‘Crisis of talent’ looming for accounting industry
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‘Crisis of talent’ looming for accounting industry

The fact that the accounting profession is struggling with the implementation of flexible work arrangements is resulting in a talent crisis, according to the founding director of one practice consultancy.

Speaking to Accountants Daily, Smithink founding director David Smith said the lack of new talent is an ongoing trend in the accounting industry.

“A really big item which sits there like a black cloud over the profession is the whole issue of how do you attract and retain the stars,” he said.

Mr Smith believes the core reason this is happening is because the industry is yet to figure out how to embrace flexible working arrangements.

“It's fair to say that a lot of the profession is still struggling with how to deal effectively with part-time workers, people working from home, all this flexible working stuff; a lot of firms are still struggling with it,” he said.

“Most firms would have those things in place now, but when people get more senior in the firm to partner level, having part-time partners and flexible working at that level is far more difficult because the clients want access.”

Mr Smith said as the Baby Boomer generation ages the impact of this will be significant.

“A lot of my generation don't want to retire completely, many of them want to continue to work, but they're going to be doing less work,” he said.

“So I think there’s a whole question for the profession to work out: what is the right model for the senior people in their firm who do want a flexible working model?”

Mr Smith said adding to the issue is the fact that Baby Boomers are not being replaced as fast as they are exiting the profession.

“The problem is that we're not pulling in new accountants into accounting firms at a fast enough rate to replace [Baby Boomers], so the profession fundamentally is heading towards a big of a crisis of talent,” he said.

“This is part of the reason why offshoring is increasingly something that firms are having to consider, and it is interesting that even firms that don't actually like offshoring as an idea much are now actually saying to themselves, 'We don’t have much choice here, we really have to consider it'.”

‘Crisis of talent’ looming for accounting industry
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