Mr Batty told AccountantsDaily the growing trend of financial services firms outsourcing and offshoring work to countries such as India and Vietnam has redefined what skills firms in Australia look for when building their teams.
Already, Deloitte Australia has a team of around 300 staff in India, with about a quarter of that workforce managed by Mr Batty in Deloitte Private. Currently, the scope of work being sent offshore includes functions such as compliance and bookkeeping work but the firm is exploring which other tasks can be sent offshore too.
As a result of Deloitte’s successful venture into India, Mr Batty said the type of staff he needs in his Australian team is changing.
“We are starting to rethink the staff mix that actually makes sense to run our business,” he said.
“You’ve got to actually look more at the marketplace that you’re servicing and actually making sure that as accounting professionals you are building the skill sets, undertaking the courses and learning the sorts of things that allow you to be more attractive to a marketplace,” he said.
While in the past firms had a “pretty vanilla mindset” and hired commerce graduates then put them through the chartered accountant program, that is no longer the case, according to Mr Batty. Going forward, he said, people with strong technology skills and professionals able to better engage with clients will be in high demand.
A recent survey conducted by the Clarius Group of recruitment companies indicated the oversupply of accountants in Australia has doubled to around 1,600 since June last year, something Mr Batty said could be due to a mismatch of skill sets.
“It could well be that the people in oversupply, their skill sets aren’t right,” he said.
“Whatever the case may be, it is still a challenge to find very good people.”