For many thousands of people, accountancy represents a great career choice. One of the world’s most established and vital professions, this field of economic activity will always be in demand despite – or indeed because of – the continual spread of computer technology. Whereas accountancy software has been in circulation for many decades, this is still very much a tool which can be harmful in the wrong hands, and of high value in the right ones.
If accountants were worried about what technology would mean for their profession in the 1980s and 90s, they are not now. The need for individuals and organizations to prove their financial health and history is at least as important today as it has ever been. Companies, and sometimes countries, can stand or fall depending on the health of their “books”. Basically, as economies grow, so does the need for accountants. This means that qualified accountants who have healthy police checks can find work almost anywhere.
Rising Global Demand for Accountants
While accountancy has been around since before the invention of money, the 21st century is placing an ever larger range of demands on those who practice it. Chartered accountancy in particular offers clients a host of services beyond good book keeping. It is the ability to predict economic activity – both by the employer and in the wider world – which gives this profession such a high value. As artificial intelligence spreads throughout other spheres of industry, it is way behind chartered accountancy in providing insight.
It is no surprise, then, that accountancy standards are high. Indeed, there is now a recognized need for International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by competing economies, in order to ensure that different sized economies are playing by the same rules. This, in turn, means that accountants have to ensure they are qualified to these high standards. With this high level of international recognition, qualified accountants should be able to look for work in any location that suits their needs.
Police Checks for Work in Accountancy
In terms of police checks, an accountant applying for work should expect to pass a medium level test. In the UK’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) system, this is the Standard check. These checks cannot be requested by individuals themselves, but must be initiated by potential employers or a registered third party like CRBDirect.This is because the standard check discloses spent convictions, warnings and cautions, regardless of any penalty incurred. This may reveal certain aspects of a person’s history which an employer might decide makes them unsuitable.
Although countries around the world have their own standards and systems of police check, the UK police service’s ACRO certification is recognized by law enforcement agencies in the vast majority of global nations. In some countries, this is known as a police certificate; it is evidence that the holder has been cleared to a particular level. For accountancy work, a standard ACRO police check will be adequate to obtain almost any advertised vacancy.
Brexit and Recruitment of Accountants
Accountancy work is a result of economic activity. The more businesses there are, trading regularly and consistently, the more will be the need for accountants. Brexit has disrupted
economic activity in many ways, which was inevitable; this does not mean that demand for qualified accountants will increase or decrease necessarily. What it does mean is that people have to be flexible. In particular, the speculated relocation of financial services from London elsewhere is likely to result in a concomitant relocation of accountancy work.
Of course, in today’s world, that does not necessarily mean physical relocation; especially for technical work such as accountancy. In terms of future recruitment, many influencers are promoting remote working as the future of the profession. CEOs and boards of directors, however, like to see their accountants face to face at least once a year.
Overall, decisions made by large employers in the UK and EU will have the biggest impact on where accountants choose to live and work. In this context, having a valid Standard ACRO police check ready to go will give any potential recruit an advantage.
How Covid is Influencing Accountancy Recruitment
It is a well accepted truth that accountants do well in times of crisis. This is because individuals and institutions feel the need to assess their immediate situation in order to plan for the worst. This being the case, the recent and ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen a huge surge in the demand for qualified accountants. With online accountancy courses widely advertised and available, people looking for a new direction are suddenly discovering that this field of activity could be right up their street; especially as (so the theory goes) accountancy work does not necessarily mean having to meet people.
Of course, in the fullness of time, a large part of this narrative will prove to be false; however, in the meantime, accountancy has become one of the most popular – and therefore competitive – areas of recruitment. As part of this, being willing and able to relocate physically is sure to give any applicant an advantage. Obtaining a job as an accountant requires at least a Standard police check; this is a process which takes weeks rather than days.
The Value of Police Checks
There will be many factors which sort the wheat from the chaff in the upcoming scramble for accountancy jobs. One very important one, however, will be the ability to live and work in another country thanks to a recognized international police check. As accountants are expected to be trustworthy, the UK’s Standard level will be required by employers and recruiters as a minimum.
As accountancy work necessarily means investigating financial transactions, it could be that issues of child protection and vulnerable adult safety come into play, especially in today’s online environment. As much as keeping up with professional qualifications, having the standard level of police check is sure to be a very wise position to be in as current trends work themselves out.