“Accounting is the language of business.”
– Warren Buffet
Accounting and finance experts have faced a world of change from the start of the pandemic. In fact, they played a major role within their organizations to help navigate through COVID-19 while maintaining cost control, cash flow, and cash management.
Even through economic hardships, organizations and their employees have proved to be flexible and resilient by adapting new ways of hiring and ensuring they bring the right mixture of employees to ensure their bottom line and still reach business goals. There were six major hiring trends in the accounting and finance industries that resulted from the financial uncertainty of COVID-19:
Once the pandemic hit there was intense competition for businesses to stay open which required fast recruiting and hiring processes. This caused businesses to streamline the hiring process and by doing recruiting, interviewing, and hiring virtually through staffing firm websites, job posting websites, and even social media. In fact, according to the LinkedIn Workforce Report for 2021 over 97,000 companies in the United States used LinkedIn to recruit members.
Virtual recruiting also helps organizations save time and money. Going virtual eliminates the headache and stress of on-site interviews, cuts on recruiting costs, reduces time-to-fill (the amount of time it takes to fill an open position), gives the organization the ability to hold virtual job fairs and easily expand their candidate pool. Candidates can benefit from having the chance to interview in a stress-free environment and have the ability and flexibility to apply basically anywhere.
With the increase of organizations transitioning into fully remote work environments, it is critical that potential and current employees can adapt to the changes in the overall work culture to help maintain and reach organizational goals. Other changes introduced to employees beyond working from home is a change in communication, collaboration, strategy, work processes, and management.
Some employers helped ease the transition by providing work devices, integrating the top collaboration tools, virtualization tools, and allowing flexibility with scheduling and project deadlines. Even with these tools that help cushion for the blow, change can be difficult and not everyone is suited for drastic changes which can only cause stress between employer and employee. Therefore, organizations are focusing on bringing in employees with the ability and flexibility to navigate new business landscapes.
An Increased Interest On Soft Skills
As Artificial Intelligence takes a pivotal role in finance and accounting jobs, human values and soft skills are becoming more in-demand. Soft skills include interpersonal skills like communication, adaptability, work ethic, leadership, problem solving and conflict management.
Soft skills are becoming more attractive to employers because these are the qualities that cannot be replaced by an AI algorithm. Soft skills still cannot stand on their own and emphasis is still placed on crossover skills such as technology, business management, operational management, and data analysis.
Contingent hiring is a strategy that businesses use as a part of their recovery plans for situations such as a pandemic or other market uncertainty. Otherwise known as flexible hiring, employers turn to staffing agencies, contractors, freelancers, and temp workers to adapt and maintain their organizations.
An organization with a mixture of full-time, temporary, part-time or project staff helps them maintain low costs, have access to specialized skills, scale their team as needed, alleviate the workload on core staff, and remain agile through economic uncertainty.
High-Demand Specialist Positions
Financial and accounting services remained prominent and will continue to if there are businesses open. In an already high-demand, competitive hiring market, skilled finance professionals are needed to guide strategy and maintain organization’s bottom line. A few high-demand specialist positions include:
- Internal Auditors – Identify and respond to risks within an organization’s operations. They help find inefficiencies, cut costs, ensure federal and state compliance, investigate fraud, ensure safeguards, and provide insight.
- Payroll Managers – A business finance and human resources expert who makes sure employees get paid and handle all aspects of payroll. Their job includes maintaining records, calculating taxes, and balancing payroll accounts.
- Loan Administrators – The financial bridge between lender and borrower, they can help organizations process financial aid packages and access emergency funding.
- Accounts Receivable – A critical role for maintaining financial records, keeping cash accounts strong, settling debts, sending out payments, and responding to vendor invoices.
A New Role For Accounting and Finance Experts
The need for accounting and finance experts only increased after the pandemic hit to help organizations get through a time of true economic uncertainty. On the other hand, though, the need for AI increased which as well can have the abilities to take over tasks such as general accounting operations, data entry cash disbursement, revenue management, reporting, and analysis.
Even with AI, finance and accounting has a consistently in-demand hiring market and organizations are always focused on finding the best employees that fit their work culture. While AI takes over the repetitive tasks, accountants and finance staff play a hand in more crucial decisions and tasks within the organization. Candidates or employees who possess soft skills paired with the proper training can offer benefits such as leveraged insight, the ability to make the most out of limited resources, evaluating investment opportunities, and reducing expenses.
Unquestionably, accounting and finance roles have always played a critical role in businesses. With the swift change in how businesses work due to COVID-19, accounts and finances experts proved to be indispensable in navigating and maintaining their businesses through any significant economic impacts. These 2021 hiring trends are a direct impact of a pandemic and the increased demand for accounting and finance services are expected to stay long-term.