It’s getting harder and more expensive to hire and keep hold of employees. The “great resignation” is causing experienced accountants to reconsider their employment options and, in many cases, move on for higher salaries. AccountingWeb readers report being offered salary increases of 20% to change firms.
For trainee accountants, firms are having to reconsider their approach to filling roles. PwC recently announced that they would be offering jobs to graduates with 2:2 degrees for the first time. This may well be an acknowledgement that accounting firms now have to compete with leading tech companies to attract the best talent.
To attract new employees, and keep hold of them, accounting firms need to use fintech tools to remove manual processes and enable staff to benefit from efficiency gains so they can do more rewarding and challenging work. This will allow them to develop their skills and move up the career ladder without wanting to look for opportunities elsewhere.
There have been considerable advances in fintech over the last decade, so accountants should make the most of these changes; it’s the key to attracting talent and helping them develop their careers.
Become a cloud-first practice
Becoming a cloud-first accounting practice and implementing core accounting tools, such as Xero, will remove many manual-led processes.
This is the direction of travel the industry is moving in, particularly with the introduction of MTD, so using cloud tools to automate bookkeeping will remove repetitive and manual processes, which don’t add value and can be tedious for staff.
These vendors are at the forefront of fintech tools for accountants by automating bookkeeping, bank reconciliations and maintenance of fixed-asset registers. For example, it’s possible to set up recurring journals for depreciation of fixed assets so it automatically completes at month end with the click of a button. A recent survey by caba showed that eight out of ten accountants are stressed, so streamlining month-end tasks through automation could help alleviate this burden.
2. Automate payments and payroll
Cloud firms should take automation to the next level by using fintech-led payments and payroll tools.
Many firms are clinging to legacy software to complete these processes manually. Automating them will make them effortless for staff to complete, and it’ll free up their time to spend on more value-adding tasks.
Tools like the Modulr Payments Dashboard connect to cloud accounting and payroll software to make the completion of associated tasks quick and seamless.
Payments and payroll data are pulled through from integrated software partners to secure e-money accounts, saving time and eliminating the risk of human error. This removes the fear of accountants entering data incorrectly and needing to find significant additional time to identify and correct errors.
Additionally, with Modulr, payments are made via the Faster Payments network, so they clear in 90 seconds. This allows accountants to have better visibility on cash balances as transactions can be reconciled straight away rather than needing to make adjustments for cash in transit for Bacs payments, which take three working days to clear.
3. Make software training part of employee development
Staff should be encouraged to master accounting software and fintech add-on partners by making training on widely used tools a key internal requirement.
Mastering the likes of cash flow tools, credit control software and payments technologies used across the firm will make it easier for accountants to complete their day-to-day jobs and deliver high-quality work.
Many software vendors, including Sage and Xero, have learning materials that are CPD accredited, so completing these modules will also help fulfil development requirements from accounting bodies.
4. Get accountants involved in tech stack consultancy
Accountants should be encouraged to specialise in advising clients on tools that integrate with their accounting tech stacks and to set these up for clients.
This creates a win-win situation as employees can use their problem-solving skills to identify areas and solutions to automate processes further while also allowing clients to benefit from higher integrity real-time data. Getting employees to specialise in tech solutions for specific areas is one approach to consider. For example, this could include focussing on the high street retail to identify direct EPOS and stock management integrations.
5. Use freed up time to deliver advisory services
Once automation has been fully leveraged across everyday accounting processes, the time needed to complete statutory assignments, such as VAT returns and annual accounts, is significantly reduced. This extra bandwidth within firms should be used to develop staff so they can deliver advisory work, covering activities including access to finance, business planning and R&D tax credits.
These assignments are more specialist and can’t be automated. It's an opportunity for staff to further their skills, specialise in new areas and increase their earning potential.
Don’t forget to show off your fintech-led approach
Once firms have put all of the above into action they should ensure they promote their innovative approach on their website and job ads. Doing so will help attract new starters as well as increase inbound interest from potential new clients.
Modulr’s Payments Dashboard is a single online portal that brings all your workflows and payments together and automates them. Best of all, the dashboard integrates with you’re the accounting software you already use, such as Sage, BrightPay and IRIS, because we love them as much as you do! Which means you won't even have to consider an awkward breakup just to benefit.
Why Modulr? Well, Modulr is authorised and regulated by the FCA and we’re plugged into the same major payment schemes as UK banks, including Faster Payments, so your payments will clear within seconds, even on a weekend or bank holiday. The Modulr dashboard is secure and gives you and your clients full control and, because you'll be speeding through your payments within minutes, you'll have scope to start pushing your business in whatever direction you want to go.
Speak to an expert today.