By Jim Wong, CPA | February 11, 2015


Do you have unrealistic expectations when it comes to entry-level accounting, finance and IT hires?

With a recovered economy and the onslaught of new technologies and data, the bar for today’s accounting, finance and IT professionals at the start of their careers has been set sky high. Hiring managers looking to fill their vacant corporate accounting or data administration positions may be too far reaching when expecting to find the perfectly packaged employee each time. It seems that allowing room for training and mentoring should be taken into consideration.

A recent CFO.com article discusses the notion that a disconnect exists between what entry-level accounting, finance and IT professionals possess in terms of education and experience, and what is needed to succeed in the respective roles.

According to the Institute of Management Accountants and the American Productivity & Quality Center, certain skill gaps are becoming prevalent in today’s labor market, and it’s taking hiring managers longer periods of time to fill entry-level positions. In fact, the Brilliant™ Q1 2015 Accounting, Finance and IT Hiring Forecast reports 14 percent of accounting / finance hiring managers and 21 percent of IT hiring managers taking one to three months to fill their open positions, and sometimes even longer.

Below is a breakdown of why skill gaps among entry-level accounting, finance and IT professionals are proving to be a challenge for hiring managers:

What are the biggest skill gaps?

When it comes to accounting, finance and IT professionals who have earned their Bachelor’s degrees and have fewer than three years of work experience, leadership and strategic-driven mindsets are reportedly lacking. According to the Brilliant™ Q1 2015 Accounting, Finance and IT Hiring Forecast problem solving for accounting / finance and communication skills for IT came in as the number one skill gap. These skill gaps can prevent professionals from moving up into leadership roles later in their career.

What are the consequences of these skill gaps?

Accounting, finance and IT professionals who lack the desired experience for success in the workforce can lead to various detriments for companies. According the CFO.com article, employers may need to increase their spending on recruiters or hire individuals who may not be as qualified just to fill the role. These could lead to a diminished quality of work and a decrease in productivity, overall.

Why do these skill gaps exist?

There are various factors that contribute to a lack in these skillsets. Some argue that college curriculum’s today are not evenly balanced between the theory and practical application. Additionally, some new graduates think they have their career plans all figured out when in reality they might not considering the long term, especially when it comes to leadership positions down the road. Lastly, some companies are failing to account for professional and career development when hiring entry-level professionals. Having a lack of communication all around, or too high of expectations, can lead to these skill gaps being even more apparent.

What can be done to fix these skill gaps?

Since the causes of these skill gaps are widespread, there needs to be a shift within the professions overall. At every level, various concepts need to be addressed:

  • Hiring managers need to budget for training and professional development when hiring entry-level professionals.
  • Hiring managers need to keep realistic expectations when hiring entry-level professionals.
  • Hiring managers should plan for their new hires to work cross functionally at times.
  • College programs need to balance theory and practical application. In addition, soft skills such as appropriate business communication should be an important part of any college program.
  • The accounting, finance and IT professionals themselves need to take a proactive and realistic approach to their careers.

Do you have other insight to add regarding skill gaps among entry-level accounting, finance and IT professionals? Comment below and let us know!


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