candidates rise dramatically. Moreover, there are many opportunities for auditors, particularly those able to lead an audit team, to gain more flexible roles with adapted working hours.

See all our current Audit Jobs by clicking on the Disciplines drop down and selecting Audit.

For advice on how you can best improve your skills and progress your career within practice please call us today on 0333 577 7787 or email for a call back from one of our dedicated consultants.


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