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The UK Interim Real Estate Finance Market: Understanding it & the diversification of opportunities

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Article posted by Nicole Brookes-Higgins on Dec 21, 2022

Accountancy and Finance interim recruitment has had its strongest year to date at Cobalt in the UK, more specifically here in London, despite the drastic change we have seen.
With the implementation of IR35 in 2021, paired with the effect of Covid and lockdowns on border closures, it looked as if the demand for interim specialists and those wanting to stay within this specialism was about to drastically reduce.

How did our Accountancy and Finance Real Estate interim team then have our busiest and most successful years to date (2021 & 2022)?

Real Estate is one of the safest industries to move into, often called “recession-proof”, as projects typically have a longer life than most, sometimes spanning decades. Recent periods of lockdown meant that crucial projects were put on hold and resources were significantly reduced within finance teams across real estate and construction. This left the market wide open for interim Accountants to be parachuted in as specialists to drive change and get the job done. A business will always need Accountants, whether the market be strong or weak.

With this urgency from hiring managers to get an interim specialist into the team, we saw a turnaround in roles of as little as 24 hours. Interims from a practice background, with strong reporting skills, are a key asset for managers running projects – projects that have potentially been on hold for over a year. Managers simply did not have the time to run these projects as well as go through a 3-month permanent recruitment process and the many months involved in training permanent staff that follows.

Many hiring managers who typically only considered having an interim on board as a last resort, for example, to cover last-minute sick leaves, notice periods or maternity leave, have now seen the importance and benefits of getting a professional interim to join their team, with the majority offering extensions or permanent roles at the end!

Why is now the perfect time to move over to London as a Qualified Accountant?

This year, following the “trial” for many businesses of having to use immediately available Qualified Accountants on an interim basis, we have seen interim candidates become a preferred solution to permanent hires. With borders opening back up and a fresh influx of immediately available Qualified Accountants moving over to London, we don’t predict a decline in this trend, in fact, much the opposite.

It is true that the implementation of IR35 initially halted interim hires, however, the dust has now settled and from consultations with interim recruiters, we can see that both clients and candidates now understand the changes: rates have been adjusted accordingly and checks put in place.

With an uncertain market around the corner, the preference for interim hires over permanent hires is set to continue within finance teams across London. We see this every time there is a downturn in the economy.

There couldn’t be a better time to be a Qualified Accountant wanting to move over to the UK.

This is what I am seeing in the Real Estate market at the moment; contact me on 020 7478 2518 to discuss how you can take advantage of it in 2023. My colleague Ollie has shared some great insight on the Real Estate market for 2023 here if you are interested in what is happening in the market more widely.