The Accounting and Finance talent pool is shrinking — significantly and rapidly. This spells trouble for an industry already navigating a tight labor market. The lack of accounting and finance professionals affects companies across all industries and sizes, but small to medium-sized organizations are impacted the most.
The exodus is driven by multi-generational workforce career transitions and exits.
There is an unlucky trifecta of baby-boomer retirement colliding with millennials and Gen-Xers leaving the profession and fewer college students pursuing Accounting and Finance degrees. The numbers are eye-opening:
- More than 300,000 U.S. accountants and auditors left their jobs in the past two years, a 17% decline
- Open accounting and audit roles are the highest they’ve been since 2008
- Finance-related occupations are expected to grow 7% by 2031, resulting in 715,100 new jobs in the next decade
- The number of U.S. students who completed accounting degrees fell by 2.8% for bachelor’s and 8.4% for master’s in the 2019/2020 academic year
- 75% of baby-boomer accountants were near or at retirement by 2019
As it takes companies longer to fill positions, the fight for talent is heating up, yet again, with higher wages and ultra-competitive benefit packages. But amid a slowing economy, not all firms and organizations are equipped with a robust HR budget.
Here are a few other ways to navigate this challenging time:
Hire consultants to fill talent gaps
Unfilled positions result in lost productivity. Highly qualified interim consultants can quickly power up your workforce and help mitigate the employee burnout that has dragged on from the pandemic to the Great Resignation, War for Talent, and recent social and economic volatility.
As more and more overworked and disengaged employees look for reasons to leave, consultants can reduce that burden and improve retention. They also require less training and onboarding, and oftentimes grow into valuable members of your organization. View our latest list of interim consultants.
Highlight selling points about the position
There is a misnomer that accounting is a boring job, whereas the career is actually dynamic and exciting. Accountants and finance professionals are responsible for innovating business, building relationships, improving communications, and driving digital transformation.
Highlight these selling points when promoting an open position. Also, emphasize the unique benefits of working with leaders and decision-makers across departments which helps further diverse skill sets.
Promote professional development and transferable skills
With the experience gained in Accounting and Finance careers, many employees develop transferable skills. With a foundation in financial analytics tools, including business management software, systems, and applications, accountants can serve in different functions within your company.
They can work cross-functionally to support digital, sales, and services teams. Interpersonal and communication skills make them valuable collaborators with marketing and customer experience teams. Create opportunities for them to work laterally with different departments and provide professional development in their areas of interest and expertise.