Challenges facing financial professionals and accounting firms
August 06, 2015

The accounting and finance industry faces unique challenges, as do the people within it. Both accounting firms and financial professionals can take proactive steps to better prepare themselves for positive and meaningful careers in their industries.

Challenges facing firms in 2015
The Hinge Research Institute conducted a survey of 350 professional service firms around the country and shared the results on Accounting Web. Of those participants, 17 percent were in the finance and accounting industry. One of the top challenges facing these financial firms was recruiting and retaining top talent. Fifty-one percent of financial firms found it difficult to discover highly qualified accountants and considered it a major point of concern in 2015.

In addition, leadership skills and an in-depth understanding of technology were lacking in many candidates these firms considered for employment.

Accounting students feel ill-prepared
It seems that accountants themselves are on the same page as the firms to which they apply: a recent Accountemps survey discovered 56 percent of new accounting and financial professionals felt they lacked certain skills when they started their first jobs after graduation. These respondents felt they were not prepared for the office environment or their tasks. Alarmingly, 14 percent stated they were not prepared at all.

When asked to discuss this sense of ill-preparedness further, new accountants said the knowledge they gained in the classroom didn't adequately translate into the office. They also felt politics among co-workers were foreign and difficult to navigate.

How can firms improve recruiting and retention?
To alleviate the issues both firms and professionals face, it may behoove businesses to develop robust internship opportunities. It's imperative college students get a taste of the real-world office environment before graduating if they want to make the transition from school to career more manageable. This type of program could also benefit firms by providing an opportunity for training and experience before a hiring decision. 

Mentorship programs can also be an effective method of training and team building. Asking experienced accounting professionals to not only teach new hires secrets of the trade but also offer insight into navigating office politics can be enormously beneficial. When employees in any department feel welcomed into a new setting, the likelihood that they stay on board increases. The key to a healthy financial industry is firms and professionals working together to provide quality service to clients and each other. 

Nexus: G-WEBCD3