How To Navigate The Current Accountant ShortagePosted - April 18, 2018
There is a shortage of accountants in Florida. Demand for accounting professionals is far exceeding supply, and it seems the pool of available talent continues to dwindle each year. What’s to blame for this? For one, our current unemployment rate is very low—which is great for the economy—but for an employer looking to hire, it means that qualified accountants are being scooped up quickly. Plus, the accountant shortage is only expected to get worse—according to the AICPA, roughly 75 percent of today’s CPAs are expected to retire over the next 15 years. So as an employer, how can you overcome this challenge and still hire and retain a qualified accountant for your business? Here are suggestions to help you navigate the current accountant shortage.
1. Evaluate Your Benefits
Since qualified accountants are in high demand, they have a variety of options when it comes to where they want to work. It’s important to consider makes your company an attractive place to work. What can you offer a potential hire and your current employees that goes beyond the standard health insurance benefits? Now more than ever, people value work-life balance. They rank it as more valuable than perks like company outings or parties to celebrate employee achievements. Best practice is to take time to evaluate what benefits you are offering to your employees that help them lead well-rounded lives. Flexible work hours, the option to work from home at certain times, and an understanding work environment can go a long way for today’s job seeker.
2. Prioritize Must Haves and Nice-To-Haves
The accountant shortage also means that employers have to be less selective about who they hire. That doesn’t mean you can’t still find a highly-qualified candidate; it just means you might have to throw away the idea of a “perfect” candidate. Establish what skills your new hire absolutely has to have on day one, and what skills are just nice-to-haves. In other words, what can you teach your new accountant, and what skills should they have mastery of before they walk in the door? For example, some candidates may have the exact background you’re looking for but haven’t worked with the specific software your company uses. These candidates may still be the right fit for you—you just need to acknowledge they’ll need to be trained on certain programs or procedures. Remaining realistic and flexible about hiring will help you get great accounting talent in the door without having a search take too long.
3. Expedite the Hiring Process
While you don’t want to make any rushed decisions throughout the hiring process, you also can’t afford to take weeks to get back to a prospective accounting candidate because they are in such high demand. Top candidates mostly likely are interviewing at several companies, and it’s important that you keep that in mind. Keep communicating with your candidate throughout the interview process and give them tentative deadlines for when you’ll have a decision. You should also try to group interviews together when possible; instead of having them come in for two to three separate interviews with different decision makers at the company, get them in the door and have them meet with a few different rounds of people back to back. Especially if they are currently working and can’t afford to miss that much work. Speeding up the interview process without making rush decisions is the key to locking in your top candidates.
4. Keep Recruiting After You’ve Hired Them
As important as finding accounting talent is, retaining that talent matters more! If you can’t retain your accounting talent, you’ll have to navigate the accountant shortage all over again. That’s why it’s so important to frequently touch base with a new hire after they’ve been onboarded to ask how things are going. Let them know you have an open-door policy if they have concerns and express your gratitude for the value they bring to your company. Letting a new employee know you appreciate them goes a long way in keeping them happy and reducing the costs of turnover.
If you’re still having trouble finding a full-time accountant, you might want to considering bringing on a contract temp to help with the extra work. Interim project-based workers can be great if you’re trying to fill a staffing gap or need immediate help while a more long-term search is being conducted. Get Mr./Mrs. Right-Now to help you with the overload of work while you search for Mr./Mrs. Right. It’s also wise to engage a recruiting firm to find both contract and full-time accounting talent. The right staffing and recruiting firm can be your strategic partner in finding the best accounting talent for your business, despite the current challenges of a talent shortage.