Louise Pope, director of Aequalis Consulting, told AccountantsDaily that the measures in place within the accounting industry do little to develop the skill set of practitioners, with learning and development practices currently ineffective.
“As a result, organisation performance suffers and there is a pool of accounting professionals [that is] underdeveloped,” said Ms Pope.
According to Ms Pope, the growth in technically specialised and strategic roles will have a fundamental effect on the future of talent across accounting organisations.
“It is paramount organisations have talent programs in place to develop technical skills […] focusing on training future business leaders who must hold the necessary commercial and soft skills increasingly required at the top level.”
Ms Pope noted that firms needed to be realistic in their succession planning implementation, and develop employee propositions with true career development at the heart of the model.
“Jobs aren’t for life anymore, and being set for life on the road to partnership is a thing of the past. These graduates are likely to change company 10 times before they are 40.”
She added: “They aren’t interested in staying with the same organisation, all the more reason for firms to implement succession planning.”
Demographic shortages due largely in part to the retirement of the baby boomer generation and a failure to recruit young graduates into the industry during the 90s has also had an impact on the current state of the profession, Ms Pope continued.
“The recruitment of young graduates into the profession was not sufficient to provide an adequate pool of future demand.”
She said: “As the roles of accounting professionals change, and the skills needed to perform these roles evolve, there is a considerable gap between demand and supply of skills that the organisations need. Succession planning isn’t a luxury, it’s essential.”