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Accounting firms’ loss could be financial planning’s gain

Graduates whose job offers at big four accounting firms have fallen through due to COVID-19 cutbacks are now turning to financial planning businesses for job opportunities, an industry mentoring group has said.

Professional Development Sarah Kendell 25 August 2020
— 1 minute read

Striver founder and chief executive Alisdair Barr said the current business environment presented a unique opportunity for advice groups to recruit gifted graduates who would usually go to high-profile firms such as KPMG or PwC into their businesses.

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“Right now we’re in the unexpected position of having an abundance of great graduate talent — it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure graduates that smaller privately owned businesses have never had the opportunity to access before,” Mr Barr said.

Following a number of recent redundancy rounds, including the sacking of 700 staff at Deloitte and 200 roles at KPMG, Mr Barr added that a number of graduates had approached the mentoring organisation after having previous job offers from the big four accounting firms fall through.

“Without any announcement, the big four seem to be quietly retreating from their graduate programs, and the once keen new talent they would normally secure is now turning their backs on them,” he said.

“We’re also seeing many more graduates knock on our door, keen to pursue opportunities and career paths beyond the big four. The idea of being one of hundreds to face redundancy in an economic downturn has caused many to substantially rethink who they actually want to work for and develop their careers with.”

With the economic turmoil of the coronavirus crisis having increased financial advisers’ workloads, Mr Barr said many practices were keen to bring on new hires.

“Firms with a 10-year-plus growth plan are definitely investing in graduates to grow their own talent,” he said.

“The pathway for a graduate into the professional year is normally a couple of years, so there is plenty of time to meet the educational requirements.”

Mr Barr added that while the professional year requirements were a hurdle towards getting more graduates into financial planning, firms could work towards getting new recruits into an advice role over time.

“The professional year means they need to invest in that time and program, but if they have a longer-term plan then it is a fantastic way to grow great talent,” he said. 

“[Graduates] may start in administration, client services and para-planning roles before entering the professional year.”

Accounting firms’ loss could be financial planning’s gain
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