Why you need to move finance and accounting temps to a PAYE solution to avoid IR35 fines

What do the latest ‘IR35’ tax legislation changes mean for hiring managers? Can you still hire finance and accounting temps? And how can you avoid being fined by HMRC? 

Rob McKay, who leads our specialist interim recruitment team, explains how organisations can hire finance temps the right way, within the law. 

What’s the background to the new IR35 changes? 

The ‘IR35’ tax legislation came into force for the private sector on 6 April 2021 for the new tax year. IR35 is basically shorthand for the UK tax legislation that is designed to identify genuine contractors. 

It closes a tax loophole, whereby the majority of contractors would offer their services via an intermediary, like a limited company. Essentially, treating themselves as a company meant contractors paid corporation tax at around 20% as opposed to higher-rated employee tax. Another big factor for HMRC was that no National Insurance was payable.

What’s changed in the IR35 legislation?

The Government has shifted the emphasis on who is liable for deciding whether a role sits inside or outside the IR35 legislation. Before the liability sat with the contractor, now the liability and potentially hefty fines sit squarely with corporations. 

What does being inside or outside IR35 mean?

Being ‘inside’ IR35 means the contractor is seen by HMRC as an employee for tax purposes. Being ‘outside’ IR35 means the contractor is seen as genuinely self-employed by HMRC and can enjoy lower tax status. 

What does that mean for accounting roles? 

Most accounting roles will now fall within IR35. For example, if you’re a contractor signing off a set of statutory accounts, you have authority on behalf of the company and so would be classed as an employee for tax purposes. If you are managing someone, that role would also fall within IR35. 

If you’re genuinely running a business with a number of clients, working on concurrent projects, this would fall outside IR35. But if you have one accounting contract role at a time, then HMRC will now see you as an employee for tax purposes. 

The basic rule is if organisations are happy to accept ‘substitutions’ then this sits outside the legislation. For example, Compass provides catering services for PWC. But PWC doesn’t get to say which chef works particular shifts or which serving staff are working. But usually, for an accounting role, you’ll be interviewing specific people for specific roles. 

So can I still hire a temporary employee or contractor?

Absolutely, you can still hire hourly and daily-paid temps and contractors who are not counted on your permanent headcount or payroll. The key change is to the tax status of temporary and contract workers. So even if your role falls within IR35, you can still bring that person to work for you on a shorter-term contract as long as they pay tax as an employee via PAYE.

So how can I easily hire a temp or contractor without being fined?

SRM Recruitment offers organisations a PAYE solution for hiring temps and contractors. That means we offer a fully outsourced payroll function, taking the headache out of paying tax on behalf of your contractors in a way that is fully auditable.

The advantage of using a reputable PAYE solution is that organisations have complete transparency on where and how tax is paid. So it really takes any IR35 worries out of the equation completely.  

We still recommend that clients go through a determination process to assess if a role is inside or outside IR35 but if there is any doubt, it’s always recommended to go ‘inside’ the IR35 legislation. 

A safe, scalable solution for outsourced payroll

SRM already offers this outsourced payroll PAYE service to a range of organisations of all sizes. We have a strong balance sheet and we are able to securely run a regular payroll for our clients. The process is auditable and transparent. 

“Rob has gone above & beyond by providing specific guidance on IR35 to myself & wider HR team, helping us translate what it means for our business. A trusted recruitment partner!”

Nicola Hollands – Talent Acquisition Partner at Capital Dynamics

What’s happened to umbrella companies?

We are advising organisations not to employ contractors via umbrella company status. Remember, the risk still sits with the hiring organisation, not the umbrella company. 

Using a PAYE solution via an umbrella company provider can leave organisations in a less than robust position from a tax perspective. It’s worth noting that the industry is self-regulating with only 50 or so companies opting for any form of accreditation. Accreditation does not give powers to sanction or investigate. 

Fines are still payable by the hiring organisation, not the umbrella company, or the umbrella company provider. 

What do finance and accounting temps think about the IR35 change?

Most accountants understand why the loophole is being closed. The only push back we’ve experienced is from those in quasi IT/finance roles. Accounting and finance professionals still want to work on daily rates and enjoy the flexibility this brings so we don’t anticipate any shortage of supply. Candidates tell us they want a job first and foremost and aren’t worried about the mechanics of how they get paid. 

The key facts about hiring flexible workers under IR35

In summary, you can still hire flexible workers that won’t affect your permanent headcount numbers by using a robust outsourced payroll / PAYE service. 

Steer clear of contractors employed via an umbrella company or services provided by the unregulated umbrella company market.

Get In Touch

If you need help to source the best interim resource in finance and accountancy or are looking for your next role, get in touch with Rob McKay, director of interim recruitment today on +44 (0) 20 3637 7808, email robmckay@srmrecruitment.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Creating resilient teams: how to avoid burnout in the Workplace

Are you ready for the future of work?

Creating resilient teams: how to avoid burnout in the workplace

At the start of the covid-19 pandemic, the majority of Finance Directors were still operating lean functions or were even one or two heads down. Factor in the extra pressures due to the pandemic and it’s no surprise that many teams are stressed and overwhelmed. We invited an expert panel to join us in a live webinar on Creating Resilient Teams. For those of you who missed it the first time around it’s now available to watch in full.

Our guest speakers at creating resilient teams

Stewart Robertson, co-founder of SRM Recruitment, discusses how many hiring managers struggle with surprise resignations and seeing professionals struggle to switch off as the boundary between work and home blurs.

Adele Stickland, wellness in the workplace and resilience consultant joins us and discusses how you can set your team up for success so that employees can bounce back after demanding work periods.

Tamsin Ashmore, CFO of Ultima Business Solutions and former CFO at Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group shares her insights on building strong resilient teams

Caroline Watkin, co-founder of the remote work and communications consultancy, 300, discusses how great communications can help you reduce stress in your team and be more productive.

Get in touch if you’re looking to hire

If you want to discuss resilience in the workplace or need help hiring the best finance or accounting staff get in touch with Stewart Robinson today on +44 (0) 1483 338066 or connect with me on Linkedin. 

Alternatively, if you’re planning your headcount or want impartial advice on the current market, please do get in touch with me.

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Are you ready for the future of work?

How work is changing and what it means for hiring managers

For the foreseeable future, those of us who can will be working at home. At the end of 2020 we ran a webinar to explore how dispersed workforces are changing the hiring process and our daily working lives.

Andrew Setchell, CEO of SRM was joined by Dana Muntean, client partner at Workplace from Facebook, Julian Randles, CFO of Czarnikow, as well as the co-founders of 300, the remote work and communications consultancy.

In this webinar, we open up the debate on which changes are likely to be long-term or even permanent and how organisations are navigating these challenges. What does the future hold? Blended workplaces or wholly remote? You’ll also learn how companies are embracing collaboration technology built around people.  

We discuss the trends so that you can successfully hire and retain the best people for your business.

Get in touch if you’re looking to hire

If you want to discuss resilience in the workplace or need help hiring the best finance or accounting staff get in touch with me, Andrew Setchell today on +44 (0 )20 3637 7808 or connect with him on Linkedin. 

Alternatively, if you’re planning your headcount or want impartial advice on the current market, please do get in touch.

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How to get the finance and accounting job you want, and navigate a tough market

If your finance and accounting job search is going slower than you’d like, follow Jim Smith’s top career advice tips to get the job you want.

Don’t get frustrated

Hiring managers and recruiters are receiving unprecedented levels of applications. Inevitably, many finance professionals and accountants are getting frustrated at the lack of contact through the job hunting process. Be prepared for bumps in the road – the process may suddenly go quiet, hiring managers can do u-turns. That’s not your fault.

Firstly, let go of the frustration and focus on your unique strengths. Take the positives out of any process that has not quite happened. If you were shortlisted for this interview, it means you have skills that are wanted by hiring managers. You’ll get the next one!

Don’t apply for everything

More than ever, hiring managers are looking for candidates with industry-specific skill sets. For example, if the role is in retail and you don’t have outstanding Hyperion skills, you’re probably wasting your time applying for that role. It may sound counterintuitive but narrowing your focus will help you land the job you want.

Also, don’t feel the need to apply for ‘junior’ roles beneath your experience level. Even though you have all the skills needed, think of the hiring manager and their level. They’re probably more junior than you and may therefore potentially feel threatened by your senior experience – so the role won’t be the right match for either of you.

Don’t be afraid to network to get the finance and accounting job you want

If you’ve been made redundant or are simply burnt out, don’t let misplaced embarrassment hold you back. Reach out to people you’ve worked with in the past, your friends/family network, as well as good recruiters. Tell them briefly what you’re looking for and clearly ask for introductions/recommendations and most importantly – follow up.

Qualify the recruiters you decide to work with

Ask questions to ascertain if the recruiter understands what you do and how well they know the finance and accounting job market. Then engage with recruiters who will give you the most credibility with hiring managers – go with your gut. A good recruiter should take the time to listen to what you want and give you honest advice on the market and what they’re seeing.

I’d also recommend asking how many other recruitment consultancies are working on roles you’re interested in and find out how many other people are going for an interview. If the recruiter is the ‘sole agent’ you’ll stand a much better chance. Ask what the likely turnaround time is too so you can better manage your expectations. In essence, I would recommend qualifying your recruiter, you’ll soon know who has your best interests at heart. Keep in touch with these recruiters.

Beware of unscrupulous agents

Recruitment agents will often pick up leads from talking to candidates. If it’s not someone you speak to regularly, be careful about sharing who you are interviewing with. There are some recruiters who will simply send their current candidates for the role you’re interviewing for, lessening your chance of success.

Ask a good recruiter to proactively market you to their client base

It’s still the case that many jobs are not advertised. A lot of opportunities arise from putting the right CV in front of a hiring manager based on personal knowledge of the client and job seeker.

This bespoke approach is something SRM specialises in and I’ve recently been proactively partnering with strong candidates from across industries, targeting specific organisations. This is very well received and my aim is to create opportunities and build long term relationships.

Seek advice from a recruiter who cares about people

We can’t place everyone we speak to but we can give you real advice on how to enhance your Linkedin profile, how to set up job searches on Indeed.com or improve your CV. If we can’t help you, we’ll most likely be able to put you in touch with someone who can. Importantly, if we say we’ll call you back we will.

If you need help to get the finance and accounting job you want in the northern home counties or career planning and advice, do give me a call on + 44 (0) 7375 409 089, connect with me on Linkedin or email me at jimsmith@srmrecruitment.com

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Richard Boyd joins the SRM finance team

Richard Boyd

This week we’re delighted to welcome Richard Boyd to the SRM finance team. We talk to Richard about getting back to real recruitment, the roles he can help you with and his top piece of advice for hiring managers.

Richard Boyd

Tell us about your career and what prompted your move

“I worked at two of the world’s largest recruitment consultancies for 16 years, progressing to a Director-level role. Just before joining SRM, I led a team of fifteen focused on qualified finance recruitment. My remit grew to include executive search and specialist finance roles such as tax and treasury. 

Getting back to real recruitment

Whilst I loved the role and had a great team, inevitably, mentoring and leading others became my focus. Over time I missed actual recruitment and spending time with clients! I like being out there with both clients and candidates and didn’t want to be as internally focused anymore. 

I genuinely believe there is massive scope here at SRM to grow the size of our team and our footprint on the London finance market, so the scale of the opportunity and growth potential was key to the move. 

An experienced team of recruiters

Joining an experienced team at SRM was key, especially working with a close-knit group of people who I knew viewed recruitment similarly to me – from a values, respect and way of working point of view. 

I knew Stewart Robertson from school and he actually introduced me to my first role in recruitment. I worked for Andrew Setchell in Southampton and then London and  worked with Rory MacSween during my time in tax recruitment – during some pretty tough times after the financial crisis! 

The benefits of a boutique recruitment firm

Working with a trusted advisor is even more important right now. What I’m seeing in the market is that people want to make a real connection and build a lasting, personal relationship. That’s something that a boutique firm excels at. I’m excited to be at SRM where we’re really focused on delivering a bespoke service based on your needs.

Tell us about the roles you’ll be working on

I’m primarily focused on permanent qualified finance roles in London and growing this business to better support our clients. I’ll also be focused on helping our clients with FD, CFO and Search level positions.

What do hiring managers and job seekers like about working with you?

I’d like to think I’m pretty straightforward. I’m definitely candid and my network appreciates that. I work hard for my clients and candidates and am passionate about finding people the right role.

Tell us about yourself?

I’m married and have a lovely five-year-old daughter so that keeps me pretty busy. Sporting wise; my main passion is road cycling, both watching and doing. I’m also a rugby and football fan. Hailing from the Westcountry I’m a big Plymouth Argyle fan (for my sins)! I’ve always had a really keen interest in American politics too. 

What’s your top piece of advice for hiring managers right now? 

Essentially: 1. be realistic 2. have a plan and 3. take advice

1. Focus on the key skills that will have the biggest impact on business objectives and you’ll find the right person more quickly. In a client-led market, we often think we’ll find the perfect person who can do everything perfectly but knowing exactly what you need and identifying core skills is a much more effective hiring strategy.

2. Have a clear plan for remote interviews and onboarding, work out your process and what you’re comfortable with. An efficient process is still really important to hire the best people.

3. Talk to your network or a trusted recruitment partner if you’re not sure whether your requirements are realistic or what sort of person will achieve the business transformation you’re looking for.”

Get in touch if you’re looking to hire finance roles or for help with your next career move

If you need help to source your next tax leader or want an honest conversation about your career, get in touch with Richard Boyd today on + 44 7376 497285 or connect with him on Linkedin. 

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How to avoid surprise resignations

How to avoid surprise resignations

Recognising the early signs of employee dissatisfaction is becoming increasingly difficult in a remote work setting. As teams lose the human connection, the biggest danger for managers is resignations coming ‘out of the blue.’     

Experienced recruiter and co-founder of SRM, Rory MacSween, talks us through his top six tips to reduce the risk of surprise resignations.

Don’t assume people aren’t moving 

It’s tempting to believe that people aren’t moving jobs due to the pandemic but that simply isn’t the case. In most recruitment markets, the best candidates are still very focused on career development and are open to moving. 

Conduct health checks with each team member – regularly 

It’s much easier to pick up early warning signs of dissatisfaction in the office and to have candid conversations face to face. But you can pick up the signs remotely and so avoid surprise resignations if you make time, listen and ask smart questions. 

Dig deeper for honest feedback to avoid surprise resignations

Ask for honest feedback and be prepared to listen. Questions like: “how do you think we’re managing as a company” can open up the dialogue for a more meaningful conversation. In the UK, bear in mind we don’t often complain and we favour politeness over openness so don’t be afraid to ask real questions about people’s true intentions.  

Scheduling time for informal ‘coffee break’ video conversations with individual team members can also work effectively to break down the distance. 

Plan headcount in advance

There’s no point in investing and growing the team if you are replacing half of your existing team in the next three months. If you haven’t already, plan your 2021 headcount following honest conversations or risk the knock-on impact of multiple resignations.

“At one client, 50% of the tax team tendered their resignation within three months. I’ve lost count of the recent conversations where hiring managers had no inkling the resignation was coming.”  

Rory MacSween, Director, SRM Recruitment

Ask a specialist recruiter about market conditions 

If you’re unsure about the demand for certain skillsets within your team, or how difficult it might be to replace specialist talent, talk to a recruiter who knows the market well. Be prepared and aware of how long you may have to wait to fill roles – don’t assume it’s a buyer’s market.

If you were in my shoes what would you do differently? 

Despite your best intentions, you receive a surprise resignation. Now’s the time to act to prevent this impacting the rest of the team. Diarise some time to talk through the reasons behind the resignation and ask what you could have done differently as a manager. Be prepared to act on the feedback and talk to the rest of the team quickly to allay any fears that they’ll be left with an onerous workload.

Get in touch if you’re looking to hire

If you’ve received a surprise resignation and are looking to hire the very best talent in tax, finance or accounting get in touch with me, Rory MacSween today on +44 (0) 20 3637 7808 or connect with me on Linkedin. Alternatively, if you’re planning your headcount or want impartial advice on the current market, please do get in touch with me.

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Will Short joins SRM to focus on Tax Director & Partner search


We’re delighted to welcome Will Short, a senior tax specialist, to the SRM family. We spoke to Will about why he recruits global tax leaders, the roles he can help you with and why he joined SRM Recruitment.

Will Short will be focusing on Tax Partner and Tax Director roles

You’re focusing on Tax Director roles and Tax Partner roles – tell us more

“The thing that really appeals to me is working with the most senior figures in the tax community and building long-lasting relationships. This is my niche and I’ll be focusing predominantly on tax leadership roles, at Partner and Director level in the UK, US, Europe and Asia. 

What drives you to help your senior tax candidates and organisations?

Knowing I’m helping to make an impact on an organisation is key. By bringing in the right person who will lead and grow a team, deliver growth strategies or real change within a business is what drives me. I’ll be working closely with the Big 4 accounting firms as well as mid-tier and strong independent tax practices.

What led you to specialise in senior tax roles?

I started my career as a client relationship manager at Towergate Insurance working with estate agencies and large property developers. Whilst I loved the people side of things I knew I wanted a more sales-focused role. 

I’d considered recruitment as a way to bring my skillsets together and I knew I wanted to move from Colchester to London. So when the opportunity to move into recruitment came up I jumped at the chance. I chose to focus on partner-level tax searches as I enjoy working with senior leaders and haven’t looked back.

I helped build a successful Tax Partner Search team in my first recruitment role before being headhunted by a competitor. In my new role, I focused on building my skillset from purely UK focused search to global search: delivering on large international growth programmes for the biggest professional service firms, working on team moves and key global and international leadership roles, as well as utilising my strong network in the UK, delivering on UK-focused tax searches.

What prompted the move to SRM?

Moving to SRM was an opportunity to bring together my UK and global experience in specialist tax search and to really have the freedom to build something of my own.

What appealed to you about SRM Recruitment?

I’d also heard good things about Rory MacSween (Co-Founder of SRM Recruitment who leads the tax recruitment team) he’s been recruiting tax roles for 13 years and is well known in the industry. The strong brand and reputation appealed.  

I like the overall approach the other Directors have too. They are a genuine group of people, which can sometimes be hard to find in sales-driven environments. Their level of experience also appealed as I knew I‘d be supported and have the freedom to grow.

Tell us a bit about you and your approach

I am honest and take a consultative approach and look to deliver the best results for both clients and candidates. I’d say I’m very personable, I enjoy spending time getting to know my clients and candidates personally as well as professionally.  I’m very family orientated and I like football – I support Chelsea but don’t let that put you off!”

Get in touch if you’re looking to hire Tax Partners and Tax Director roles

If you need help to source your next tax leader or want an honest conversation about your career, get in touch with Will Short today on +44 7931 984 295 or connect with him on Linkedin. 

Tax roles Will covers:

◽️ Tax Director roles
◽️ Tax Partner roles
◽️ Associate Partner roles
◽️ Associate Director roles
◽️ Executive Director tax roles

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How contract hires can save your finance team’s sanity


Most finance functions have been operating with lean or reduced headcount since the 2008 financial crisis. At the start of the covid-19 pandemic, the majority of Finance Directors were still operating lean functions or were even one or two heads down. 

Factor in the extra pressures due to the pandemic and it’s no surprise that demand for specialist finance contractors has remained consistent. 

Rob McKay, director of interim recruitment at SRM takes a look at why organisations are using contractors to bolster lean teams and how to ensure you hire the best finance contract professionals:  

Recognise the extra workload finance teams are facing

Finance holds the keys to the business and in a crisis, everyone needs to know where the cash is sitting. When we factor in extra demands for advice on government financial assistance to concerns about business stability and fluctuating demand, organisations have never required so much support from their accountants and finance specialists.

Understand the extra stress finance teams are facing 

On top of an increased workload, Adele Stickland, wellness in the workplace and resilience consultant says that morale in 2020 is low, for two key reasons:

◻️ People are tired of the pandemic and eager to get back to normal

◻️ Chaos of the pandemic has created an abnormal level of fatigue

As a result, many finance professionals are facing burn out. Action is needed to prevent resignations that may further destabilise the team. 

Work out where the pressure is internally

Next, understand exactly where the pressure is, why it’s there and what do you need to do to relieve it.

What’s the real reason you’re hiring?

Once you’ve figured out where the problems lie, it’s imperative to discuss the key reason you are hiring. What’s the one core job that needs to be done? This usually revolves around fixing a problem. The clearer you can be the more successful the hire. 

Use temps wisely to take the stress away from your permanent team 

Right now, organisations are hiring temporary finance staff to take on traditional accounting roles rather than forward-thinking commercial positions – management accountants, financial accountants and financial controllers are in particular demand.

This is a good strategy. It gives incumbent teams more interesting, future-focused work and at the same time alleviates stress as a good temp is a safe pair of hands to cover core accounting work.

Consider the cost of leaving finance teams to struggle as the pandemic evolves. Ensure workloads are still achievable and clear goals are in place to support the most important work. If they’re not, hire quickly or risk losing good people.

Rob McKay, Director of Interim Recruitment at SRM

It’s a myth that the economic outlook is dampening demand for finance professionals

Hospitality and retail are struggling and it goes without saying that these are testing times. However, most business closures and large scale redundancies are due to systemic business problems pre covid. 

Whilst there are more available candidates – we have heard of some organisations receiving hundreds of applications – it’s a myth that there are lots of people with the right skills for your temp role.

A specialist finance temp recruiter will know the talent pool of career temps well, the skill sets available and will have the ability to send you five good people to consider – saving you and the team time.

Interview within 24 hours of receiving your shortlist

In any market, good people and good finance temps are hard to come by – there’s a high turnover and you can’t assume there will be 15 strong people waiting for your role. 

So if you need a temp move quickly. An efficient interview process is critical. Aim to get all the interviews done in one session, there’s nothing more frustrating than losing out to a competitor with a more effective hiring process. If you wait, your shortlisted candidates won’t be around in a week’s time. 

Extending the contract – don’t lose out

As soon as you realise you may need to extend the contract talk to your temp. If you don’t discuss where the project is moving or leave it until a week before the contract ends, the temp will already be interviewing or have another role in place. Be open and honest on timeframes. In return, your temp will be honest about interviewing for roles.

Get in touch if you’re looking to hire contractors

If you need help to source the best career contractors in finance and accountancy get in touch with me, Rob McKay, director of interim recruitment today on +44 (0) 20 3637 7808 or connect with me on Linkedin.

Why organisations hire finance temps – the summary

◽️ Take the pressure off permanent employees 
◽️ Finance temps can hit the ground running and focus on a task or project
◽️ To access specialist skills needed to complete a project quickly
◽️ Fix a problem 
◽️ Cover traditional accounting work so the team can focus on more engaging work
◽️ When permanent headcount restrictions are in place
◽️ Maternity cover 
◽️ Long term sickness cover

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Seven ways to tackle unconscious bias in finance and tax recruitment

Unconscious bias is the biggest barrier to diversity in the workplace. Has the increased use of remote working tools inadvertently helped businesses to tackle bias in the recruitment process or has the rise of video had the opposite effect? 

We talked to Rory MacSween, co-founder of  SRM, and diversity specialist, Emma Waltham, to answer this question and discuss the seven steps hiring managers can take to counter bias in tax and finance recruitment. 

What is unconscious bias?

We all form opinions of people based on first impressions. Those snap judgements are influenced by our background, formative experiences and those around us. It’s the hidden influences, if you like, that can often lead us to unwittingly ‘hire in our own image’.

1. Recognise that everyone has preconceptions 

The first piece of advice for hiring managers is to recognise unconscious bias as a concept. So be aware and adopt an open mindset when recruiting. As recruiters, we’re encouraged by our clients to source as much information on candidates as possible – that’s our job. The way we present that information to hiring managers is incredibly important and needs to be carefully considered to counter bias.

2. Focus on skills

A good recruiter needs to consider all the variables when matching candidates to a hiring managers mandate. Whilst focusing on culture and team fit can be important, it’s more likely to encourage unconscious bias. Consider focusing on skills and abilities before any other aspect of the candidate’s profile.

Putting in technical assessments for candidates at the first stage is gradually becoming more common – before the client even sees a CV. This allows the client to decide which candidate CV’s to review based on their technical competency – resulting in more diverse short lists.

“Certainly, one positive effect we’ve seen from the Covid lockdown is a willingness to do first-round telephone-based interviews. Removing that initial face to face meeting is helping to remove some of the unconscious bias from the decision-making process.”

Rory MacSween, Director, Tax, SRM Recruitment

3. Make the hiring process ‘blind’

– Remove names on CVs
– Remove education
– Remove location-based information that could indicate ethnic background

We’ve seen examples of clients requesting names be removed from CVs. So they’re looking at candidate 1, 2 and 3 and so on. It’s one very simple thing you can do to remove unconscious decision making based on gender or ethnicity and make more skillset based interview decisions. 

Subconsciously, or not, we are less likely to hire someone with a different-sounding name. Ethnic minorities need to send 60% more CVs to get the same number of call-backs as this study from the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College shows. 

In the tax and accountancy worlds, education is important. Whether you went to a state school v a particular private school or whether you have a degree or are educated by experience. Many of us have strong feelings on this one and would deny this is a bias! 

It’s really not common to take institution names off CVs for example. But things are changing. If we think back, we used to routinely put our date of birth and marital status on CVs in the UK. 

It was resisted at the time but seems completely normal to us now.

We think we’ll see more moves to anonymise information on CVs.

It stands to reason that someone from a poorer background, for example, just won’t have had access to the same educational opportunities. Yet we often insist that candidates must have gone to a particular institution which then unwittingly rules out a more diverse short list. 

So, you could miss out on outstanding candidates who don’t fit the ‘norm’ but have exactly the right skills.

Focusing on transferable skills rather than CV gaps allows employers to tap into talent pools of experienced women who often have hard to source qualifications and expertise.

4. Phone interview people in the first round 

Video calls are a great way to build rapport but I think there’s a danger we may start to over-rely on this in the new world to the detriment of diversity. A lot of hiring managers are ‘seeing’ people earlier in the recruitment process than they ever would have done before. For example, some recruitment firms are now relying on ‘video based CVs’ where the candidate introduces themselves over a prerecorded video.  

Our advice is that phone interviews do help focus on skills, not appearance.

Of course, even hearing a candidate’s voice can form strong impressions.

“Change is happening. We are starting to see organisations who won’t consider a shortlist without a 50-50 gender split.”

Rory MacSween, Director, Tax, SRM Recruitment

5. Go back to your graduate / newly qualified intake 

Those working in finance and tax, especially at the senior levels, say that it’s a predominantly white, middle class and male environment. According to the UK Government’s Gender Equality Monitor, just 12% of FTSE 100 Finance Directors are women and only 15% are CFOs. The 2020 Parker Review showed that across the FTSE 350, 7.5% were directors of colour. 

As we don’t always have the most diverse talent pool to draw from, it’s important to give minority voices the best chance in the recruitment process.

Going back a step it’s also about actively sourcing broader intakes at entry-level. We need to consider the talent pools from schools feeding the accounting firms, who then feed into industry. 

“There are nearly half a million women with professional and managerial qualifications who aren’t currently working but who would like to return to work. They too often face bias when they try to return because hiring managers are wary of applicants when their work experience isn’t current or they have an employment gap. 

Focusing on transferable skills rather than the gap means hiring managers will tap into this valuable talent pool of experienced women, who often have hard-to-source qualifications and expertise.”

Emma Waltham, Careers After Maternity Expert www.emmawaltham.com/organisations

6. Work in partnership with a good recruiter 

A good recruiter should be actively consulting and shaping the hiring managers wish list, educating you on the talent pool and helping you consider alternative options. 

In the past, we have had clients with requirements as specific as “we only want a Phd from Oxford.”  We’d encourage hiring managers to widen their thinking so they do find the best possible candidates, not just the typical profile or indeed hiring in their own likeness. 

For example by looking at international talent pools.

7. Consider international talent 

As more finance and tax work is offshored or near shored and more centres of excellence grow outside the UK there is a diverse pool of candidates with UK relevant experience to draw from. 

These candidates may never have visited the UK but they understand our regimes and businesses. Considering someone who’s trained overseas can give those outstanding academic credentials and technical skills that clients are looking for. 

Of course, these days it’s a little harder to sponsor people but it’s all possible.

Get in touch if you’re looking to hire

If you’re looking to hire the very best talent in finance and accounting and across the tax market get in touch with me, Rory MacSween today on +44 (0) 20 3637 7808 or connect with me on Linkedin. We are real recruiters who actively headhunt the best talent, rather than rely on the same set of candidates from a database.

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Jim Smith joins SRM’s Welwyn finance recruitment team

We’re delighted to welcome specialist temporary finance recruiter, Jim Smith, to our Welwyn team. Jim tells us about his career, why he joined SRM and how he helps clients and candidates.

Jim Smith, our new specialist temporary finance recruiter covering the Northern Home Counties

“I’ve worked in finance recruitment for 15 years, working at Michael Page and most recently at Investigo where I focused on temporary and contract qualified finance recruitment for almost ten years. Having worked for two big recruitment firms, which I loved, the pull for me was the greater autonomy on offer with a smaller boutique business like SRM and the opportunity to grow a business.

When I spoke to SRM’s founders, Andrew Setchell, Stewart Robertson and Rory MacSween I knew we had the same philosophy. We’ve all been around long enough to know what we like and dislike about the industry. I found them upfront, honest and direct and that matched the way I’ve worked through my career. 

My partner, Liz has worked at SRM since the start of the year so I had inside knowledge it would be a good fit for me!  

Increasing the scope of my role

I’ve tripled my patch as it were. There are no restrictions to geographic boundaries or roles I can cover so the opportunity is bigger than anything I’ve experienced before, which is massively exciting.

As you grow in your career you no longer need the KPIs and closer management styles that are essential in your early days, so part of the appeal was the opportunity to set my own targets and work in a more flexible and adult environment.

A down to earth approach to specialist finance recruitment

SRM’s founders are investing in me and giving me free rein to build the business – that’s really why I decided to make the leap. The approach is refreshing and no-nonsense, basically do a good job and go home.

My focus on temporary qualified finance

My focus at SRM will be on temporary qualified finance recruitment across the Northern Home Counties. 

My clients say I’m a straightforward, attentive and consultative recruiter and my candidates appreciate my personal approach. I would describe myself as a down to earth person who treats others with respect.

“To my mind, Jim is the very essence of what a recruiter needs to be in the current climate. Friendly and on the ball from the outset, and once he has a role in mind for you, is helpful and thorough right through until the conclusion.”

John McInnes, Experienced QBE Accountant

I like to be able to look myself in the mirror at the end of the day and conduct myself in the right way. I’ve kept that approach from my early days recruiting for the big four accounting firms to today, where I’m working with commercial firms hiring newly qualified accountants to Finance Directors. 

I’m a well-rounded specialist finance recruiter hiring across all disciplines within Finance, from newly qualified accountants, Finance Managers, FP&A Managers, Financial Controllers to Finance Directors. It’s allowed me to build a strong network across a wide variety of industries – from SMEs to blue chips. 

Looking forward to connecting with new clients and candidates:

I’m a single Dad to a bright little boy who keeps me constantly on my toes, I love Man United and am currently attempting to learn to play Golf. I’m from a forces background and have lived all over the world. I was actually educated in Canada and went to nine different schools before I was 12 so I thrive going into new situations and meeting new people. I think that’s why I genuinely love recruitment and people.

I’m looking forward to working with new clients and candidates and as my partner Liz and I will be working together in the same office I’m looking forward to that too – I’m not phased by it at all!

“I have built a trusted working relationship with Jim and sincerely thank him for securing my latest role. I have found him to be a great person to deal with and confide in and we have built up a great rapport.

I would not hesitate in recommending Jim’s services to anyone seeking to develop their career.”

Charles Hancock
Senior Finance Manager, Welcome Break

Get in touch:

I’m really excited about where the finance recruitment market is going so if you’re looking to hire the very best talent in finance and accounting please do get in touch with me today. Or connect with me on LinkedIn. We actively headhunt the best specialist finance talent, rather than rely on the same set of candidates from a database.”

Read more:

Find out more about working for SRM Recruitment

Read Andrew Pal’s career story and why he made the move to SRM