In Pursuit of Profit
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Originally published: 1/13/2020 - Updated: 8/17/2023
Your organization's strategy is a critical statement that outlines how you expect to achieve certain goals. But what are the underlying drivers of your company's beliefs, actions, and desire for success? Defining these should come first, and then your corresponding strategies and projects will follow.
Accountants that have been in the industry for decades may find this idea unfathomable because they are used to the regular cadence of time-consuming, stressful closing procedures that never seem to go smoothly. And yet, as automation becomes ever more prevalent in accounting and finance, the traditional bookkeeping role is becoming largely replaceable by software, taking with it some of the tediousness and historical pain points that have traditionally been a hallmark of the industry. Will a manual month-end or year-end financial close soon become a relic of the past?
In an article on how consumers are responding to inflation Andy Pandharikar explains,
For many years, the inflation rate in the United States has been relatively low, hovering around 2%. However, in recent months, that rate has increased dramatically, nearing 7%. However, if we measure according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ methodology from 1980 that figure exceeds 13%. Inflation in specific categories like ground beef has been even higher, nearing 20%. As prices rise more quickly than wages, many consumers are finding it difficult to afford basic needs.
Of course, the risk for businesses is significant. Improperly managed pricing can either cost the company its customers or its profits, either of which ends in failure. Prices need to hit a sweet spot where they can generate profitable revenue and are because enough people are buying.
If the economy slows down significantly enough for a long enough period of time, we will be in a recession. But regardless of what we call it, the economy is slowing down. We know this because current economic indicators show that:
These numbers reflect an economy that is surely slowing, which means that businesses must be prepared to react accordingly by preserving cash flow. The key in determining how to respond will be in understanding what this slowdown is going to look like for business activity.
In fact, the adoption of technology seems to be quickening across the board among consulting accountants, for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations, and the government alike. (Yes, even the IRS is now using video visits to oversee tax preparers!)
In an interview with Accounting Today Twyla Verhelst, head of the FreshBooks Accounting Partner Program, explained,
I've heard it said that the last 30 years of technology and accounting have been taking what accountants used to do on paper and digitizing it. This is a very broad oversimplification of the advance of technology over 30 years, but I think there's some truth to it… Now, of late, we're starting to move away from that and move to creating new things based on what the technology can do as opposed to recreating what paper could do.
I have to assume you’ve probably read an article or two in recent months talking about “The Great Resignation.” It has even been sensationalized in places like the Antiwork forum on Reddit where people express their workplace frustrations. This reshuffling of the workforce reflects some 47 million people who quit their job in 2021. While quitting a job for better opportunities isn’t new, this kind of turnover is higher than anything seen in the last decade. The exact reasons are up for debate – an aging work force, early retirements to escape COVID-related issues or aided by stock market performance (prior to 2022), or younger workers searching for a better work/life balance. It is most likely a confluence of all of these. One thing is clear, Americans are reevaluating their jobs and, as a result, employers are finding quality talent harder to find, and more expensive when they do.
This isn’t exactly a new trend. data shows, with the exception of the pandemic layoffs, American workers have grown increasingly willing to quit their job to look for greener pastures, while employers are less likely than ever to lay off staff.
Have you noticed a significant rise in controller job openings these days? We have! In fact, over the last year, we have worked with more companies looking to hire a financial controller than ever before.
But, why? Are controllers resigning en masse, leaving vacant roles in their wake?
No. despite all the publicity around “The Great Resignation,” existing controller jobs are largely not opening up due to turnover. Instead, they are mainly appearing at organizations where controller roles have not previously existed. Since the pandemic there has been an increased need for experienced financial leadership. More organizations are creating financial controller positions to meet these new needs. As a result, accounting recruiters began unofficially calling 2021 “The Year of the Controller” as it drew to a close. And by the time 2022 started, the moniker had stuck, carrying over to this year as well as the recruiting push continued strong.
Let’s look at what is driving this hiring trend, what should be included in a controller role, and how to hire a controller.
2021 has been a year like none other for people and businesses alike. Accounting has paralleled many of the professional challenges that other industries have dealt with, but the accounting industry has also seen some significant advancements.
We asked our experts to weigh in and contribute their feedback about the state of the industry. Find out what is currently going on in the world of accounting as we highlight current trends and hot topics:
An article from our Accounting and Finance Recruiting Team
With our professional and personal lives becoming more blended than ever and younger members of the workforce feeling less of a need to compartmentalize the two, social media has become a territory ripe with both risk and opportunity.
These days everyone knows that what is posted on social media is fair game, and voicing unpopular opinions, sharing inappropriate content, or being hateful online can cost a job seeker the job. And while people posting or sharing those types of things may not be concerned with how they will be perceived, most job seekers do care what a prospective employer may think of them.
This is especially true in more buttoned-up industries like accounting, finance, banking, financial planning, and business consulting. Career-focused professionals looking for their next role will ask questions like:
Our accounting and finance recruiting team answers these questions regarding how your web presence affects hiring decisions:
This summer, the IRS began urging tax professionals to increase their security measures amid a storm of increased cyber-attacks. Through the first half of 2021, cyber-attacks against tax professionals had already outpaced the annual numbers for 2020 and 2019. And tax pros are not alone.
Cyber security has become a hot topic among all financial professionals over the last year as security attacks against businesses and individuals soared during the pandemic. Michael Cohn explains the recent rise in security threats when he says,
Identity thieves and fraudsters were particularly busy last year and this year taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic as many tax pros worked remotely from home and their firms were forced to lower their cyber defenses. The economic downturn also served as fuel for a variety of scams and schemes to steal money and identities.
So, how do you keep your financial data secure?