Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly important in the accountancy industry with the top firms leading the way in raising the number of apprentices recruited each year. Championed by the Big Four and Top Ten firms, apprenticeship programmes are widely held to develop and nurture new talent, contributing to diversity of thought and background within an organisation, positively impacting on business results and growth.
Apprenticeship schemes within accountancy firms often offer individuals the opportunity to explore multiple departments of the business, including specialist areas and business administration. The skills that apprentices bring to the firms, including technology, personal, and commercial skills, help these firms to maintain a competitive edge as they navigate business challenges created by ongoing economic and political volatility.
The Apprenticeship Levy has enabled firms and businesses to tap into these skills. Introduced in April 2017, the government scheme was designed to fund new apprenticeships by charging a 0.5% levy on annual employer paybills over £3m, with employers entitled to an annual allowance of £15,000 to offset against the levy payment. Levy payments are made on a monthly basis, with the payment amount subject to change according to the paybill for that month.
The government has targeted 3m apprenticeships starts by 2020 under the scheme. As a result, it hopes to boost productivity growth by increasing training, and increase business profitability, leading to rising wages over a number of years. As well as benefiting from the levy, accountancy firms are in the position to advise businesses on how they should approach the levy, including compliance obligations, how the funding process works, and how allowances can be spent. Accountants should also be aware of the levy when compiling and calculating a business’ accounts.
Since the scheme has been introduced, a number of calls have been made by professional bodies to improve the system, including implementing new targets to boost the numbers of women and individuals from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds participating in the scheme. Yet, while the Apprenticeship Levy will continue to evolve, there appears to be much consensus on the positive influence and contribution apprentices can make to accountancy firms, businesses and the wider industry.
In honour of National Apprenticeship Week 2018, take a look at some of our top content on apprenticeships below, as well as our new Careers section.
The Apprenticeship Levy: Burden or Opportunity
The Apprenticeship Levy is the Government’s response to the UK’s skills gap and represents the biggest single shake-up in vocational and professional training in the last 25 years.
It is up to businesses to decide if they view the Levy as just “another tax on business”, or as an opportunity to use apprenticeships to plug their skills shortages – which McKinsey estimates is causing “major business problems” for a third of all UK employers.
KPMG’s apprenticeship intake jumps to 181 in 2017
150 apprentices joined the KPMG 360⁰ apprenticeship programme in 2017, including 48 in the London office, 18 in Birmingham, 14 in both Bristol and Leeds and 12 in Manchester. The remaining apprentices have joined the Business Services intake, including 15 in London, 3 in both Manchester and Watford, and 2 in both Bristol and Nottingham. Read more on why apprenticeships are an integral part of KPMG’s recruitment strategy.
Does the Apprenticeship Levy need fixing?
One of the government’s flagship skills policies, the Apprenticeship Levy, celebrates its first birthday in April. But despite the great hopes at the launch, the programme has yet to find much love from businesses – indeed a growing number of corporates are complaining that the structure and administration of the levy are proving counterproductive. Find out how to make the Levy work for you.
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