Published on 8th February 2017
Insolvency has always been something of a niche area. Even within accountancy it is often overlooked by young talent as a career path, despite it being one of the most profitable business areas.
It stands alone from other traditional areas of accountancy such as tax and audit. This is due to the fact insolvency is best understood as falling somewhere between law and accountancy. The work is often very legislation focused and whilst it requires a fundamental knowledge of accounts you do not need to be a qualified accountant.
I personally believe this to be insolvency’s biggest selling point as it offers a strong career path for talented graduates with academic backgrounds in either accounting, finance, business or law. It can particularly suit those individuals who have gone to university with every intention of becoming accountants or lawyers but later found that it wasn’t quite right for them. For these graduates, insolvency can offer the perfect alternative career path.
Why then does it remain so difficult to attract talent to junior insolvency positions?
The answer is education. Whenever I meet with an insolvency candidate I always ask them the same question, whether they have been in the profession for 12 months or 12 years: “How did you get into insolvency?”
Without fail the answer always comes back the same. They ‘fell into it’, elaborating that when they started out in their career they actually had no idea what insolvency was! This is because not enough is done to educate school leavers, graduates and trainees about what insolvency is and what a career within the industry looks like.
So how can this be rectified?
Put simply companies need to work more closely with schools, universities and colleges to partner with them, presenting insolvency as a career path that would otherwise not have been thought of.
Some firms are already doing this. Duff & Phelps for example have partnered with Loughborough University and are enjoying great success bringing placement students through to full time employees who can kick start their careers as soon as they leave university. EY are also doing some really good work bringing school leavers through on their own trainee/apprenticeship schemes, offering another route into work for those who leave school with strong numerical academic achievements, but do not want to continue with the study and examinations required when moving into accountancy.
Yet still more needs to be done to attract talent into the industry. More firms need to be proactive in sourcing young talent to meet the demands of growing firms. The market is picking up and there simply aren’t enough juniors being brought through to cope with the increasing workloads that the market upturn is creating.