The year 2024 will be a year of challenges for the UK accounting industry and the talent crisis will be one of the most widespread ones. The talent crisis is the mismatch of skills that the employers require and the employees possess. The reasons behind it are many such as technological advancements, legislation changes, and increased client expectations to name a few. If not worked upon it can hinder the growth of your accounting firm. But do not worry because we are here to help you through this blog.
In this blog, we have listed down strategies that can help any UK accounting firm to overcome the talent crisis. These strategies have been broadly divided into 3 approaches, nurturing in-house talent, leveraging outsourcing, and work environment.
Let’s dive into it.
Promoting In-house Talent
Career Development and Up-Skilling
Keeping the skills and knowledge of your employees up-to-date is an absolute necessity in today’s accounting environment. Due to changes in laws and regulations by HM Revenue and Customs, accountants have to be up-to-date with it. Plus, the advent of new technologies like AI is being increasingly adopted by your competitors in their daily accounting processes.
Hence, you must encourage your accountants to attend industry conferences, workshops, and webinars, to learn about new technologies, best industry practices, and regulations. Also, do conduct regular in-house training and offer career progress opportunities for those who have acquired new skills and performed well.
With skilled and well-performing staff moving up in the value chain you will be motivating others to follow the same and help you in retaining talent, and help you offer value-added services to your client.
It is always said to learn from other people’s successes and failures and the same is applicable for accounting firms. Rather than making a mistake, you must go through the real-life examples and case studies of other accounting firms. It will give you an insight as to what challenges these accounting firms had to face and how these firms implemented certain strategies to overcome it. If you have overcome certain challenges like solving your talent crisis or likewise then make a case study of it. It will be beneficial for your firm for future reference.
Apart from financial benefits, by hiring apprentices in your accounting firm you are enabling them to work and learn thus helping them in developing the skills which you require. Through this approach, you can build a talent pool of trained accountants with the right kind of skills and also, they are aware of the workings of your accounting firm, thus solving your talent crisis.
Access to Experts
If in-house talent generation is not giving you optimum results, then you can go for outsourcing. Through it, you can gain access to a pool of accounting experts employed by accounting outsourcing service providers. Without outsourcing you will have to hire and train new employees apart from providing employees benefits and getting related infrastructure. All this will cost you money and divert your resources away from the core task.
By choosing to outsource, you will get access to expert accountants and they will provide quality services thus enhancing your efficiency and that without straining your finances.
Outsourcing of Specialised Tasks
Currently, accountancy is not just the simple handling of accounts but it also includes communicating with clients, building relationships, and growing into new areas. Apart from that, there are multiple tasks that your accounting firm undertakes like bookkeeping, payrolling, year-end, corporate tax, and so on. All these require specialisation which your new team will learn with experience or you would have to recruit experienced people.
But outsourcing these specialised tasks to an accounting outsourcing service provider will offer you immediate benefits. Firstly, it will reduce your burden by taking over repetitive accounting tasks that you have delegated to them. Secondly, it will allow you to focus on adding value-added services and business expansion.
Creating a Synergistic Work Environment
Building a Collaborative Culture
Collaboration between different teams within your firm is very important to achieve the common goal and it also applies to your in-house teams and the outsourcing teams. Collaboration helps in the exchange of ideas between the in-house and outsourcing teams, effective communication, and joint efforts to solve complex financial problems.
Yes, we agree that such a collaboration is not easy to achieve. To create an effective collaborative culture, you will have to adopt innovative ways such as using online tools to facilitate collaboration, moving to the cloud for remote work, having a centralized communication and storage, and encouraging openness between in-house and outsourcing teams.
Through these efforts you can internalise the collaborative culture within your accounting firm and in return you will get an increase in productivity, a reduction in errors due to effective communications, and solutions to complex problems.
Communication is very important for collaboration between in-house teams and outsourcing ones. Achieving such communication was difficult in the past due to technological limitations but not anymore.
Cloud-based software is being actively used by your competitors and offers huge advantages. While it facilitates video conferencing between different teams it is also versatile where you can share documents in real time. Apart from that, you can exchange ideas, make revisions, and provide feedback efficiently.
To summaries, we would like to say that from time to time you will be facing a talent crisis due to changes in accounting standards, updating of rules and regulations, and the influence of new technologies. Hence it is important to avoid the firefighting at the last moment and work on the strategies listed above so that you are prepared for any eventualities.
By in-house upskilling, going through case studies, and hiring apprentices you can create your talent pool. If that’s not possible then explore the option of outsourcing where you can get access to experts and outsource specialized tasks. Also, by adopting new technologies and promoting the culture of collaboration between in-house and outsourcing teams you can mitigate the talent crisis to a great extent and promote sustainable growth and success.