In recent years, there has been significant focus on the need for workers to enhance their digital skillsets, and the Accounting & Finance space is no exception to this trend.
“In 2023, we saw a rising demand for professionals skilled in AI, automation tools and data analytics to optimise financial processes. Many ‘technical roles’ where the job scope covers routine work with basic digital tools are now being made obsolete by automation software,” comments Danny Tan, Consultant at Robert Walters Singapore. “Candidates really need to stay on their toes and constantly upgrade their skillsets to stay relevant in the market.”
The accelerated pace at which the sector is integrating new technologies and tools will be the key driver behind hiring decisions in 2024.
Read on to find out more about Danny’s expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Singapore’s Accounting & Finance professionals in 2024, with an emphasis on contract roles.
Now that traditionally technical roles are slipping in relevance, the focus will extend beyond traditional book keeping towards positions that are more strategic and advisory in nature.
Danny notes, “There is a growing demand for accountants who can provide strategic insights, interpret and contextualise financial data against business operations, and guide decision-making for the business. Employers particularly appreciate candidates that are proficient in areas like budgeting, forecasting, financial modelling, business strategy, risk management, and even IT consultancy for financial software.”
As for the digital skillsets that are rising in popularity within the sector, Danny points out that hiring managers are seeking candidates who are familiar with cloud accounting software and tools such as Power BI and Tableau. Candidates who are proficient in AI, data analytics and automation tools are also highly regarded.
Roles such as FP&A analysts and finance business partners will be greatly sought after. But besides the ability to crunch and interpret numbers with digital technologies, most of all, businesses are after employees who can explain complex financial concepts to stakeholders who do not have a financial background.
Two roles are currently in high demand within the industry. Firstly, financial analysts play a crucial role in assisting businesses to comprehend their financial health and make informed decisions regarding investments, budgeting, and growth strategies. Secondly, finance business partners are sought after for their ability to collaborate with other departments or stakeholders, enhancing business performance through financial insights. This role has evolved from traditional accounting and finance functions towards a more strategic and consultative approach.
Singapore, being a regional hub for numerous multinational corporations, places a premium on candidates with a solid grasp of both local and international regulations, including IFRS, FATCA, US GAAP, and SOX.
As companies increasingly seek professionals who can serve as strategic partners to the business, soft skills such as communication, adaptability, and critical thinking are essential.
Candidates who excel in both written and verbal communication, possess the ability to identify patterns and insights from data, and stay updated on ever-changing regulations and business practices will stand out.
"In light of the significant layoffs experienced throughout 2023, candidates have grown increasingly cautious about changing roles," Danny comments. "During the interview process, hiring managers should make an effort to uncover the motivating factors that have led a candidate to apply for the position, ensuring a mutual fit."
When it comes to talent attraction and retention, companies are encouraged to offer a comprehensive compensation and benefits package. In addition to competitive compensation, other crucial factors that candidates keep in mind when assessing a job offer includes flexible and hybrid work arrangements, as well as opportunities for career development.
Generally, hiring for contract positions in the Accounting & Finance space has slowed down significantly in 2023, with activity expected to pick back up only in the second half of 2024. As such, salaries will remain the same, with standard increments of around 10 – 15% for candidates moving jobs. Those who remain in the same job can expect increment to fall between 3 – 5%.
Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends for Accounting & Finance contract professionals in Singapore.
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Accounting & finance (Contract), Singapore
Danny is a recruiter who brings along with him significant industry experience. He specializes in recruiting mid to senior level roles for all finance and accountancy positions.
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