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ACA newly qualified salary guide

16 December 2014

Congratulations – you’re ACA qualified! Now it’s time to understand your options.

We’ve created this guide to provide you with insight into how salary rates vary and which sectors provide the most opportunity to progress your career, to help you make an informed decision as to what career path to choose.

Average salary rates by sector:





Interim rates    


























Financial services











£45,000 - £50,000

£40,000 - £48,000





Property/real estate

Property investment is a very buoyant market for newly qualified ACA candidates entering this sector, with the high expectation of clients raising salary requirements to the upper levels.

£55k is an achievable salary for exceptional ACA candidates. Candidates with property/corporate finance experience can expect this to increase to around £60k.

Bonus potential within this industry is usually based on company and individual performance.  


Newly qualified ACA candidates in this sector can expect above average salaries, typically around £45k, or more for those candidates with specific industry experience.

Start-up renewable energy companies have varied budgets however, depending on their size, level of funding and their life-cycle position, so this will vary.

Bonuses and benefits are generally better than average in the energy sector.

Technology & telecoms    

In this industry there is more of a focus on experience and sector background rather than a specific demand for newly qualified ACA candidates.

Typical salaries range from £40k to £50k depending on the turnover of the business. With a high proportion of technology clients start-up/entrepreneurial in nature, salaries tend to be a little lower with other incentives on offer as part of the compensation package.  


This is an industry of choice for many ACA candidates with the opportunity to work in a creative environment. Working for a brand business or for a client with a tangible product is often a very attractive incentive.

Because of the high demand from candidates to enter this market base salaries tend to be slightly lower than average. Typical salaries range between £36k and £45k.  


As with the media industry retail is very popular with newly qualified ACA candidates, particularly the luxury brands. Candidates tend to be a lot more flexible with the type of role to get into the market and gain experience in the industry.

Retail and marketing analyst roles are the most popular jobs for candidates looking to move into retail.

Retail client experience can also give candidates the edge over qualified accountants without experience in this market. A large number of analysts and finance managers gain experience within the role.

Financial Services

The financial services market continues to be turbulent for both clients and candidates.

Clients recruiting consistently through 2012 include asset and investment managers and insurance companies. However other financial services clients have a degree of unease in this market.

Limited recruitment by tier 1 investment banks has reduced the number of opportunities for ACA candidates to move directly into banking. A number of ACA candidates with 0-2 years part-qualified experience continue to work for banks but are looking to move on given the current climate.

Legal & consultancy

Many of the Magic and Silver Circle firms tend to look for experience over qualification, however there is still real interest in recruiting newly qualified ACA candidates.

Experience of auditing law firms and having SAR experience is an advantage.

For smaller law firms and consultancy businesses the average entry level salary is around £45k.


The FMCG sector is a competitive market with high expectations placed on candidates. Candidates are attracted to this market by high profile consumer goods clients, leading to strong competition and demand for job opportunities.

Salary levels tend to be slightly lower than other top paying markets due to the career opportunities on offer, however candidates can generally expect a better work-life balance within this industry.

Not for profit

For candidates looking for an improved work-life balance the not for profit sector would be a good career move.

Although salaries are generally lower in this sector candidates are usually attracted by the benefits on offer. These tend to include flexible working hours, longer annual leave allowance and a more relaxed working environment.

For those moving into the charity sector the prospect of a more fulfilling and rewarding career is also a big factor.

What’s next?

Still unsure as to how to choose the best career path for you? Read our ‘next steps’ guide to help you make an informed decision.

At Morgan Hunt, we understand what clients look for in newly qualified candidates. We work closely with you to provide advice and guidance, ensuring you make the best career move.

Get in touch today – call Rob Anderson on 0207 419 8909 or [email protected].


The impact of welfare reform on housing associations

05 December 2014

Morgan Hunt explores the issues for skills with Procurement for Housing (PfH) 

Procurement for Housing (PfH) is a national procurement organisation dedicated to the needs of the social housing sector. It is a member organisation that collectively manages over 75% of the UK’s social housing stock. 
Morgan Hunt works with housing associations to help them recruit social housing talent. Part of this collaboration involves working in partnership with them to plan and resource their skills requirements. 
Welfare reform has been one of the biggest social shakeups in Britain since the war and deserves some time analysing the impact this will have on the workforce. Follow for thefull article in PfH.
Whichever side of the welfare reform fence you’re on, one thing that most will agree with is that it’s going to get hotter, tougher and messier and looks set to consume a lot more airtime and media coverage.
Iain Duncan Smith took on a big challenge, without any strong background in social welfare. To his credit he has stuck with it even if at times he appears to be carrying an increasingly furrowed brow of late. 
Few could argue with the logic; one payment which combines six working-age benefits and credits for many different life needs that was expected to make efficiencies across a whole spectrum of separate departments and functions. The reform has been batted around parliament, incessantly debated, and while the top level logic makes sense, the devil is in the detail. 
Housing is an integral element in the welfare mix. For a start there is a housing shortage and the rent is the most expensive component of the welfare payment, messing with the payment system, messes with the family budget too. Most people in tight situations will struggle with competing priorities, and PfH members will be juggling with a range of challenges, including rent payment, that they will need to support tenants in.
The job of housing association just doesn’t stop there. They provide a whole range of services for vulnerable people who live in their homes. These are often people who have a range of social issues, who need direction and support from their housing association that includes not just the rent payment, but for other budget areas too. 
Empowering people in the management of their own household budget lies at the heart of Government reform. This is a thread that runs through all reform programmes. Under the new system the general rule implies that payment goes directly to the tenant and no longer the landlord. 
Other complications in housing reform include ‘under occupancy’ and ‘personal independence’ and when the overall payment is squeezed to the barest minimum there is likely to be a consequence. 

How does this impact skills

The change is radical. Some say that it has to be in order to make a difference. But as with all change programmes the detail is not certain. Certainty only comes with experience; having done it before, practical contact with observation and fact, knowledge and skills acquired in the process. In light of the whole welfare system changing, technically speaking no one is an expert. New skills are required to deal with the fallout.
Worth noting is the independent review of the Universal Credit that is due in April. A rubber stamp on this will be the final calling card for housing associations to re-assess their strategies, services, workforce requirements, and associated skill base. 

Find out more information on the new skills requirements.

Morgan Hunt offer a consultative service to help you and your organisation find the kind of social housing skills that will ensure the continuity of your mission. For more information contact the housing team or call 0207 419 8900.



The real point about diversity

Why quota and targets will consistently fail organisations

The real point about diversityMany companies place diversity statements on their websites, issue statements in their HR packs, in annual reports and have processes and procedures in place to help them achieve their pledges. But a large number fail to meet diversity targets despite their well-meaning efforts. The numbers simply don’t stack up in many organisations.

There are many brands of diversity

Regardless of scale or dominant ethnic group in organisations the challenge on the diversity mix is the same. Even our own public sector has been accused of favouring those with previous public sector experience, reminiscent of ‘closed-shops’ and private sector the same.

Public services need representation across all diversity groups and the Metropolitan Police has just announced that they missed their targets with the proportion of new ethnic minority recruits failing to achieve quotas despite a concerted drive to improve on the percentages.

So what is the point about Diversity and why do targets fail?

There was a chart topping song released in the 60’s, Melting Pot by Blue Mink -   the Lyrics of which had a vision of a beautiful dream but although well intended for its time missed the diversity point and that point continues to be missed today.

Diversity has nothing to do with quota, or blending people but everything to do with embracing all perspectives and Myers Briggs’s description of ‘celebrating differences’ is an excellent way of articulating all difference into the work place. Difference in cognitive functions creates misunderstandings in perceptions, attitude, behaviour, preference and decisions, and hairline cracks in any of these can result in huge chasms if people don’t understand each other.

In the commercial setting, logically, why would enterprise not want to create services or products that appeal to all types, and in public service, why would they not want to deliver with unfettered communication and ease.

Diversity has to be seen as a positive thing, that helps the business and not just seen as a target. It’s a core value that says ‘we need the opinions and inputs every type of person before we can make any progress’.  As a recruiter Morgan Hunt is often restricted by tight job briefs where a requirement for specific industry experience can override aptitude and diversity.

The problem with targets is that they are numeric without attachment or accountability for the products or services delivered and this is why they will always fail. Diversity should be sponsored by HR but owned by innovators, investors, front line workers and executive teams, the very people who are accountable for converting raw resources into deliverables and wealth, which is not often the case.

HR cannot manage diversity; it’s not something that you manage, it’s a living, breathing, thinking, feeling part of what wealth creation is all about.

The point about diversity is for positive outcomes taking into account a full and rounded dimension of all perspective and companies will not be able to thrive without it.

Morgan Hunt works with public sector organisations and understands the diversity issue. For more information on Morgan Hunt jobs and our diversity workshops email.


Five social care careers you may not have considered

05 December 2014

Whether you've always wanted to work in social care, or already work in social housing and want to explore new opportunities, Morgan Hunt shows you the careers you might not have considered within the sector from the people who know. We asked our top candidates how they came to be in the profession, what a typical day is like, why they do it & the pro’s & cons of the job to get some insight into what working in social care is really like, this is what they had to say...


Drug & alchohol worker

Chris Nicklin is an Alcohol practitioner for Aquarius in North England

"I had previously worked in the construction industry for many years but after a drop-in available employment options, together with health factors, I decided to retrain. I started going to night classes on a level 2 certificate in counselling and over the years progressed through numerous qualifications resulting in a Master of Science in Psychotherapeutic Counselling.

A typical day for me at work is never typical, you never quite know what you're going to get. This is what makes my job so varied, enjoyable and challenging. It can be difficult but very rewarding too.
I can honestly say I have never for one moment regretted the decision to retrain, and although it has taken hard work, commitment and sacrifice, I wouldn’t change a thing".


Support worker

Vicki Shattock is a support worker at St Basils in the Midlands

“I started off by training to be a theatre nurse. Although I qualified, I knew all along it wasn't the right thing for me. I wanted to have more direct support with people and make a difference to their lives. I am now working as a Support Worker for a homeless charity for 16-25 year olds.

A typical day for me is dealing directly with their housing support needs, sorting out benefits, finding them appropriate housing. Liaising with multi-agency organisations, I also deal with varied mental health issues, teenage pregnancy, and other such health related issues. No two days are the same and some days can be so chaotic and emotionally challenging, but I know we make a difference to most of the young people we work with which is why I do it”.


Substance misuse officer

Sue is a substance misuse officer in Birmingham

“After qualifying as a counsellor in the Summer of ‘99, I had gained a whole host of new skills and didn't know what to do with them. I bought the Birmingham Evening Mail and applied for a post at a prison, I was unsuccessful but was instead offered a post at HMYOI Stoke Heath as a CARAT worker and since then I haven't looked back.

The reason I wanted to work in this field was that I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives by allowing them to explore their lifestyles. I wanted to be able to give them an opportunity to make informed choices in addressing their substance/alcohol misuse.  I now work in the community, predominantly with dependent drinkers, my current day to day duties involve; making comprehensive assessments, devising tailor made care plans, making risk assessments and conducting one to one sessions, and this is just the basics. I deal with the “here and now" issues my clients are faced with but my main aim is to support people who want to make lifestyle changes and want to do something about it! I actively promote recovery and the support networks that are available in the wider community whether they are abstinent or have controlled drinking.”


Operations Manager

Stephen Lewis is an Operations Manager for Great Places Housing Group in Merseyside

“Like many people I ‘fell’ into a career with housing – I did a bit of volunteering at a local night shelter, and this ignited a bit of a spark in me to work in homelessness services.  I moved round a bit within my company, and ended up managing a couple of supported housing schemes and a floating support service.  It’s great seeing chaotic clients come into the service, and get the quality support that they need to stabilise their lives and move on into more independent accommodation.

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ in this role – as much of a cliché as it sounds, every day is different!  If you like being busy, and enjoy a lot of variety in your job, then supported housing is definitely a good choice. There’s a massive variety and range of opportunities to get involved in – great if you’ve got a short attention span like me!”


Substance misuse practitioner

Steve Guinan is a Substance Misuse Practitioner for Aquarius in Shrewsbury

After working at care homes, homeless hostels, supporting housing projects and providing outreach support for many years I used this experience and ongoing training to become a substance misuse practitioner – it is a varied role where I can adapt to different surroundings, work with others, (staff members, medics, clients and partner agencies) working on my own managing caseloads, seeing people who need support (one to one and also in a groups/workshops) I also take part in multi-disciplinary meetings such as child protection meetings and community partnership forums. 

I have worked for and still continue to work for some fine organisations with fantastic people.  I have seen time and time again recovery is more than possible.   The positive changes that are made can result in the increase of self-confidence, motivation, feelings of achievement moving into a better place where everyone concerned can feel that forward pull, reassurance and safety. To be able to have the opportunity to be involved to help someone to bounce back is a key factor in my job satisfaction.

If you’re feeling inspired to get involved in social work don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Morgan Hunt consultant today, our consultants work on a personal and consultative basis with our candidates. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can assist you with your job search.


Digital marketing skills shortage

05 December 2014

Surge in demand for digital marketers leads to skills shortage across marketing sector

Where are all the digital marketing professionals? With 71% of businesses planning to increase their investment in digital marketing, the demand for specialist digital marketers with strong content creation, social media, SEM and online community management expertise has significantly increased.

Brands are increasingly taking advantage of digital channels for the delivery of their marketing campaigns in response to the shift in the way companies communicate with their audiences. Today there is a real focus on building communities and using content and social media to facilitate brand engagement directly with audiences to develop an awareness, as well as an affinity, with that brand. It’s not just about increasing brand exposure but establishing a position in the digital market as a thought-leader, driving quality traffic to the site, lead generation and improved search rankings.

The result? A shift in mindset to prioritise investment in digital marketing, resulting in new roles being created by employers to move their digital marketing in-house where it may have been previously outsourced.

Talent shortage within digital marketing sector

The Econsultancy/Responsys Marketing Budgets 2013 Report revealed that 71% of businesses plan to increase their investment in digital marketing compared with 20% looking to increase their offline marketing spend. In addition, a 2013 report looking into content marketing in the UK by the Content Marketing Institute revealed that 94% of respondents use the tactic in their campaigns.

This surge in demand for digital marketing professionals from companies looking to quickly step up their game in this space has inevitably led to a skills shortage across the marketing sector. Unsurprisingly, the limited number of experienced and skilled candidates seeking a new job don’t stay on the market for long.

Latest employment data from The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) - the APSCo monthly hiring trends report - reveals that the marketing and media recruitment sector continues to suffer from a talent shortage. Permanent placements have collapsed by 21% year on year, but actual job openings have risen by 2% - indicative of an ongoing shortage of experienced and available digital marketing candidates.

Offline marketing still key

Despite this change in emphasis there is still a demand for marketing professionals with an offline marketing background – particularly evident within the charity and not for profit sectors where there is still a strong focus on print and offline marketing as key strategies.

There is also increasing uncertainty from businesses regarding digital marketing's ROI, with 18% of respondents to the Econsultancy/Responsys report rating their understanding of it as 'poor' or 'very poor' – an increase from 10% in 2010.

With many digital marketing strategies still in their infancy, it’s time to up-skill and gain experience within these sought-after sectors; evolving your career to meet the changing demands of the market.

At Morgan Hunt our dedicated marketing and communications team maintains in-depth knowledge of the sector. We understand how industry and market developments affect hiring trends and we’re able to advise clients on effective recruitment strategies and advise our candidates on how to adapt career plans to the changing requirements of the market. To find out more contact us or email [email protected].


Want a career in marketing? Here's how..

05 December 2014

Are you a pro at coming up with slogans? Have you got a passion for statistics, research and creative writing?  Or perhaps you just want to put your mad men box set to good use.

Whatever the reason, if you’re the person who always gets asked to contribute to communications, effortlessly handles presentations and is always jotting down ideas for the next great TV ad, you might find a career in marketing a rewarding and exciting prospect. Not sure where to start? Here’s some top roles to whet your appetite and our top tips on how to improve your chances to securing them.

Marketing Assistant

What they do: Supporting the marketing manager, you’ll be at the heart of driving marketing campaigns for the department. An important cog in the marketing wheel, you'll be expected to be involved at all levels, including drafting press releases, updating clients and organising promotional events.

What you need: Competition to start a career in marketing is fierce and applicants with a degree in marketing, business or commerce will have an advantage over other applicants but this isn’t necessarily the case all the time.

Earning potential:  At an entry level position you can look to earn anything up from £17k but once you get some experience this can rise to anything between £18K - £25K.

Perfect for: People who like to be behind the scenes.

View all marketing assistant roles >

PR & communications

What they do: Working with the media to portray a positive reputation through communication,  building good relationships and creating understanding between an organisation and its public.

What you need: To be successful in PR and communications, the ability to build relationships with people is essential. It’s not all air kisses and muahs daahhling.  It’s a real understanding of influencing opinion and behaviour to protect reputation.

Earning potential: A £16,000 - £24,000 starting salary but as with anything, it depends on the type of company you work for.

Perfect for: People with good communication skills, powers of persuasion and can spin a good yarn.

View all PR and communication roles >

Digital Marketer

What they do: Digital marketing roles have a special focus on all things “online”, typically complimenting the offline marketing of the business and digitally transferring it via website, social media and search facilities.

What you need: Have a strong interest in digital trends, creativity, excellent copy writing skills and the ability to throw around technical terminology is essential. There are no specific qualifications that are a requirement for this role but any qualifications that demonstrate a strong familiarity with the internet and web design is a bonus.

Earning potential: Can vary greatly depending on the size and profitability of the company. While it is often in line with the salary of offline marketers (typical salaries ranging between £25,000 and £40,000) but with specialised skills in related fields like e-commerce, digital marketers can end up earning more than their offline counterparts.

Perfect for: People who are the first to download that new app everyone’s talking about and then review it to the enth degree.

View all digital marketing roles >

Market Research

What they do: Plan, implement, control, analyse and report on information that you gather. The data you collect will normally revolve around what organisations or people buy, need, do or think and the reasons why.

What you need: An analytical mind and strong knowledge of statistics.  An interest in psychology and behavioural science helps too.

Earning potential:  Starting on £15,000 to £20,000 a year which, with experience, would rise to around £28,000.

Perfect for: People who like collecting and interpreting data.

View all marketing research roles >

Top tips

1.       Set your Goals
The first step is the most difficult. Visualise the job you want. If the end goal is a stretch too far at this point, break it down into realistic and achievable steps.

2.       Know your capabilities
It’s time to look in the mirror and get to grips with your own strengths and weaknesses. Be brutally honest, know where you are in relation to your goal, but don’t let this put you off. You’re on a journey and that journey may take you onto some ‘B’ roads before you hit the motorway.

3.       Get a Personal Development Plan
Craft a Personal Development Plan and decide what actions you need to take to reach your goals. Be specific, make your actions measurable and write a date in which you are going to hit the milestones and stick to them!

4.       Take advantage of the many opportunities for in-house training that working in the charity sector offers. Talk to your line-manager about doing external courses or gain additional experience by shadowing others. If you’re working with suppliers they often offer free events to join that will add to your knowledge base. Take advantage of any free learning that is going on offer.

5.       Talk to someone who is where you want to be
Find someone doing what you want to do. Now that you have a role model ask yourself what is it about them that has made them successful. Maybe sit and have a coffee with them and talk about their career journey. Find out their secrets-of-success. You will find that people are often more than happy to talk about themselves and offer this key information quite freely.

6.       Connect with others
Build connections with people who can help you. Join communities and professional networks – these may be specific functional groups or skill-specific associations. Build a LinkedIn profile. Be relevant to their conversations and be prepared to hold your own opinions. It’s important to share your passion but stay on piste and develop an antenna to tamper down when necessary.

7.       Be prepared for change
Change is constant – get on board or get left behind. Keep your eyes-open to new deployments in your sector and do not be afraid to offer your services and get stuck in to any new project.

8.       Brush-up on your knowledge
Keep abreast of your profession, read sector related magazines and journals attend events and talk to people in commerce to get a fresh and up-to-date perspective.

9.       Adopt a commercial mind-set
Providing value-for-money in the charity sector is not good enough. The whole sector wants to see a measurable cost benefit and accountability for service delivery. Demonstrate that you can not only achieve targets but know how you can make these relevant to your publics.

10.   Finally...
Passion and ambition is infectious. Your drive and energy will elevate you to stand out in the crowd. Be generous with your ideas and treat others how you wish to be treated yourself.

The Morgan Hunt marketing and comms team has extensive experience in connecting great candidates with exciting vacancies in the charities, not-for-profit, education and arts and heritage organisations. Contact us or call the team on 0207 419 8900 to find out more.


CIMA qualified? Choose your career route.

04 December 2014

Congrats. You’re CIMA qualified! Now what?

Sit back and watch the offers roll in? No. Step it up a gear to differentiate yourself from other newly qualified's (NQs) because you’re not alone. This is the time to think about your future and getting ahead of the competition.

Choose your career path now


CIMA prepares you for a career in business. As a newly qualified CIMA, typically your career path will follow either:

  • Commercial and strategic-biased roles

Utilising your analytical, planning (FP&A) and strategic skills, cross-function communication and providing key support to drive business performance.

  • Financial planning and managing risk

Utilising the technical elements of your studies and practical experience to develop into a finance manager, financial controller and ultimately finance director.

Decide your route first. How? What is your experience to date and do you need to expand your skill set?

Experience checklist


  • Who are your day to day interactions with?
  • Who are your key stakeholders?
  • What day to day engagement do you have in the business?
  • Is your experience practical or theoretical? Hint: Bulk up your practical – theory is not enough.

Do I stay or do I go?

Do you stay with your existing employer or take this opportunity to move? Ask yourself:


  • Have you had an internal review with regards to your career path?
  • Are your career ambitions in line with your company’s expectations of your potential progression?
  • Are you recognised for your success?
  • Do you want more?


So, what’s out there?

If you decide to move, it’s important to know what’s out there. Do you see yourself developing in the finance sector within a corporate company or an SME?  In the current climate, as a newly qualified CIMA these are your routes to market:


The corporate tends to offer marginally higher salaries and more comprehensive benefit packages.

Commercial finance & strategy

Typical roles: Commercial Analyst | Business Analyst | Financial Analyst

Operate cross-functionally with other key stakeholders teams and departments.
Provide the link between finance and operations. 

Financial management

Typical roles: Finance Manager | Financial Controller

These positions are the more traditional management accounting roles.

This path is about career development through position and provides excellent direction up to Finance Director.


Remuneration and benefits tend to be a marginally lower compared to the corporate companies.

Commercial finance and strategy

The larger SMEs offer commercial business partner roles but to a lesser extent than a corporate. The advantage of the SME is the potential for more varied and broader based roles that provide more in-depth experience that will add strong value to your new qualification and CV.

Financial management

The opportunity to secure a finance manager or financial controller role is greater in an SME.

Contrary to public opinion, the public sector and charity sector still offers excellent opportunities for the newly qualified CIMA. It is in fact the revamp and commercialisation of these sectors that has generated the demand to attract newly qualified CIMA talent. The analytical and financial business partner positions are there for the taking whether you have qualified from a commercial business or with existing skills in these areas.  

Salary expectations

Read our salary guide to see what you're worth.

This guide provides market insight into how salary levels vary across different sectors and which sectors offer the most opportunities for newly qualified CIMA candidates.

How do I stand out from the NQ masses?

First impressions count. Get your ducks in a row. Consistency across all the mediums through which you portray your skills is key. And yes, this includes your online brand. Pay as much attention to building your online brand as you do to writing your CV.

Here are some highlights:

  • Promote your achievements and how your role has developed.
  • Include details of your company, the turnover, costs, any direct reports and your systems skills.
  • Include details of any key stakeholders and the level of that engagement (don't forget to include your boss).

Think you’re done? What about the interview preparation. Your skills get you through the door but it’s down to you to sell yourself.

You’re in demand. You have the tools. It’s down to you to utilise them in the right way to develop your career. At Morgan Hunt, we can help you navigate your journey to success. Get in touch – call Rob Anderson on 0207 419 8909 or email [email protected].