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Trends to watch in Hong Kong’s accounting & finance job market
In 2017, a number of interesting trends in Hong Kong’s accounting & finance job market have become clear. From influences such as the rise of digital, to a shift in the operations and needs of accounting functions, these trends change recruitment for both job seekers and companies in finance. It’s important to understand these trends now, and to prepare for how they will continue in 2018.
Hong Kong’s booming accounting and finance sector
First of all, what’s going on in Hong Kong’s accounting and finance sector? There are several trends here. With the ever-growing influence of digital, markets such as Fintech, IT security, and cloud services are all rapidly growing. Other, more traditional markets such as retail and service have made a promising bounce back in 2017, and should see more growth in 2018.
On the candidate side, companies are becoming more flexible in proposing competitive remuneration package to accounting talents who come from similar or relevant industry backgrounds. They are also becoming more accommodating with work arrangements, such as offering work from home options and flexible working hours.
Chinese firms in particular are actively looking for finance talent that has worked in sizable businesses, with strong language skills and experience in M&A.
Trends in accounting & finance
In accounting and finance, there has been an increase in demand for positions that are a hybrid of several different functions. For example, companies are looking for professionals who can handle both Finance and IT, or Finance and Marketing. This demand reflects a change in the flexibility of the recruitment strategies of a lot of businesses. They are more willing to adapt a role to fit a candidate’s experience, rather than the other way around.
Also, in 2017, companies across different industries have been undergoing process re-engineering projects, resulting in leaner accounting functions. This is often done by centralising their accounting functions to one location.
Some employers are considering transferring their accounting functions to shared service centres in India or China; however, key functions are generally staying in Hong Kong due to the availability of talent and a high quality of candidates.
Companies who are looking to hire up to middle management are open to recruiting candidates with only external audit backgrounds. Junior candidates are expected to equip themselves by learning new technical skills as they move to new positions.
Skill sets that are high in demand
With these trends, comes a change in the skill sets that are in high demand in 2017. For example, accounting professionals with system implementation and re-engineering experience such as SAP and Oracle are highly sought after.
Also, Hong Kong listed companies are diversifying their business in the PRC market, especially with property development and manufacturing companies. There’s a strong demand for candidates with hands-on PRC accounting experience, high levels of Mandarin and a willingness to travel.
Financial planning and Accounting (FP&A) professionals are highly sought after if they have strong business partnering skills. These positions usually report to the business rather than the functional head.
Looking ahead to 2018
Expect 2018 to continue with a lot of these trends, but also bring new ones that will further change and shape the recruitment landscape in finance in Hong Kong.
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