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Winning the race for talent – 3 reasons why firms must invest in tech




Originally featured in AIT.

The accountancy profession is facing disruption from all directions. The ongoing skills shortage and the race to secure talent is having a profound impact across the industry. Faced with the ongoing cost of recruitment and the impact of replacing people, firms at all levels have recognised the need to overhaul their retention strategies and enhance their employee offering.

A key theme to emerge has been the need to embrace technology as a way to increase flexibility, reduce burnout, and make people’s working lives easier. We asked industry thought leaders to share their perspective on why firms must prioritise their people and invest in the right technology to support them.

1. Firms cannot attract talent with compensation alone
Firms are recognising that they cannot sustainably compete on compensation alone. A top concern for firms competing for talent is keeping on top of the right technology and solutions to support, manage, and enable their teams. With their skills in high demand, talented individuals can be more selective and match potential employers against their wants and expectations. To attract and retain talent firms must continue to proactively embrace technology with the employee experience in mind.

“My advice would be to think long-term but act now. Talk to your employees, ask them what they actually need and what changes to systems, culture, or processes would help to make their lives better, feel compelled to do their best work, and valued enough to stay.”
Jeffery Hales, Chair of SASB Standards Board

2. Firms will not retain the top talent with outdated systems
Employees, and digital natives in particular, are less likely to be attracted by outdated systems, ‘hand-me-down tech,’ and unnecessarily manual processes. A talented and ambitious accountant looking to advance is unlikely to find fulfillment if limited to working on low value, repetitive tasks. Talented individuals should be equipped with the right software and systems to allow them to work efficiently and recognise the value oftheir work.

“To succeed in today’s market, firms should make investments in the right technology and systems to support and enable a high-performing culture. Without that, teams will continue to be burdened with manual tasks that could be solved via automation. If high-performing individuals see that the work they are doing is not as valuable as it could be, they will seek opportunities to progress their careers elsewhere.”
‍Carsten Nielsen, Partner at KPMG Denmark

“Establishing a process and expecting it to age gracefully is no longer a viable model due to the changing nature of your workforce. The ability to evolve with your workforce is key to creating a sustainable process that can scale with the growth of your organisation as well as with the personal growth of your people.“
‍Christine Robinson, Resource Management Director at Baker Tilly US‍

3. Firms must do more with less without putting the burden on teams
report from Hays showed that 19% of firms admitted that their organisation does not have the talent needed to achieve its current business objectives. This means that firms must continue to drive efficiencies and plug existing skills gaps while minimising the impact on their teams to avoid burnout. For this reason, the need to embrace automation (and do more with less) is at the forefront for firms.

To win the race for talent and succeed in today’s market, firms must make investing in the right technology a priority. Deployed in the right way and within the right culture, technology can reduce the burden on teams, allow them to be more productive, and enable them to deliver more valuable and strategic work. By listening to and addressing the needs and daily frustrations of their teams, firms can cultivate a better and more competitive employee experience.

Read the full insight report to discover how leading firms are using people-inspired initiatives to attract and retain the talent they need to succeed.

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