Thus far, 2023 has allowed Belfast accountants to showcase their resilience, and how indispensable a role they play in business. We’ve always known that accountancy is an industry of perpetual change, but in recent years, and even months, its evolution has come at rapid pace. Unpredictable economic shifts, the digital transformation and ever-changing regulations have compounded, with accountants ultimately having to adapt to remain relevant.
But what do the Belfast accountants of the future look like? First off, they see far beyond the number crunching and financial recording in favour of a broader set of responsibilities such as analysing forecasts, identifying emerging trends, networking – ultimately more than a Belfast accountant, but a strategic advisor.
Understanding the skillset of the contemporary accountant is important, but more important is understanding how we as business owners continue to nurture and support our industry talent to grow in tandem with the sector’s demands. How do we support talent to embrace new paradigms to and remain a central figure in their clients’ businesses?
It may seem a question with a simple answer, but many firms are yet to consider their next steps in the war against talent. According to a recent Intuit QuickBooks survey of accountants, 92 per cent have experienced hiring challenges in the past year, with numbers reaching concerningly low levels in 2022.
Talent and growth are entirely correlated
so Belfast accountancy firms should carefully and proactively monitor their resource to identify and address any emerging skills gaps. To put in bluntly, investing in human capital is a non-negotiable when it comes to maintaining client standards, and remaining in a comfortable position to accept new growth opportunities.
I believe it’s our responsibility to advocate for employees, and part of this is ensuring that career development strategies are in place to retain and attract the best. And my response focuses on talent at all levels.
Now in its fifth year, we developed and introduced our RBCA Academy Programme in 2019, to ensure that we commit to talent entering the workforce. Just these past few months we’ve welcomed six bright individuals at the very start of their careers to our fold. It makes me proud to be in the position to offer local talent a setting where I know they will thrive, not only enhancing their technical skills and having the opportunity to achieve Chartered Accountancy status, but also investing in their interpersonal development and growing to become a trusted business partners to their clients.
As Belfast Accountants, we recently invested in a new Belfast city centre office that provides the physical environment needed for productivity and learning
Furthermore, our team is exposed to and understands the importance of digital tools. In 2022, we redesigned and invested in new cloud technology, successfully tackling our tech stack. Whilst there is much debate on whether investing in software is worth the cost implication to clients, our continued growth would signal that improving efficiency and performance is key to continued success. And whilst some ill-advised pundits would argue that accountancy’s future is limited in this increasingly digital world, we argue that new accounting technologies are simply complementary to our work, and will never replace it.
People will always buy into people. Relationships are, if you will, the secret weapon of the modern-day accountant – the point of difference that gives that crucial competitive edge. Across the firm the team is encouraged to get out of their comfort zones and focus on presentation skills, and building their personal networks. And it’s a strategy that proves to be working.
Our workforce headcount has grown by 25 per cent in recent months, due to rapidly increasing client demands for our services. So, my leadership focus for the future will continue to prioritise talent. As leaders, we should all be willing to develop our employer proposition and support the continued repositioning of accountancy as the rewarding, exciting career that it is, to futureproof the talent pool for generations to come.
Keep up to date with our latest articles on the news section of our website: https://www.rossboyd.co.uk/category/news/
Follow us on Linkedin for all the latest content: RBCA | Belfast | LinkedIn