British accountants crippled by raging talent war

Nearly half (49%) of UK accountancy firms are suffering huge blows to growth, amid the skills and salary war raging across the profession. The astounding figure was uncovered during research conducted by IRIS Software Group (IRIS), to understand more about the vital role accountancy professionals play in British business.

Professional services firms have been hit hard by labour shortages, with many forced to turn work away due to a lack of staff, according to KPMG. IRIS also found a third (32%) cite the current skill set of talent in their firm as a barrier to growth in the next 12 months.

A leading global software provider of accountancy solutions, IRIS surveyed British accountancy firms to uncover the state of the profession as demands on their time increase as they play a vital role in helping businesses get back on their feet and boost the economy.

Startlingly, nearly one in five firms don’t want to grow any fee-paying areas over the next 12 months. With 23% citing a lack of time and skill to market the business within the firm as the main reason why they aren’t looking to expand their business.

Jim Scott, MD for accountancy at IRIS comments on the findings, “While technology is vital to driving growth, it will never replace the insight and guidance an accountant can provide businesses. They are the forgotten heroes of the pandemic. Yet the number of firms being affected by the skills shortage is eye opening and this is only being exacerbated by the “Great Resignation”. It is truly an employee’s market. The industry must do more to support firms in listening intently and working with teams to create a culture with flexibility and hybrid working at its heart to attract and retain the best talent.”

The profession is gaining awareness of this fact – over half (55%) of accountants say managing work-life balance keeps them awake at night, and one in five say implementing flexible and hybrid working arrangements in their firm does the same.

Scott continues, “Firms need to empower teams with the best software to help them thrive wherever they choose to work. New starters, and even many who have been in the profession a while, expect consumer-like technology in the workplace and won’t think twice about leaving for a digital-first firm if technology and culture don’t meet their expectations. Firms must put this at the heart of their practice to win the talent war.”

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