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The UK skills shortage is a serious problem for the accountancy profession

According to a recent survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), two-thirds of firms are finding it difficult to recruit the right talent during the current skills shortage.

This problem is particularly acute in smaller firms where there is a lack of resources to attract and retain staff.

The reasons for this shortage are complex, ranging from a lack of interest in the profession among young people and a growing demand for the skills of accountants in other sectors.

However, one thing is clear: The profession needs to find a solution before the shortage becomes even more acute.

One potential solution is to embrace technology, particularly cloud technology, automation, and AI. These tools can help alleviate the strain on firms by reducing the need for manual processes and enabling accountants to work more efficiently.

Cloud technology is a particularly powerful tool for accountants which has been embraced in many client-facing roles – largely due to Making Tax Digital and the pandemic – but has been neglected in other areas of practice.

Many ‘back office’ functions and regular work processes continue to be handled via desktop with data siloed in a range of different locations, that are entirely disjointed.

This hampers automation, which is another key technology that can help accountants work more efficiently.

Of course, there are concerns among some that these technologies will replace human accountants altogether. However, this is unlikely to happen.

While technology can automate many tasks, there will always be a need for human oversight and decision-making.

Moreover, embracing technology can help make the profession more attractive to young people. The next generation of accountants is more tech-savvy than their predecessors, and they will expect to work in an environment that embraces technology. Firms that fail to do so risk losing out on the best talent.

At a time when recruitment and retention of skilled professionals is a key concern, embracing cloud technology and automation could be the key to alleviating the immediate strain of being short-staffed, while ultimately making the profession more attractive to young people.

Without investment in technology across a practice, many firms may struggle in the years ahead. Do you want to reinvigorate your practice and use technology to free up time for your team? Find out how our digital working papers can help but joining one of our upcoming product webinars.

 

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