The Wrap: Accounting and Finance Market Update

In this edition of The Wrap, Hunter Campbell Founding Partner Lee Marshall gives an update on what has been happening in the Accounting and Finance job market in what is traditionally one of the busiest recruitment months of the year. 

Surge in jobs being recruited 

We always expect March to be a big month – roles that were held off being advertised over the summer holidays and vacancies created by those who reflect on their career over the break and decide it is time for a change come on to the market. A cyclical effect is created, with job movement typically continuing through to Easter and beyond.

In the Accounting and Finance world, this March is no exception. In fact, it is the busiest we’ve ever seen it in nearly seven years in business as Hunter Campbell.  Though the preliminary data for ANZ’s New Zealand Business Outlook for March shows a decline in business confidence, we are not seeing this translate through to hiring decisions in this space.

There are a couple of reasons for the market being busy apart from the time of the year and the ongoing economic disruption. Firstly, the organisations we partner with have taken the fluctuating alert levels in their stride. Auckland has experienced two lockdowns in quick succession, yet not a single job we were recruiting was put on hold because of this.  There is no hesitation from business to recruit replacement roles and a healthy level of newly created positions are also available. Most of the current vacancies are at the junior to mid-level, and as is to be expected, there are fewer roles at the senior level and there is fierce competition for these.

Secondly, Accounting and Finance professionals are fundamental to organisational operations so we didn’t see as much of a downturn as we did in some other areas during COVID. However there was a slowdown in Business Partnering roles last year with the focus switching to Technical Accounting.  This is no longer the case, and there is a good mix of roles available.

More candidates searching

One thing we have noticed that is outside of the norm is a change in the profile of candidates returning to New Zealand from overseas. Usually, these candidates would be professionals with around 3-5 years post qualified experience who are coming home after their OE. Now we are seeing an influx of people returning at all levels, from newly qualified through to senior, experienced professionals.

Last year a lot of people were reluctant to move roles with job security being the number one priority. This has changed somewhat and more people are now open to, or actively seeking, a new opportunity. Job security remains important but the factors that are usually top of candidates wish lists are featuring more prominently again: criteria such as company culture, leadership, opportunities for promotion and development, and of course, salary packages. We are also seeing upward pressure on salaries, with top talent able to command a premium.

A demand and supply imbalance – what this means for hiring managers

Despite there being more jobs and more candidates available, we’re still in a situation where the demand for good people is outstripping supply. In a number of instances candidates have received multiple offers, and that’s not something we’ve seen since before the start of COVID. In this environment, hiring managers should not delay if you want to secure top talent.

The good news is that there is a pool of extremely talented Accounting and Finance professionals looking for opportunities.


We’ve also seen a huge increase in the volume of contracting roles in the market with this month being the busiest month for more than a year. This is across the board, from Transactional Accounting through to Interim CFO opportunities.

Confidence seems to be high across a range of industries and we are especially seeing a lot of new interim roles within FMCG, Manufacturing, Retail, Property and Technology.

As mentioned above, there is a steady stream of professionals coming back from overseas and many are taking up contract roles, either while they search for longer-term opportunities or because they intend to head back overseas when it is safe.

We are expecting this demand to continue increasing as businesses are starting to ramp up their 2021 plans. We have a number of organisations that have expressed interest in acquiring interim talent in the Technical / Financial reporting space – candidates with a grounding in audit and exposure to complex Financial Reporting / Consolidations / IFRS standards will be in high demand over the next three to six months.

Our team is growing!

This year we’ve welcomed two new Senior Consultants to our team, Sam Pritchard and Luke Spratt, who have both joined us from industry-leading recruitment firms in London.

Sam and Luke are both recruiting mid to senior level Accounting positions, with Sam focusing on permanent roles and Luke specialising in contract and temporary jobs.

Sam and Luke’s contact details are on our website, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Future CFO

Our second Future CFO programme kicks off this month. Developed by Hunter Campbell, the programme assists middle and senior Finance professionals to develop the skills they need to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Future CFO includes mentoring, networking and career development support. Participants attend Leader Forums, where experienced CFOs and business leaders share insights on their careers and discuss topics including working with Boards and the CEO:CFO relationship. At the end of the programme, participants join the Future CFO Alumni and continue to be part of wider Hunter Campbell Finance networks.

If you’re interested in being notified about the next intake for the programme, send us an email at

Lee Marshall is a Founding Partner of Hunter Campbell, specialising in the recruitment of Accounting and Finance roles. For more news and views visit our website by clicking here, see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn.

Back to Insights