Asset 2

Mason Alexander Industry Insights Accountants – Recently Qualified up to Finance Manager

09 April 2019 by Mason Alexander

​For hundreds of trainee Chartered Accountants across the country, April marks a significant milestone in their careers – the end of their 3.5 year training contract. On completion, while many will stay on with their training firm and continue their career in practice, many more will be looking to take that step into business. We’ve taken a look at the market, both ACCA and ACA and in particular, the top 10 job titles that we see for those recently qualified.

The 10 job titles we’ve analysed across Ireland are:




Industry breakdown

Let’s be clear, demand for this talent is exceptionally high at present and there is an abundance of opportunity, but understanding where those opportunities lie is crucial. Firstly, the biggest industry for this talent is in practice, over 4,000 people work in practice across Ireland with those titles. Outside of practice there are over 10,000 people who currently have one of those 10 titles and the top 10 industries are:


Financial Services

IT & Services



Computer Software


Food & Beverage

Hospitals & Healthcare




Financial Services is the clear dominant industry, it accounts for over 11% of people and when Banking is included, this jumps to 16%. The opportunities in FS/Banking are significant and we also tend to see very competitive base salaries as well as other benefits in the FS space that other industries don’t provide or not to the same extent. 3 of the top 10 employers are in the FS and Banking sector.


However, the industry that has seen the biggest growth over the past year is Pharma. The number of people employed in this category has increased by 11% and demand remains very strong in 2019. It worth noting that the 11th biggest Industry, Medical Devices saw a 14% jump in this category over the past year which continues to demonstrate the strong FDI influence in this sector is continuing.


Pigeon Hole

Another factor that we often hear from candidates is the issue of getting “pigeon holed” and it is often a reason for recently qualified accountants refusing to consider roles in FS and Banking. However, our analysis shows that for the Pharma, IT & Services and Computer Software industries, all three hired talent for this category from Financial Services – indeed it was within the top 3 industries for sourcing talent for all 3 – so the “pigeon hole” effect at this level is not as prevalent as people assume.


International Passport

At this level, there is a long-standing tradition of people taking time out and traveling. The accountant profession has long been associated with the ability to work anywhere in the world. In terms of international attraction, we are seeing the biggest gains coming from Sydney, London and Melbourne which suggests people returning home after working abroad. The next three locations for the strongest attraction of talent are Sao Paulo, NYC and Barcelona which shows that accounting in Ireland remains an attractive location for international candidates.


While Ireland is gaining accounting talent as a whole, we are still losing talent we the top 3 locations being Sydney, Melbourne and the UAE. Traditionally London would have been a big destination for recently qualified accountants however as Brexit uncertainty continues to hang over the UK, virtually no talent has been lost to London over the past year, and incredible shift in attractiveness of London to Irish accountants.



Without a doubt, the hard skills of being an accountant remain the dominate factor for the people in this category.




Financial Reporting

Financial Analysis

Financial Accounting


These are the top 5 skills listed by these candidates and is not surprising, these are the core fundamentals of the jobs that they perform. However the fast growing skills provide significant insight into the current market:



SAP ERP (up 31%)

Customer Satisfaction (up 29%)

Data Analysis (up 27%)


There is a clear shift in the basics of any accountant’s role. With the shift towards automation and the growing dependence and use of data by organisations, accountants are having to significantly improved their customer facing people skills and they interpretation and use of data. Businesses no longer rely on the traditional financial information that accountants were known for a P&L and Balance Sheet are historical documents at a point in time, data is real, its up to date, its more than just financial, its core to business decision making.


Candidate Profile

This segment of the Accounting marketing is majority female – 55% to 45%. The average tenure before switching role, whether its a sideways move or a promotion is 1.7 years.

59% have a Bachelor’s Degree

21% have a Master’s Degree

13% have an MBA



The primary third level universities are: