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The accounting talent pool is running dry, says Kevin Reed of Accountancy Age
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The accounting talent pool is running dry, says Kevin Reed of Accountancy Age

Finding skilled accountants isn’t easy these days. A recent post by Kevin Reed - editor of Accountancy Age and Finance Director - on the Accountancy Age blog discusses his struggle to fill a vacancy in February, apparently a good time for accountants to advertise jobs due to the January tax season coming to an end. He expresses his frustration on not finding a single interested accountant.

He resorted to a newspaper advert which only returned ‘burger flippers’. The Facebook and Twitter adverts did not even return that.  After doing everything he could normally do, one of his recruitment agency clients, who had seen his adverts on social media, approached him with a few suitable candidates.  Kevin doesn’t go on to reveal whether he managed to fill the vacancy or not, but the whole situation begs a question, are accounting talent pools really running dry? 

Whether the answer is a Yes or a No is another discussion.  In this article, we will find out what accountants can do to ensure the pools are always filled to the brim.

Social media – reach out to your networks

What’s better: sifting through truckloads of resumes or receiving a call from a trusted contact about an ace accountant looking for a new opportunity?  That was a rhetorical question, you don’t have to answer it.  Social media recruiting is an effective recruitment strategy employed by even the biggest of recruitment agencies to find talent and you shouldn’t be missing out.  Tell your LinkedIn network about your staffing needs, and you’ll have a great chance of finding a skilled accountant from the talent pool.  Take advantage of your connections as they can not only refer directly but also suggest others to help you out.  Post vacancies on Twitter and other social media too, and encourage your contacts to share the openings with their connections.

Tap into your network of current employees

Remember to tap into the network of your current employees.  Good talent knows good talent. Employee referrals with a cash or goods incentive is very effective for positions that are notoriously hard to fill through conventional channels.

Revisit old candidates

It’s worthwhile considering making contact with previous candidates who had applied but were unsuccessful.  Instead of dismissing them, bring them in for an assessment.

Consider flyers and posters

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make posters and flyers that get attention. Just write a memorable headline using a few powerful words. Focus on the benefits package you provide and add a few compelling testimonials – this will stand out in a busy marketplace or your local community. 

Hire a staffing agency

Kevin’s old senior partner used to hate agencies with a passion and as a result Kevin avoided them in his career. This certainly shouldn’t be the case. Staffing agencies cover both the active and passive talent market and are therefore critical in helping you find talented individuals.  They are knowledgeable about trends and have tie-ups with reputable professional associations.

Outsourcing for temporary needs

A recent report from APSCo reveals that the UK accounts and finance industry is finding it increasingly difficult to find staff. This could either be due to an inability to attract quality resources or a lack of hiring expertise.  One of the ways to deal with this is to outsource some accounting functions, thus making talent shortage the outsourcer’s problem.

Although it might seem that there is a shortage of talent individuals, our advice is to not give up. Reaching out through social media, tapping into your network of current employees, revisiting old candidates, hiring a staffing agency, or outsourcing to a third-party provider will ensure that you find the talent you are looking for.

Related articles: How QXAS is helping accountants meet staff shortages?



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