News & Views

Accountants in hot demand

Demand for accounting talent now exceeds pre-pandemic levels as regulatory changes affect market dynamics according to recruitment specialists, Robert Half (www.roberthalf.co.uk).

According to Robert Half's latest Salary Guide, 56% of CFOs think it will be more challenging to find skilled candidates in 2022, and to beat the competition to the brightest talent, employers are flexing role requirements and are relying heavily on recruitment specialists to help them fill key vacancies. CFOs are also increasing opportunities for remote working to meet candidate demand, with 57% recognizing that it is important for attracting talent in a post-pandemic world.    

However, finding the right candidate is not the only issue facing employers in the finance and accounting sector.  Robert Half found that employee retention is front of mind for CFOs, with 93% ‘somewhat to very’ concerned about their ability to keep top talent in their ranks.

“Competition for candidates in finance and accounting is fierce – especially those with the tech skills to support on digital transformation projects,” comments Leo Hewett, Associate Director, Robert Half.  “New hires can command significant salary increases, making existing staff more likely to jump ship, so those concerned about retaining talent should be prepared to put up a fight.”

One of the main drivers of employee turnover is stagnating wages for existing staff.  The report reveals that salaries have remained stable for current employees but new talent on the market can expect competitive salaries with a jump of at least 20%.  Employers who cannot afford to raise base salaries are offering to change roles and responsibilities to suit candidates who are hungry to learn and progress, as well as looking to balance the difference with benefits and flexibility.

The biggest strategic priority for CFOs and finance departments over the next 12 months is rolling out digital transformation and automation initiatives to streamline workflow, increase productivity and reduce costs.  As well as transforming internal processes, big data will be key to providing the growth insights businesses need to bolster their recovery efforts and accounting and finance teams will be expected to adapt to meet their needs.