In Pursuit of Profit
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I’ve seen many clients struggle to find accounting help over the last two years across all employment levels – from bookkeeper all the way through CFO. I’ve seen new hires simply not show up for their first day without any notice. I’ve seen new employees resign less than a month after starting for other opportunities or just to leave a work culture they don’t like. Workforce expectations have shifted dramatically over the past five years and employers are struggling to fill open positions amid these changes. In fact, Manpower surveys indicate that 75% of employers report difficulty in finding skilled accounting talent.
With enrollment in accounting-related disciplines dropping steadily, there simply isn’t a pipeline of new accountants to replace those that are being lost to retirement and career changes. Supply cannot keep up with demand, which is making it difficult to find qualified people interested in applying for open jobs. How difficult? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in August of this year there were over 415,000 open finance and insurance jobs in the US, which is a 22% increase over August 2022.
What Can You Do?
Critically Evaluate Job Descriptions – Remember, just because a job description has included certain criteria for the past 15 years does not mean it has to continue to include them. That goes for all aspects of an accounting job description, even the job title itself!
Collaborate with your Team Members – Bring folks together to creatively evaluate processes and procedures with an eye on improvement. You might be surprised that your team is already aware of weaknesses or redundancies in your processes that you can eliminate, resulting in streamlined operations and a more cohesive team.
Consider Alternative Work Arrangements – When it comes to work flexibility, you need to roll with it! Today’s workforce is demanding hybrid work as part of their work arrangement. The “all in-office” work model does not sell well with today’s accountants, especially among those with more experience. The pandemic has permanently changed workforce expectations and one of the results is that hybrid work is now a requirement among job searchers. According to current Forbes work data, over 40% of employees are now either remote or working a hybrid model, and an astonishing 98% of employees want to work remotely at least part of the time.
Consider Alternative Sourcing Outlets – Don’t forget to include sourcing outlets that target diverse candidates. While the accounting profession has tended to be primarily Caucasian in the past, BIPOC candidates deserve exposure to these kinds of jobs and can contribute greatly to your workplace.
Retain Professional Recruiting Partners – Recruiting is a complicated and time-consuming process, especially for people who do not do it all day every day. Recruiting professionals understand how to create job descriptions and how to creatively source and evaluate candidates. Given the time investment in this process and the cost of getting it wrong, engaging a recruiter can be a wise and timely investment!
Be Willing to Acknowledge Failure Quickly – Sometimes you make the wrong call by hiring an accountant that doesn’t make the grade. In many cases, you have a gut feeling right away that tells you, “This isn’t going to work.” If that happens, acknowledge this quickly and either implement a formal PIP or make a change. If the fit is bad, the employee probably feels it too, so why drag it out? Failing fast requires a culture where the team has the freedom to fail but can learn something from each failure that helps the team succeed faster the next time.
Consider Fractional Resources as an Interim Solution – Resist the temptation to hire the first marginally-qualified warm body you find. These kinds of bad decisions feed on themselves. Retaining the services of a qualified fractional resource (either temporary or part-time) can be a fast and efficient solution for the short-term. This gives you more time to recruit wisely, and you might find out that a part-time resource can get the work done in less time than a full-time resource has in the past!
Get Help Hiring an Accountant
If you are looking for a fractional accounting solution, we can help! We have a team of highly qualified accountants ready to come alongside your company to provide as much or as little accounting help as you need. We offer senior accounting services (ex. cash management, business intelligence support, internal controls, and tax preparation) as well as bookkeeping services (ex. closing, financial reporting, bank reconciliations, budget management, payroll) to meet your business needs! Use our services in lieu of hiring internally, or temporarily while you look for the right hire.
Then, when you need to hire an accountant or finance professional, reach out to us! We are accountants hiring accountants into accounting and finance roles. We know the industry better than anyone else and we have the reputation to prove it! As accounting recruiters we have a strong pipeline of candidates looking for Staff Accountant and Senior Accountant roles all the way up to Senior Accounting Manager and Controller level roles. Contact us today to find out more!
About the Author
Kurt Maass – Partner, CFO Selections & Practice Manager, The ASP Team
Kurt Maass is a versatile and accomplished executive with 30+ years of experience in finance, accounting, and operations roles. He has worked extensively in the wireless, landline telecom, ecommerce, manufacturing and energy conservation sectors, including serving as divisional and public company VP-Finance and CFO, in addition to public accounting firm experience. He brings a unique perspective from working with both very large companies (managing operational and capital budgets in excess of $2B annually) as well as very small early-stage start-ups, where he has actively participated in multiple equity and debt financing rounds. Kurt is very successful at implementing cost control measures while designing and streamlining processes that allow businesses to thrive.