It’s no secret that the accountant market has become extremely competitive for employers. As Alex Wright, a Vice President at Tandym Pro, explains, “A variety of factors have led to this accountant shortage, and employers need to understand where we are now, and how they can still find great accountants.” These factors include:
- A retiring population: Baby boomers are retiring, and a large portion of accounting professionals came from this generation.
- Fewer college graduates in accounting: Conversely, fewer people entering the workforce today are interested in accounting as a profession.
- Accounting majors don’t want accounting jobs: There are a variety of ways a professional could use their accounting expertise. Lately, professionals are looking toward different career paths that are less traditional for accountants.
“With so many challenges, employers really need to step up in order to meet their hiring needs for accountants,” says Alex. From compensation and benefits to evaluating your overall hiring strategy, there are several options to consider. “When you open up to new possibilities in hiring, you’ll learn that you can still be a competitive and attractive employer to highly skilled accounting professionals,” Alex says. Here’s how to start:
Understand what accountants are looking for
Since accounting professionals often have multiple options to choose from, it’s important for employers to set themselves apart from their competition. While compensation is definitely a major factor, there are other ways to make your business the best choice. “Many organizations mistakenly think that offering fun office perks are what will attract top talent, but the vast majority of job seekers want to be engaged in other ways,” explains Alex. “Accounting professionals in particular are instead looking for companies who will provide them with a healthy work-life balance, remote or hybrid work environments, opportunities for leadership development, and a consistent challenge with increasing responsibilities.”
Widen your talent pool by being open to remote employees
When you require your employees to report to the office, you miss out on a lot of great talent nationwide. Additionally, including remote work options in your job postings will draw interest from local talent as well. Employees want flexibility in their work environment, and offering this in your open positions will present you with better quality applicants and resumes that feature more specialized skills. Without an in-person mandate, interviewing becomes simpler with the use of technology and the ability to schedule multiple interviews in one day, rather than spreading out the process over several weeks, due to factors like conflicting schedules and travel delays.
Consider hiring for potential
Employers across multiple industries are experiencing a skills shortage, and accounting is no different. That is why companies with successful hiring rates aren’t solely looking at technical skills anymore—they’re looking for employees who can learn quickly on the job and eventually take on a larger role. “Employers need to realize that the current shortage means they may not find candidates with exactly the right skill set for the job,” says Alex. “Instead, they should be open to the idea of hiring for potential. Approaching the hiring process with an idea of what you’re willing to teach can help you make a hiring decision faster. Many candidates have the ability to learn rather quickly and can be up to speed in just a couple of months.”
Be open to working with consultants
While your accounting department may be looking to add to its headcount, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should only be interviewing full-time employees. This will certainly help you expedite the onboarding process, as many consultants are looking for their next gig. “Bringing on consultants to get you through a busy season or a large project is a great idea, says Alex. When your team is stretched too thin and the work needs to get done, a consultant can step right in and offer their expertise.” Not only do project-based consultants help in the interim, they may also stay on long-term to leverage their broad range of skills, which they’ve cultivated over the years through working in different industries on various projects.