Talent Management, Remote Work Among Top Issues For Accountants in 2022: Caseware Report
By Greg Enright
Accounting practice leaders have always had to be highly skilled at managing change. Whether it’s adopting new technologies, introducing new hiring strategies, or welcoming innovative approaches to client management, a firm’s willingness and ability to change course has always been a crucial factor in building a successful practice.
It’s tough to think of a previous point in time, however, when accounting firms have had to be more adaptable than during the past two years. This, of course, is thanks to the global pandemic, which has presented leaders with an unprecedented array of unique challenges to overcome just to maintain some semblance of operational normalcy — let alone be proactive and actually try to grow their business.
In the fall of 2021, Caseware set out to discover how accountants were dealing with such unprecedented circumstances — ones that continued to affect their operations well into the pandemic’s second year. We did so by launching a global survey of accounting leaders, soliciting thoughts and opinions on the issues that are most important to them. Running from September through to the end of November, the survey garnered more than 3,000 responses across 130 countries.
We then took the resulting data, along with countless comments and observations submitted by recipients, and distilled it into Caseware’s first annual State of Accounting Firms Trends Report, which we are now happy to release. It provides a window into what’s happening in accounting offices around the world. The findings reveal what practice leaders are doing to attract today’s top talent, how they are interacting with clients and colleagues in a world that remains mostly virtual, and how technology is helping them survive and thrive — among many other key practice management topics.
Hiring the Best Accounting Staff
Some of the findings on the most pressing of today’s topics reveal that:
- Talent management is proving to be a BIG challenge: Finding and hiring the right accounting staff is clearly a top issue for accounting firms. A full 94 percent described it as challenging: 42 percent said it was “extremely challenging,” while 53 percent saw it as “somewhat challenging.” As Caseware Industry Strategist Sarah Coulson notes, the talent management situation extends further into the area of retention. “With many in-person recruiting events canceled or turned virtual, it is more difficult to build connections during talent acquisition. While firms are adapting their hiring practices, the retention of existing employees is equally as important.”
- The move to the cloud is on: With more than two-thirds of respondents indicating they are using some form of cloud computing, it is clear this model is taking hold within accounting practices. The well-established benefits that come with the cloud model, such as less hardware maintenance, military-grade security and centralized document storage, are becoming broadly recognized within the global accounting community. “Implementing cloud technology on engagement software was game-changing for me when I was a practicing accountant,” says Coulson. “I was able to access an engagement file from a separate location and clearly understand the issue the team was facing in real time.”
- Client collaboration under pandemic conditions continues to challenge accounting practices: The majority of those surveyed (57 percent) felt their overall client engagement process was not as efficient as they would like it to be. The findings point to a heightened need for firms to adopt technologies that can automate many of the aspects that can bog down the collaboration process and provide a platform for effective two-way communication between client and accountant.
Accounting Hybrid Office Strategies in 2022
Caseware’s 2022 State of Accounting Firms Trends Report also takes the pulse on other notable topics, including:
- Adoption rates of advanced technologies, including analytics software and process automation tools
- Visibility levels into client engagements and staff workloads
- How firms view remote work and what their return-to-office plans are in the year ahead
- And much more.
The report provides you with a look into how your peers are dealing with many of the changes and challenges that you, too, are no doubt facing, and offers insights into how to keep your firm on the right track toward success in 2022. We hope you find it a source of valuable and useful information during an era in which change often seems to be the only constant.
Get your free copy of the 2022 State of Accounting Firms Trends Report today.
Caseware also recently released its 2022 State of Internal Audit Trends Report.