High quality accountants are more in demand than many realise, a recent survey by Robert Half Financial Services has found. This could mean mixed outcomes for accountants and freelancers or small businesses, as the cost of services could soon be set to change.

According to 99% of executives surveyed, it’s now a big challenge to find skilled financial services professionals. This shows that, despite the public perception that these professionals are in abundance, in reality there is a shortage of specialists within the field; this is then resulting in an imbalance in service fees.

Phil Sheridon, Managing Director of Robert Half said:

“This war for talent has pushed up salaries for top-tier professionals, and companies are paying a premium to secure the best the market has on offer. This has created an imbalance among tenured staff whose remuneration has not kept pace, leading to retention fears.”

 The study found that there has been a development in career opportunities outside London, resulting in many of the “basic accounting activities” being moved to Birmingham, Glasgow, Bournemouth and others, as well as offshore to India. Cost is the biggest reason for these moves and as a result, salaries are considerably lower than for the same roles and activities in the capital.

The report said: “London-based experts have seen the content and required expertise in their roles increase, but salaries have remained flat. There is growing apprehension, however, that lack of training in the basic and mid-level functions within the capital may result in a talent shortage at the senior level in a few years.”

This could all result in a lack of interest in the profession in the coming years or more accountants choosing to go freelance and take control of their own service charges. The demand for services means that freelance accountants could really bump up their costs – great news for them, not so great for the freelancers and small businesses that need their services.