The nation-wide shortage of accountants has been a hot topic since 2018 analysts noted that current graduation rates of accountants is likely to fall substantially short of the over 90,000 new accounting jobs anticipated by 2028.
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA – CIMA) reports that up to 75% of current accountants will retire in the next 15 years and that graduations of new accountants is down an average of 4%.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment among accountants was significantly lower than the national unemployment rate and it is anticipated as the economy recovers that trend will continue.
FOUR WAYS TO ADDRESS THE SHORTAGE
Take Advantage Of Automating Software
Though some accountants worry that automation and efficiency-driven software solutions threaten their positions, quite the opposite is true. With the increasing need for qualified accounts, those experienced with automation and efficient software become even more sought after. Although machine learning, AI, and automation will eliminate some lower skilled positions, it will put a premium on skilled individuals for high-level tasks including auditing.
Tools to improve supply line management, payroll management, and automation of routine tasks deliver significant cost reductions to forward thinking businesses. It allows skilled staff to complete complicated tasks quickly and non-CPA staff to complete routine time-consuming tasks.
As competition for talented accounts increases businesses will need to offer enhanced benefits, bonus programs, and office environment enhancements. Millennials are focused on quality-of-life issues and the ability to advance within an organization.
Expanding the skill set of qualified employees is an investment that benefits both the employee and employer. Adding sales skills, leadership skills, and technical certification training can expand the scope of work that can be completed by employees, providing efficiencies and cost savings. It can significantly increase employee loyalty and reduce attrition.
With the ever-increasing advent of Cloud solutions, the time for virtual offices has arrived. Many Millennials prefer to work remotely and are familiar with the technologies involved. The pandemic has provided businesses a proving ground for managing remote employees and has developed a comfort level with web-communication tools, as well as, Cloud-based solutions. Moving forward many skilled accountants will prefer to work from home and it will likely delay the retirement of older, experienced accountants.
The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the coming shortage of accountants and provides employers the opportunity to implement these actions to insure the shortage does not impact their business.