Finding right employees trumps access to finance as issue for British FDs

When provided with options including: access to finance; finding the right employees; staffing the finance function; and growth in your own market, the majority indicated general staffing was causing most problems.

The survey, conducted in partnership with ICAEW and now in its 15th year, asked respondents to rate their responses on a scale of one to five – with one indicating “really difficult for your business right now” and five indicating “absolutely no problem”.

On the issue of finding the right employee, 27.7 per cent gave a score of two and 34.5 per cent a three. Conversely, the highest scores of 31.2 per cent and 26.2 per cent for access to finance were for four and five respectively.

Bringing together the thoughts of 2,000 senior finance professionals, which will ultimately be used to determine the winners of the 2015 FDs’ Excellence Awards (held in association with ICAEW and supported by the CBI), the survey indicates where they are feeling pressure and which firms are doing the best to support growth.

ICAEW chief executive, Michael Izza, said: “FDs are telling us that they are having trouble finding the right people, showing we have a wider skills problem in the UK. We must prevent the ticking time bomb of skills shortages and their effect on the economy. If the UK fails to close the ever-growing skills gap, businesses will struggle to recruit the skills it needs.

“Apprenticeships and professional qualifications are a lifeline to developing staff over the long-term. The accountancy profession alone estimates that 600,000 new jobs will be needed in the professional services sector by 2020, and is aiming for 10,000 higher apprenticeship starts by 2018.”

Read more on previous FDs’ Satisfaction Survey findings:

For staffing the finance function, the majority of respondents hovered around three and four (31.6 per cent and 33 per cent), indicating it is a problem – but not as much as general staffing.

Growth in the market scores were also centred on three and four (35.1 per cent and 30.7 per cent), perhaps a reflection of an improving economy and drive towards greater exports.

In March, Real Business revealed the shortlist for the 2015 FDs’ Excellence Awards, which included executives at CitySprint, Lending Works and PhotoBox. Held on 14 May and hosted by Marcus Brigstocke, awards such as Private Company FD of the Year for three different turnover brackets and Private Equity-Backed FD of the Year.

Also up for grabs will be Bank of the Year, Accountancy Firm of the Year, Software Vendor of the Year and Recruitment Company of the Year.

Winners from the 2014 awards, which marked the tenth outing of the event, included Tim Score of semiconductor and software design company ARM, who picked up the prestigious FTSE 100 FD of the Year Award. Last year also saw Lloyds Bank secure a double win in the shape of Business Bank of the Year as well as Bank Manager of the Year in the shape of Birmingham-based relationship director Ian Fitzjohn.

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