“Do we have a global shortage of accountants?” This question remains a topic of debate for many. In the world of business and finance, accountants play a crucial role in maintaining overall financial health. Without accountants, businesses would struggle to understand their financial position and fail to make informed decisions for achieving their financial goals.
Through the years, there have been numerous changes in the labor force. Accountants are no exception when dealing with these changes which, consequently, affect how they perform their jobs. Unfortunately, this became significantly noticeable when the pandemic hit.
As a result, many businesses were left to either downsize or shut down due to the negative economic impact caused by the pandemic. To survive, organisations had to reinvent themselves and think of ways to sustain their assets, especially their people.
Fast forward to today. As businesses bounce back from the pandemic, the demand for accountants has significantly increased.
The accounting industry is facing a shortage of professionals globally, which poses further challenges for businesses and economies alike. This scenario does not only apply in the world of finance but also in other industries like tech and healthcare. Moreover, as globalisation continues to expand, the demand for accountants is growing rapidly, amplifying the scarcity of qualified individuals in the field. This resulted in increased competition among businesses to attract and retain top talent. Furthermore, numerous strategies to entice skilled accountants are being implemented.
In the Philippines, the Board of Accountancy stated there is a big demand for accountants from local businesses and agencies. Moreover, the approximately 200,000 Certified Public Accountants cannot satisfy the country’s growing demand for accountants. With the increasing number of businesses, the demand for skilled accountants is surely surpassing the available supply. This scarcity can potentially hinder economic growth and development, as businesses may struggle to accurately manage their finances and cash flow.
The current global shortage of accountants is driven by several factors, here are some of it:
The Great Resignation, is a widespread trend where employees are leaving their jobs in search of better opportunities. Many experienced accountants are choosing to explore alternative career paths, thus, leaving a void that is difficult to fill. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics subsequently recorded that 47 million Americans have voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021. Indeed, it marks a significant increase compared to previous years. Furthermore, this trend was seen in the US and created further waves in the UK and even in the Asia Pacific region.
Also, one of the primary contributors to the global shortage of accountants is the aging workforce. As the baby boomers near retirement age, many experienced and skilled accountants will be leaving the workforce. However, the loss of seasoned professionals can result in a significant talent gap, as younger accountants may not possess the same level of expertise and experience. Moreover, this shift in demographics means that there is certainly a need to address issues related to succession planning and knowledge transfer to ensure the continuity of the profession.
Another factor that further contributes to the shortage is the significantly increasing complexity of financial reporting standards. Moreover, with the introduction of new regulations and standards, the demand for accountants who possess specialised knowledge and skills has certainly grown. Unfortunately, universities and educational institutions struggle to keep pace with these changes, leaving a gap between what students are taught and the actual requirements of the profession. Furthermore, this scarcity of professionals who are well-versed in the latest reporting standards hampers the industry’s ability to particularly meet demands and may lead to compliance and accuracy issues.
Lastly, the accounting profession’s limited visibility and appeal to younger generations further exacerbates the situation. Moreover, the prevalence of technology-related careers and the perceived complexity of the accounting field significantly deter graduates from pursuing careers in accounting. Thus, resulting in a diminishing talent pool. In addition, accountancy is also known for being traditional and rigid in nature. Hence, the discipline fails to attract the new generation of workers who seek flexibility and a sense of purpose in their careers.
In today’s business landscape, the global shortage of accountants is certainly considered a critical challenge for organisations worldwide. While the demand for accounting professionals is growing rapidly, driven by even more increasingly complex financial regulations, globalisation of businesses, and the need for accurate financial reporting, filling in the gap remains a challenge. To overcome this shortage, here are 5 ways to attract the top talents in the field:
Regardless of the industry, offering competitive compensation packages is on top of the list of ways to attract talent. Nowadays, the market’s demand for qualified accountants is still significantly high. Therefore, companies should offer salaries that will not only attract accountants but also retain them. Given these points, to enhance employment opportunities, companies may also offer attractive bonuses, performance-based incentives, and comprehensive benefit packages. Additionally, they should occasionally consider offering professional development programs to keep employees updated with the latest industry trends and further enhance their skill sets.
Another crucial factor in attracting accounting talents is providing growth opportunities. Accountants seek continuous learning and advancement prospects. Moreover, for this reason, companies may offer structured career paths, mentorship programs, and opportunities for specialisation to further attract high-caliber accountants. Companies that invest in their employees’ professional growth and provide development opportunities demonstrate a commitment to the long-term success of accountants, making them the desirable choice.
The pandemic, indeed, made the workforce realise how crucial work-life balance is, especially for the younger generation. This sparked a shift towards prioritising mental health and overall well-being. Since accountants are not invincible to demanding work hours, tight deadlines, and high-stress environments, they prefer companies that generally and highly values this principle. Organisations that promote work-life balance make accountants feel supported and motivated to perform at their best while also taking care of their personal lives.
Those who are certainly new to setting foot in the corporate world are often enticed by stable and reputable companies that promote progressive company cultures. The way organisations maintain a positive public image and commitment to employee welfare are some of the crucial factors young professionals consider. Moreover, companies can attract top talent and further foster innovation and creativity by having an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.
The accounting profession has been heavily impacted by advancements in technology, particularly automation and in data analytics. Organisations that leverage cutting-edge technology to streamline processes and enhance decision making appear to be a more appealing choice for these accountants. Moreover, this can lead to a more dynamic and fulfilling work environment. Thus, attracting top talents who are eager to stay ahead of the curve and contribute to the digital transformation of the profession.
Attracting accounting talents is crucial for businesses looking to build a strong financial backbone. The accounting profession further requires talented individuals with exceptional analytical skills, attention to detail, and a deep understanding of complex financial regulations.
At DBA, we implement strategies that go beyond the conventional recruitment methods. We are actively exploring innovative ways to attract top talents, in addition to our current competitive accounting professionals. We believe in creating a work environment that appeals to accounting talents by offering competitive salaries, work efficiency with modern technology, and opportunities for career growth.
Do we have a global shortage of accountants? Read more to know the top tips to attract and retain these accounting professionals.
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