ACCURACY AND BUDGETARY CONTROL
A SECTOR UNDER OBSERVATION
This sector is described as one of the major promoters of the economic crisis worldwide. However, along with the Construction and Real Estate sectors, it is also the one that suffered the most from it. As a consequence, recovery is far from happening. While 2009 was a year of general restraint, and medium and small companies invested in Financial Controller profiles, 2010 saw moderate restraint, and focused on the profitability and effectiveness of procedures. It is fundamental to maximise the efficiency of resources, reduce waste, and rely on accuracy, in order to satisfy the demands of the budget control on behalf of shareholders and in order to show that the market margins continue being under close supervision.
The demand for financial profiles has been limited to what is strictly necessary, and took place when the processes of internal mobility were insufficient or inappropriate, obliging employers to recruit externally. The investments were centralised almost only on the analysis of efficiency, the rigidity of procedures, and the recovery of finance in order to establish Treasury balance. The people hired were those related to Internal Auditing, Financial Controlling, and Management Controlling.
Broadly speaking, Chief Accountants and Controlling roles maintained the same level of demand, except for top management profiles, which saw a slight decrease, but quickly recovered in the second half of 2010. Profiles related to sales and banking operations were not required due to the collapse of the sector which resulted in internal restructuring.
The stagnation (or, in some cases, decrease) of salary packages prevented the dynamism of the financial sector from occurring and caused the redefinition of certain profiles. Here, we refer to ‘Middle Senior’ positions, created to meet the needs of a market not willing to adapt salary packages to roles. This dynamic allowed less experienced profiles to assume strategic and more demanding positions, while at the same time increasing the risk for the employer. It is obviously antithetic, as the budget for 2010 was of a strict nature not allowing errors to be made.
It is still worth mentioning the growing importance of language skills. The English language is no longer the accessory for professionals in the financial area. Spanish is the new requirement, as the market moves to Iberia, and, above all, globally. It is also worth highlighting the importance of soft skills which are extremely important from an employer’s point of view.
The amendments made at the Order of Chartered Accounts require professionals to undertake an exam and undergo training, which has been difficult for qualified professionals over the past three years. Instead, they have chosen the Auditing and Controlling sectors in order to escape accounting and taxation. Therefore, there was a significant decrease in recognised junior Chartered Accountants.
Except for some Risk Management Control or Financial Control profiles, whose salaries were moderately increased due to a greater demand, the stagnation or reduction of salary packages occurred in 2010. The financial sector bears similarities to other sectors in that salary reductions were compensated by fringe benefits, such as Health Insurance, Life Insurance, and Pension Plans. The variable component, mandatory for senior or top management profiles, were extended to less experienced professionals, especially in the form of quarterly, biannual, or annual bonuses. As a result motivating professionals to achieve particular targets and associate their performance with the performance of the organisation is therefore made possible.
There are not likely to be many changes regarding the economic situation worldwide and the national austerity measures, which will be implemented soon, will prevent the Financial sector from having a positive development in 2011. Employers are likely to continue to need positions such as Internal Auditors and Management Controllers, in order to ensure the limited budget is respected. We are not likely to see any salary changes either, as this sector does still not have a defined recovery strategy.