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MERJE Finance & Audit, Meet MERJE

Meet MERJE is a series of interviews with members of the MERJE team discussing their experiences of recruiting in their specialist market.

Meet Andrew Varty, Managing Consultant for the Finance & Audit team at MERJE.

How long have you been at MERJE?

I joined MERJE in 2013 having started my recruitment career in the 90s, working on a temp desk for a catering recruitment company in London. In 2000, I joined an international company specialising in Senior Finance.

What kind of roles do you recruit for?

I recruit for all things Finance and Audit, with a general rule being that if you are a qualified Accountant or Auditor – I want to speak to you. The types of role will typically be from Finance Manager to Finance Director, alongside Audit at all levels. That said, I also manage the Finance team who recruit Transactional and Part-Qualified Accountancy roles.

Based out of our Manchester office, I have a strong network across the North West and Yorkshire, although having started my career in London I have recruited across the UK and internationally. Additionally, as I have a background in interim recruitment, I have a strong network of contractors.

How has the Finance recruitment market changed during your time recruiting within it?

Whilst Finance is an integral part of every organisation, the market is constantly changing. Gone are the days where it is seen as a back-office cost – it is now much more focussed on value adding. Clients require individuals who don’t just report the figures but add commercial input and business partnering.

Audit has also gone through a similar change, specifically in Financial Services, due to changes with the regulator. Audit has moved from a historic ‘tick box’ function to a value adding part of the business, improving processes and performance.

Interim resource has been a constant across Finance and Audit, adding headcount not only during peak periods and whilst permanent placements are filled, but more importantly to add a specialist skill set for Change projects, such as process improvement. It will be interesting to see what impact the IR35 changes will have on this in 2020.

What advice do you have for job seekers in the Finance & Audit markets?

Finance roles will always exist, but competition, specifically at Finance Director level, is always very high. The key is to differentiate yourself from others. Often industry experience is highly sought after, however it is just as important to demonstrate commercial acumen alongside your technical knowledge.

Qualification is also key and I have had many a debate over whether it’s a better route to be a Chartered Accountant from a ‘Big Four’ firm or CIMA qualified accountant with industry experience. As with all recruitment, the key is to partner with a specialist Consultant who knows the market and offers personal advice, providing insight into the organisation that is recruiting. Whilst roles may look similar externally, the key is to find the main drivers of the company and the people you will be working for, as cultural fit is just as important as technical knowledge.

Why MERJE?

After spending 15 years working within a large corporate environment I wanted to progress my career without having the bureaucracy. Having worked with the Managing Directors previously, I knew about the business and their approach, which is value adding and customer service-led rather than an aggressive ‘bums on seats’ approach that you see with some firms.

I joined when the company was still in its infancy and have been able to continue developing my own role whilst also developing a team around me. It's a grown up environment providing the opportunity for individuals to do well whilst also offering the flexibility to balance work with family life.

To contact Andrew to discuss your Finance & Audit recruitment needs, please call 0161 883 2742 or email avarty@merje.com.