A shortage of digital skills and talent in the accounting industry threatens to hurt growth and put businesses in financial and regulatory trouble.
While around three-quarters (74%) of UK businesses are now troubled by a lack of skilled workers, According to researchcompanies in the accounting sector are understaffed by 22%.
Coupled with rising inflation, cost of living and wage demands, the problem could quickly spiral out of control.
SaaS platforms and digital tools are also increasingly common in the financial service, as is the use of automation and artificial intelligence, which require a higher degree of technological knowledge from workers.
Businesses desperately need technical skills, but with no way to secure them.
How does the skills shortage affect businesses?
Accounting plays a vital role in the business world, helping businesses and their executives stay both legal and compliant with the myriad financial regulations they face. It is therefore absolutely essential that the sector attracts and retains the talent it needs, so that it is able to meet the demands and regulatory requirements imposed by the industry.
As the industry grows, it brings with it new opportunities, new technologies and new ways of working, which pose recruitment challenges for a sector traditionally focused on a very definitive set of skills.
Many industry hiring managers now find that they face a specific skills gap, which is further exacerbated by national trends. For example, in a recent survey of 1,000 finance professionals, 27% identified staffing and skills shortages as their biggest challenge.
This undoubtedly has a negative impact on industry, business and the economy at large, as stated above, as accounting and finance affect every part of a business.
With companies struggling to find the right people, this will no doubt hamper growth plans, coupled with often outdated workflows and internal resistance to change, the problems are further compounded for companies that are constantly looking for an edge. competitive, because without the fuel accounting provides a business, its engine supply cannot turn around.
What new skills are needed for modern accounting professionals and what has driven the need for these skills?
In the era of digital automation that dominates the lion’s share of manual tasks traditionally associated with accounting, ranging from data entry to filing tasks, today’s accountants must now tackle tasks commercial and commercial increasingly strategic. These include forecasting, business planning and other strategic development roles.
This presents an excellent opportunity for the industry to chart a new course for the development of the accounting professionals of the future, which goes hand in hand with the use of digital technology to support growth in all areas of a business.
Ditch old software and embrace new technology
For example, in the wake of the pandemic, accounting professionals by and large will have adopted a hybrid or agile approach to work, which would have exacerbated inefficient processes, which were just about achievable in the office.
Clunky and legacy software packages will have been exposed and in an effort for businesses to become efficient and embrace new technologies, ensuring that accounting professionals are able to not only use, but understand that the technology used must be at the forefront plan of any business plan, in addition to being a central element in the training of accounting professionals of tomorrow.
Develop soft skills
Additionally, with technology able to relieve traditional manual tasks, accounting professionals must interact with perhaps a wider group of people than they traditionally have. This is where the depth and breadth of soft skills would benefit the profession.
This provides an opportunity for the industry to review the process of training and recruiting accounting professionals. Although there is no single path for developing the appropriate soft skills, accounting professionals can acquire them through learning and experience throughout their careers, which will creating a pool of new talent, equipped to perform the business and strategic business tasks ahead of them. them in their career.
If companies are able to use intuitive and innovative technology, they give themselves a platform to differentiate themselves from competitors who, in an era of great resignation and the growing importance of employee voice, do not will not only relieve manual tasks, but will allow employees to focus on more rewarding work, while providing development opportunities, which are key drivers for attracting and retaining talent.
Can technology help bridge some of the gap
Digital technology is key to growth in all areas of a business, and companies need to be brave and bold in their outlook on how they use technology, especially to ensure they meet expectations. of the next generation of accounting professionals.
Cloud-based accounting software
Although one cannot exist without the other. You can’t, nor would you want, to replace an entire department with machines, but by smartly buying and deploying software, such as cloud-based accounting software, businesses can take over the work. remotely, while providing the opportunity to recruit and train people who have the ability and desire to bring in-demand skills and new ideas to drive the business forward.
The intelligence of things
By connecting the Internet of Things (IoT), which is the system of devices and machines intrinsically linked to artificial intelligence (AI), the result is the intelligence of things.
This allows elements to communicate and operate without human intervention, providing accounting systems and accounting professionals with many opportunities.
Smart Things helps accounting professionals track the general ledger, as well as transactions and other records, all in real time. The use of artificial intelligence helps identify key patterns or resolve issues quickly. This continuous monitoring makes accounting activities such as audits much more streamlined and stress-free. In addition, the intelligence of things improves inventory tracking and management.
When looking to close the skills gap, one thing is clear, investing in accounting technology has the power to set you apart as an employer who can attract talented people, who have the passion to want to work for you and the skills needed to help you grow. your business forward.
In the quest to account for the skills shortage, it will be the companies that will make the technological investments, both financially and culturally, who will be able to ensure that they are able to recruit, develop and above all retaining the accounting professionals of the future.
Mike Wright at Complete softwareP2P software house