How Can We Make Accounting Cool

How Can We Make Accounting Cool

How Can We Make Accounting Cool The accounting industry has witnessed a decline in recruitment in recent years, with new graduates growing disenchanted due to burnout, and traditional accounting roles being perceived as less attractive. In addition, studies have labeled jobs in finance and accounting as some of the most “boring” in the world, accompanied by the unfortunate misconception that individuals in these roles are incompetent. This skewed perception does little to alleviate the apprehensions of those contemplating a potentially unexciting career in accounting.

To secure the future of the industry and its workforce, it is crucial to transform the perception of accounting. Workforce dynamics during the Covid-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation have accelerated retirement and placed pressure on American businesses to invest in younger and existing talent pools. Consequently, organizations must reimagine finance and accounting roles before the pool of available accountants runs dry. Below, we outline three key areas that organizations should focus on to elevate accounting and finance positions.

1. Prioritize Accountants’ Mental Health

How Can We Make Accounting Cool
How Can We Make Accounting Cool

Accountants bear the brunt of a business’s challenges, navigating month-end and year-end closures, audits, and a slew of recurring responsibilities that bring high stress levels. Handling these issues often entails grueling hours, expanding compliance obligations, and heightened scrutiny, all while contending with lofty expectations from management. Accountants often manage all of this without adequate resources to support their success.

This increasingly demanding environment, especially during tax season, has led to 83 percent of accountants experiencing burnout. Furthermore, 51 percent report that depression and anxiety cause them to dread work, and 43.5 percent believe their jobs significantly contribute to poor mental health. Amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, these factors have driven many individuals to join the ranks of the Great Resignation. In 2021, an average of 3.8 million Americans quit their jobs each month, peaking at 4.4 million people in September.

As a former accountant who has witnessed this exodus firsthand, it is clear that our industry is facing significant challenges. Prioritizing the mental health and well-being of these professionals is not just essential but a critical solution to revitalizing the industry.

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2. Invest in Technology to Eliminate Tedious Tasks

How Can We Make Accounting Cool
How Can We Make Accounting Cool

Digital transformation in accounting operations can empower companies to reverse recruitment trends and establish themselves as appealing destinations for accountants seeking to revamp their careers. At the heart of this initiative is technology that automates repetitive tasks, enabling accountants to elevate their roles and apply their strategic thinking skills.

Automation tools enable standardized, streamlined, and accelerated processes while reducing the risk of errors. For instance, U.S. controllers who do not employ automation spend nearly 70 percent of their time on traditional tasks, such as closing the books or ensuring compliance with accounting standards. However, with automation, close cycles shorten by an average of three to five days, and audits take 40 percent less time.

While most organizations recognize the need for automation, many have yet to implement these technologies due to time and resource constraints and a lack of understanding. Regrettably, delays in investing in transformative technologies can result in hindered growth and high turnover for years to come.

3. Elevate the Role of Operational Accounting

How Can We Make Accounting Cool
How Can We Make Accounting Cool

Accountants are often stereotyped as mere “bean counters,” but they play a pivotal role in strategy and operations. In today’s business landscape, accountants are indispensable and are growing in importance amid the ongoing IPO boom.

Accountants are deeply involved in various aspects of a business due to their expertise in regulations and data interpretation. They not only gain unique insights into every department but also possess the ability to recommend changes and enhance processes across an organization.

Introducing processes like automation paves the way for operational accounting excellence. With intelligent workflow solutions, the role of accounting transforms into a more contemporary, dynamic, and strategic function. This allows accountants to shift from reporting performance to actively shaping strategy, driving sales, navigating mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, compliance, and supporting ESG reporting.

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Accounting Is Intriguing and Valuable!

How Can We Make Accounting Cool
How Can We Make Accounting Cool

In the wake of the Great Resignation, companies must adopt key solutions to retain and attract accounting talent. From bolstering support for mental health to leveraging technology to simplify employees’ lives, as well as evolving modern accounting within business operations, organizations have the potential to reshape the perception of accountants from “boring” number crunchers to intriguing professionals who are highly appealing to talent. Hopefully, these efforts will lead to a significant resurgence of interest in the profession, thanks to the improvements organizations are implementing today.

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