'Large demand' driving bookkeeper fees, salaries

One recruiter has found growth in the SME sector, particularly on the eastern seaboard, has put bookkeepers in a strong position to negotiate salary and fees and win new clients for 2017/18.

The buoyancy of the SME sector is contributing to an increased demand for bookkeeping services in Australia, according to regional director at recruitment firm Hays, David Cawley.

“The overriding feeling is that there was nothing in the budget this year that would scare business owners. Retail spending has been a little bit softer, but unemployment is at relatively good levels, business confidence is pretty positive, and factors like that suggest economies will keep growing,” he told The Bookkeeper.

“It also suggests growth in the SME sector, which will fuel demand for bookkeepers, providing they are winning business and growing their business,” he said.

In the last year there has been a sizable growth in salaries of bookkeepers, particularly those based in Sydney, with a 10 per cent jump in a number cases.

However, determining an average is difficult do to the “ad-hocness” of bookkeeping fees and wage arrangements. 

“For want of a better word, ad-hocness of salaries probably comes from the fact that those growing SMEs don’t necessarily understand how they should be positioning themselves in the marketplace, unlike listed businesses,” he said.

“What we are seeing is people paying over market rate, because they want to get the right person for the business,” he said.

While Hays is generally finding an appetite for temporary and contract workers in medium to large scale firms in Australia, when it comes to bookkeepers, data is suggesting firms are increasingly looking for those who will take up permanent positions.

“In the bookkeeping space, you need security in that sort of function. Providing someone with access to the financial performance of your business is a security issue,” Mr Cawley said.

 

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