Accountants are suffering, but they’re suffering less. If you’re a former accountant-turned-banker, now may therefore be the time to retrace your steps.
According to the Accountancy Age ranking of the UK’s top 50 accounting firms, all but two had positive revenue growth in 2008.
This is not to say that accountancy firms haven’t been suffering. BDO Stoy Hayward is said to be cutting partners’ pay by 30% in 2009. The Big Four trimmed corporate financiers in 2008 and smaller firms like Grant Thornton and Baker Tilly now have fewer partners than at the end of 2007.
However, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, and KPMG all ended 2008 with more partners than they had at the end of 2007.
Keith Dugdale, director of global recruitment at KPMG, says 2009 will be all about “strategic hires.”
“There are two areas which are benefiting in particular from the turmoil and they are restructuring and forensic accounting,” he says.
Dugdale says KPMG is open to applications from former accountants. “The people we are particularly interested in are re-hires – people who went into investment banking in very different times and have a professional accounting background.”
Ewan Grant, national head of corporate finance at Baker Tilly, doesn’t sound quite so enthusiastic though. “I wouldn’t have thought investment bankers would be able to find jobs at accountancy firms easily,” he says, before hastily adding, “We will always look at exceptionally talented people from any background.”