Job of the month: Reporting accountant

Amy Valenta on this fantastic opportunity for recently qualified accountants

The role of reporting accounting is popular because it allows strong, technical number-crunchers to flex their analytical muscles.

The position involves commenting on figures and bringing them to life before reporting them to the external market.

It is generally aimed at either exceptional newly qualifieds or individuals who have one year to 18 months’ PQE, the role will particularly appeal if you’re a recently qualified, commercially minded accountant.

In terms of the life cycle of financial information, you will be one step closer to presenting the figures, so it offers a fantastic opportunity to get reporting experience at an early stage of your career.

At the same time, you will still “own” the numbers and need to take advantage of your technical skills to generate the data in the first place.

As a reporting accountant, you provide hard and soft data statements to production, which are then issued externally – most commonly to the London Stock Exchange and analysts outside your firm.

As an example, your company’s annual report is likely to be one of your main responsibilities. You will also be expected to review controls and consolidation data, and prepare statutory reports. Intense, pressurised deadline periods mean the ability to remain calm under pressure is crucial.

Owing to employers’ current focus on scrutinising costs, the finance function has never been more important in implementing improved controls and processes.

Reporting is at the centre of this as firms aim to get a tight hold of exactly what is going on from a bookkeeping perspective within their organisation.

Within listed companies, shareholders are scrutinising financial figures more carefully than ever before. Where they are looking to expand and/or acquire other organisations, businesses need accurate reports as they seek funding from private equity firms or banks.

You’ll need to make yourself stand out if you want to secure this role. You will be a qualified accountant and have IFRS, UK GAAP or US GAAP experience, or have been involved with preparation of statutory accounts, which is why it’s well suited to recently qualifieds.

CIMA-qualified accountants are well-placed when applying for these jobs because they already have a level of commercial understanding that someone in practice won’t necessarily possess.

You don’t always need analysis experience, but being able to demonstrate excellent communication skills at interview is a must. You may be required to make demands of more senior colleagues to secure the accurate and timely data you’re after, so you’ll need to have some gravitas and presence.

Most contract reporting accountant positions we are seeing at the moment are on fixed-term contracts, lasting between nine and 14 months, but a high proportion of successful applicants subsequently receive an extension, or even a permanent appointment.

Even if you don’t get a full-time job out of it, this is still great experience for your CV and a foundation for an accounting career in what is likely to be a well-branded organisation.

Day rates for people with two to four years’ post-qualified experience are likely to be between £350 and £400, while those successful in securing a permanent job at this level can expect a salary of up to £75k.

A positive aspect of the role is that if you’re good at it, it’s easy to shine because what you’re doing is both extremely tangible and very visible to senior business heads. Progression varies according to company structure, but there is usually a clear career path.

Generally, larger companies have a team of reporting accountants, so the next step may be to a senior reporting position. As the role heavily involves commentary, there may ultimately be the opportunity to get into financial analyst and/or financial controller positions, so it offers great prospects for the future.

 

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