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Big Four a bore? Try banking in 2010

You couldn’t blame Big Four accountants for starting the new year with a resolution to get a more interesting job. But what are the chances of them landing something in the banking sector in 2010?

Hiroyuki Takahashi, a consultant at Hays, says it is fairly easy for accountants to make the transition into banking if they were exposured to financial institutions during their time at the Big Four. However, there are still some obstacles which could keep them from making a move.

“One reason, from a company side, is that some (Japanese) accountants in the Big Four don’t have good enough English skills. One from a candidate side is that investment banking looks unstable and they cannot expect enough of a salary jump-up to risk making the transition,” says Takahashi.

Those that do take the plunge though could be in demand for several roles.

Paul Guevara, an equities recruitment consultant at Boyd & Moore Executive Search, says younger CPAs often make the move into investment banking advisory or research analyst-type roles.

More seasoned accountants can find it easier transitioning into a middle or back-office position. However, Guevara adds that in the present market, there is unlikely to be much hiring growth in operations because firms focus on getting “new blood” into revenue-generating roles.

Another option, says Takahashi, is a role related to regulatory reporting to the FSA. “The reason behind this is due to the increasing requirements for the risk monitoring of transactions and they need to have somebody with strong J GAAP knowledge on board,” he adds.

Then there are IFRS-related positions. “Since a few people in the market haven’t caught up with IFRS, people doing IFRS consulting to financial institutions in the Big 4 would look attractive to them,” says Takahashi.

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