Outsourcing accountancy work can solve the accountant skills shortage

Written by

Parth Shah

Managing Partner

The skills shortage for accountancy roles continues to grow with no sign of a solution. We explain a quick and easy fix by outsourcing accountancy services.

How to solve your accountant recruitment issues

There has been a dearth of accountants for years and yet this situation seems incapable of being resolved. Reductions in training and qualified accountants, increasing retirements and a rising requirement for financial analysts all compound the problem. For those accountants looking for a job move, salaries are being pushed up to attract the best talent and it really is a job seekers market.

Essentially, the market is changing but the workforce has not adapted to it. The recently issued Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 guide provides some sobering facts about the state of the accountancy skills shortage. Tracking back to the economic downturn in the late noughties, the situation we have now has been exacerbated by the cutbacks to training of junior staff.

“We are witnessing a shortage of middle management candidates – technically strong ACA-practice-trained accountants, specifically across the finance and accountancy sector,” says Martin Parr of the Sellick Partnership.

“This is as a result of the 2008 recession when firms cut their graduate schemes, meaning that there were less candidates entering the market. These candidates are now qualifying, giving us a shortage.”

According to the Hays research, temp and contract workers have been brought in by around 40% of accountant and finance employers while others are training-up their existing staff to fill the skills gaps.

But what about the small practices, looking for growth or to replace a key staff member and whose pockets might not be as deep as the larger groups. A reliance on contract workers or taking on more work themselves are simply not suitable options for the long term.

There is a simple solution

Accounts outsourcing used to be frowned upon but with the skills shortage ongoing and more and more operators entering the market, its adoption is growing. In fact, many high street accountants and accountancy groups are already benefiting from the access to highly qualified and educated overseas workforces, many with UK accountancy experience.

It is a big step to take and it needs to be approached with the right frame of mind – outsourcing involves entering a partnership with the outsourcing company; it is not a matter of throwing a load of accountancy work at a company and expecting them to produce a miracle. Time and training, communication and working together; companies that approach outsourcing not as a quick fix but as a long-term investment, are most definitely the ones that benefit.

Many outsourcing accounting companies will be happy to spend time explaining how they work, will give you a trial and will bring their accountants or bookkeepers to spend time at your practice to ensure they fully understand how you work, what you expect and thus are better able to deliver to your requirements.

You have the option of taking someone on a long term contract – so that person or team of people works just for you as part of your extended team; or you can buy a number of hours and your work is undertaken by a team of accountants and bookkeepers. There are pros and cons to each option and will often be dictated by the amount of work you have; taking on full time employees on a contract basis is invariably cheaper and more cost effective.

One of the big advantages of choosing right accounts outsourcing company, in addition to the financial benefits, is the ability to pull in more resources when you need them and then release them when you are over the work hump.

If you would like to investigate whether outsourcing some of our accountancy work would be a good fit for your practice, why not give us a call now?

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