Interview with Accountancy Recruiter: Lauren Bailey

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

  • About the experience of a Management Consultant in accountancy and finance. 
  • Insights into how accountancy recruitment works and the current challenges in the industry.
  • How to find and apply for the best accountancy and finance jobs.

In our feature blog, ‘Interview with a recruiter’ we’re catching up with recruiters at Spencer Clarke Group to uncover insightful tips and advice for successful hiring across the specialisms we operate in.

This time, we got up to speed with Management Consultant Lauren Bailey, who specialises in accountancy practice across the north of the UK. 

With over 5 years recruitment experience, Lauren is an expert recruiter with an extensive knowledge of the accountancy and finance industry.

For the last 4 years, Lauren has worked at Spencer Clarke Group, building her professional network by connecting professionals and delivering amazing service. With big plans to expand her team, Lauren has no desire to slow down. In her spare time, Lauren is even finding time to plan her wedding! 

Lauren, tell us about yourself

I am a Management Consultant here at Spencer Clarke Group specialising in accountancy practice recruitment for the entire north of the UK. 

I have been working at Spencer Clarke Group for 4 years and I have LOVED building strong relationships with some amazing clients and candidates over the years. I help my clients secure candidates for permanent roles within their firms, ranging from lower level roles to Senior/Director level roles across all of their departments. 

On a personal note, I am currently engaged (due to be married in 2025) and I am a cat mum to a rescue called Ophelia. Everyone in our office will know, I treat her like a human child. I love attending music events, festivals and going out for cocktails and food on the weekend!

How did you end up in the world of recruitment?

When I was at college, I actually wanted to be a Journalist. I attended an interview at Media City to study Broadcast Journalism, and was accepted! However, I wanted to earn my own money and I declined university and joined TV Licensing (not the best first full time job!)

After a few years working for TV Licensing, I started working within HR and assisted with their recruitment for a well known laundrette business who have businesses all across the UK! I loved doing the recruitment for them. 

I was then approached for a role within an industrial recruitment agency and started my recruitment agency career recruiting for factory workers, cleaners, warehouse operatives - you name it, I recruited it!

Industrial recruitment wasn’t for me so I moved into a recruitment agency covering all sectors such as HR, finance, admin, customer service etc. 

During Covid, I found out about Spencer Clarke Group and everything that this company offered was ticking all of my boxes. This was the BEST move ever for me.

Since joining in September 2020, I have progressed from Recruitment Consultant to Senior Recruitment Consultant and in 2023 I was promoted to Management Consultant! I have loved every minute of Spencer Clarke Group, working my way up, and I cannot wait to progress even more. My goal is to grow my north team and hopefully progress to senior managerial level.

What does your role entail at Spencer Clarke Group?

Working on the permanent desk means that I am securing candidates with permanent opportunities on either a full time or part time basis. I work with accountancy practices to help them recruit across all departments and all levels. My role is to place talented individuals and match them with firms that tick all of their boxes! 

Who do you work with?

I specialise working with accountancy practices across the north of the UK. The main areas that I cover are Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. I work with accountancy practices to help them find talent across all departments. 

I can help my clients recruit for all roles within their accountancy firm, ranging from lower level entry roles all the way up Partner/Director positions! I cover all departments within practice such as accounts, audit, tax, payroll, and more.

Can you give us an insight into how the accountancy and finance market works?

When working at an accountancy firm, you typically start your journey off as a trainee, straight from college or university. A lot of candidates that I have worked with have either joined as part of an apprenticeship scheme, or joined as a Trainee and worked their way up over the years!

A lot of candidates I work with have been to university to gain their accountancy degree, which is incredibly helpful as this can provide exemptions towards further studies. Typically within accountancy practice, you need AAT, ACA, ACCA, CTA or ATT qualifications. 

What is the best thing about being a recruiter in finance?

Being a recruiter within the accountancy and finance sector is incredibly rewarding. Being able to find somebody their DREAM role is the most rewarding aspect of my job. The call with a candidate when you can finally tell them that they are being offered the role that they want is extremely exciting!!! I love making someone happy, and being able to do this as part of my job is always the best part.

The accountancy and finance sector is sometimes a challenging sector as the market is always changing and incredibly varied. Being a specialist recruiter within the accountancy practice sector can sometimes be super, super tough, as candidates are becoming more and more in high demand.

When we are able to secure someone with their amazing new opportunity, after facing the challenges that we face as a recruiter, it is very special. 

I love learning all about the accountancy practice sector and what every role involves! Every day is a learning day, and you learn so much about the day in the life of either an Accountant, a Tax Specialist, an Audit Senior, a Payroll Manager and much more! I love engaging with different firms and finding out what qualities they have, and what opportunities they have to offer. 

What are the challenges in the current accountancy job market?

There can be challenges in the accountancy market but we try our hardest to overcome them, and also help our candidates and clients to overcome them too.

One example we can use is the cost of living crisis. More often, candidates are looking for higher salaries, due to the struggles of being able to maintain the high cost of life itself. 

The struggles in the market stem from firms not being able to increase salaries or match the salary that someone is seeking. Salary expectations are increasing more and more over time.

Another example of a challenge that we face is that it has certainly become much more of a candidate short market. I remember the days of there being pools of candidates open to opportunities, but over the past 2 years especially, I have noticed how candidate short the market is. 

Firms are finding it much harder to hire or replace those leaving so they are offering more ‘counter offers’. I don’t even want to go into counter offers - if you are a fellow recruiter reading this, you know the pain we face! 

How do you keep up to date with changes in the accountancy and finance industry?

The market is constantly changing! At Spencer Clarke Group, we maintain our knowledge by doing market research, reading articles, checking out firms, blogs/news posts and keeping up to date with changes that may be happening across the accountancy Sector. 

We speak with our clients and candidates to learn more about the market and the industry, and use this knowledge to help us keep up to date with any new changes.

How does Spencer Clarke Group help overcome these challenges?

We work with our clients and candidates incredibly closely. We want to offer a tailored, personable experience, and we want to make sure that every person/client is listened to. We essentially are problem solvers for our clients and candidates, and this is purely done by listening and helping with solutions.

We work incredibly hard on behalf of our candidates and clients, and put 110% into every day. We offer four different services for our clients to enable them to hire in a way that works perfectly for them - every client is different! 

With our candidates, we take the time to learn all we can about them, their drives and deal breakers to make sure we know what is going to tick their boxes. We need to find them their dream role, and when we do, it is incredibly rewarding. 

What advice would you give to someone newly qualified and looking for their first position? How can they gain valuable experience?

When you start your career within the accountancy sector, you may join as either an Apprentice or as a Trainee. Every firm is different! 

Typically, you will either start your career completing your AAT qualifications, or if you have exemptions from University you may be able to jump straight into your ACA/ACCA Qualifications. Not everyone wants to do qualifications, so don't let this put you off.

A lot of successful Accountants start their journey by training, learning on the job and working with a supportive accountancy Firm.

Sometimes, qualifications come later down the line and some Accountants don’t consider completing any at all. You will then be known as ‘Qualified by experience’.

In regards to salary for any new trainee role, this will vary depending on each individual firm, and location. All salaries for a new role are only ever your starting salary and you will never be on this salary forever! A lot of successful Partners/Directors started at the bottom and through hard work and commitment, worked their way to the top!

What advice would you give to someone qualified and looking for their first position? How can they gain valuable experience?

If you are looking to take the first steps into the world of practice, I would highly recommend working with a specialist recruiter like myself! We offer a tailored experience and can help you to secure a firm which is right for you.

If you are searching for a graduate position, firms usually have a ‘graduate intake’ period, which is an ideal time to apply and get your foot in the door! 

My advice would be to do loads of research into local firms in the area, call some firms and see if they are currently hiring for any graduate roles/trainee positions, and of course never forget to reach out to a specialist recruiter (like myself) in your field.

What does the future hold for you at Spencer Clarke Group?

I hope to expand my team in the future as there are many fantastic firms across the entire north of the UK that we would love to work with! I would love to expand my team and recruit some fantastic consultants working alongside myself and Recruitment Consultant Cat Rainford.

I want to continue building long lasting relationships with both clients and candidates, and help even more people find their dream role. My personal goals are to continue progressing within Spencer Clarke Group and seeing my career flourish.

Accountancy recruitment

With years of experience recruiting in the accountancy sector, we have exclusive access to some of the most qualified and experienced individuals; from Accountants to Audit Managers and Payroll Managers, we’re here to help you find whatever you need to make your practice thrive.

If you’re struggling to recruit in Yorkshire, the North East or Scotland, why not get in contact with Lauren Bailey today? If you’re geographically located elsewhere, one of Laurens experienced colleagues will be able to assist you!   

Accountancy jobs

Looking for your dream accountancy job? Why not take a look at the latest opportunities available? Or why not upload your CV and be the first to hear about newly released job opportunities. 

Already got an interview lined up? Check out these recent blogs:

Meet Lauren Bailey

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Since 2017, we have been leading the way as an award winning recruitment agency that prides itself on innovating the industry. Whether it's the culture in our offices or the way we conduct business, we are committed to effecting positive change and reshaping the recruitment industry.

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

Public Sector 

In eleven specialisms:

Accountancy & Finance

Education & SEND

Construction, Trades & Labour

Healthcare, Social Care & Nursing


Corporate Functions & Business Support

HR & Workforce Development

IT & Digital

Property & Asset Management  

Planning, Development & Regeneration 

Highways, Infrastructure & Engineering

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