Plugging the accountancy skills gap

Accountancy, like many other industries, has long struggled with a dire skills vacuum within the sector.

The pool of qualified accountants continues to shrink, with the over-50s and those aged 18 to 24 leaving the workforce in the greatest numbers. Figures suggest many older accountants chose to retire early during the pandemic, while younger individuals are choosing to travel or study for longer.

The war for talent may seem momentous, but companies who use honed talent acquisitions strategies and welcome new methods and technologies will be better placed to win the battle.

Embrace technology as an essential tool and leverage AI

As accountancy undergoes rapid technological advancements and evolving practices, teams who fail to adapt may find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting talent and retaining existing staff.

Training in data analytics, automation and accounting software can enhance efficiency and decision-making capabilities. Leveraging artificial intelligence to handle routine tasks, meanwhile, can free up accountants to focus on strategic analysis and decision-making.

It helps to forge strong partnerships between accounting and IT departments – collaborative efforts can facilitate the integration of technology into accounting processes.

Foster a culture of continuous learning

By investing in reskilling and upskilling initiatives and encouraging professionals to pursue certifications and staying updated on industry trends, businesses can bridge the skills gap without the need for recruitment.

Cross-training and mentoring programmes can facilitate knowledge transfer between experienced accountants and those new to the game.

Diversify hiring criteria

An open-minded approach in recruitment can uncover candidates with the potential to thrive.

Consider candidates who demonstrate so-called soft skills such as a willingness to learn, communication and critical thinking, even if they don’t possess the full spectrum of qualifications or experience.

Embrace remote working

According to research by Hays Recruitment Agency, a top priority for jobseekers is work-life balance, with 41 per cent rating it second only to salary in importance.

Providing remote or hybrid working can provide access to a larger talent pool and is known to increase productivity.

In addition, being more open to the possibility of hiring overseas candidates can help firms struggling to fill positions with local workers.