The labor market has experienced several overhauls in recent history, yet the unemployment rate has remained historically low. For specialized fields like accounting and finance, that percentage is even lower. So why is the unemployment rate so low and is that a good thing?
As the older generation nears retirement and fewer college students elect for accounting and finance majors, businesses are finding themselves lacking a much-needed skill set. Worse to boot, the supply is painfully scarce.
While the push and pull of supply and demand within the economy is nothing new, the shortage of accounting and finance talent has become so remarkable that it’s now a critical issue for many businesses. In fact, the accuracy of financial reporting and other key accounting standards within companies’ filings are suffering. This is due to fewer professionals skilled in those regulatory requirement areas being available or willing to leave their current employers.
Unsurprisingly, this has become a material issue for many and businesses are at a loss for what to do.
How can we combat the accounting talent shortage, and what will happen if we don’t?
Well, like most things in life, if there’s a will there’s a way. And it usually starts with increased resources (hint: more money) but there are more ways than just that. Read on for 5 Ways to Combat the Accounting Talent Shortage and Why it’s So Important.
- Increase salary and benefit offerings
In today’s post-pandemic climate, many businesses are offering higher salaries and enhanced benefits, but when it comes to accounting and finance roles, the increase is tenfold. We are seeing at least 10-15% higher salaries for mid-and-senior level accounting/finance roles than just a couple of years ago. Depending on the location or work model, it can be even higher. Notwithstanding flexible schedules, hybrid work environments and increased employee perks, businesses have no choice but to offer attractive compensation packages to win over talent before their competitors do.
- Offer on-the-job training and tuition reimbursement
Training and development are important aspects of a professional’s career and companies ignoring this importance are losing out. Candidates of all fields are looking to grow their expertise and find it very attractive when that is not only part of their experience at a firm but a priority. Furthermore, some companies are paying for their employees to go back to school to achieve a degree or new certification in accounting or finance. Businesses are making this a part of their strategy to retain their top talent and stretch their existing skill set in efforts to keep them at their firm even longer.
- Start your recruiting early
Hiring managers need to consider a long-term strategy when it comes to attracting accounting or finance talent. Partnering with local colleges and universities and participating in their academic activities as a sponsor or scholarship provider are good ways to get in front of potential employees early on—before they’ve even graduated. Additionally, offering internship positions for students while they’re still in school or nearing graduation can get them in the door where you can develop and grow them from the ground up. This will not only benefit the student, but it’s a key component of your business strategy.
- Consider fractional professionals
While many working professionals are planning their retirement, some don’t necessarily want to completely leave the workforce. For those individuals who want to keep one foot in and one foot out, they can help on a part-time or consulting basis. These individuals likely have the expertise you’re seeking just in a more temporary capacity. Consider leveraging this segment of professionals which can be a great option for hiring managers struggling to find full-time accounting professionals to join their team on a permanent basis.
- Enlist specialized staffing and executive recruiting firms for help with your hiring
While the talent shortage is a real problem, there are ways to combat the issue. To add to the above considerations, often it is helpful to enlist the help of a professional staffing/consulting firm for guidance and support. Specialized firms like Brilliant® focus on providing accounting and finance talent to businesses across multiple industries and markets in the U.S. Typically, firms like Brilliant have a proprietary (not actively seeking) network of professionals they represent who are available for project work or full-time opportunities. Furthermore, staffing firms have access to labor market intel that you might not otherwise have such as salary expectations, trends and skillset requirements. However, be sure to do your due diligence, and vet out the companies first to make sure they are reputable and specialized in the areas you are seeking.
As the economy evolves, naturally so will the labor market. But by businesses having a clear plan and strategy, they can be successful and find the accounting/finance talent they need for now and the future.
For assistance with your hiring or staffing needs, contact us and mention this blog.