The tight grip of the pandemic has started to loosen up, which has most businesses shifting their focus from survival to growth. With things starting to go back to the way they were before slowly, economic confidence has started to run high, and CPA practices are beginning to ramp up operations, driving hiring.
Despite looking like things would become more and more upbeat, many accounting firms face various employee recruitment and retention challenges. The lack of skilled professionals allows the best candidates to receive multiple job offers while also allowing them to command top salaries. And in an increasingly automated world, accounting professionals need to consider developing new skills.
The trend towards digital transformation has been well underway even before the pandemic. Ever since the pandemic hit, there has been a sudden switch to remote working, accelerating the adoption of cloud-based technologies. According to the 2022 Salary Guide of Robert Half, accounting firms with a traditional face-time culture found that reporting, auditing, and other financial processes could be completed remotely, just as effectively as in the office.
Firms that do not embrace a flexible or hybrid working environment as part of their culture have a higher risk of losing their best workers. On the other hand, an employer that promotes flexibility will boost retention in the company and gain access to a much broader pool of additional talent with specialized skills since people who have newly hired would be able to work from anywhere.
As more and more functions are starting to be automated, should CPAs be worried about their jobs being replaced by computers?
Contrary to popular belief, emerging automation software is more likely to create new job opportunities than it replaces. With that said, accounting professionals should still be prepared to upskill and evolve with their roles.
Embracing digital systems is the first step, and employees should understand that success in the accounting profession is dependent on more than technical know-how.
Soft skills such as adaptability and change management, teamwork and collaboration, critical and independent thinking, and problem-solving are some of the most vital skills to have in a professional career.
Although some industries are still in the middle of recovering from the whole COVID crisis, certain sectors such as government, healthcare, insurance, and technology have seen substantial growth since the pandemic. Similarly, hiring in financial services and public accounting has also been active, specifically for Compliance, Mortgages and banking, Digital Security, and Tax.
Since there has been a shortage of skilled candidates lately, employers have been hiring earlier and earlier to fill entry-level roles, with campus recruiting becoming a common strategy and many accounting students are being offered a position even before graduating. It’s undoubtedly an excellent time for students who are pursuing accounting.
The pandemic has taught a lot of people the importance of flexibility and preparedness. By being able to adapt to the rapid changes in our everyday lives, we would not be as overwhelmed by these changes. By imposing a culture of flexibility in the workplace, employers would be able to give their employees a bit of training when certain abrupt changes start to occur. Above all else, despite the advent of technology and rapid growth of tools automation, still, accounting and bookkeeping require human touch to produce accurate results.