How we can close the finance skills gap

According to a recent survey by Jobsite, 90% of CFOs are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit talented accountants.

The survey also found that there has been a 30% decrease in candidate movement in Q1 of 2019 due to the UK’s economic climate.   

In 2016, KPMG carried out a study which showed that the number one barrier that needed to change in finance was finding and retaining talented qualified finance staff. Fast forward three years and finding talent is still an issue that is more critical to businesses than ever.

Several industries are facing skills shortages issues but organisations and educational institutions across science, technology, engineering and maths have set a great example of what other industries can do to attract more people.


The media is filled with how STEM organisations are introducing young adults to the career prospects in science, technology, engineering and maths industries by hosting open days at factories, running school assemblies and sponsoring STEM after school clubs.

At the moment, the only real way of knowing about careers in finance is by googling ‘careers in finance’.

Accountancy and finance are both increasingly active job markets with opportunities that can catapult into long term careers. However, there is a limited amount of information available on the discipline to attract passive candidates.

Financial organisations and institutions can do a lot to change this:

  • Organise assemblies on career progression, pathways and benefits of a career in finance.
  • Sponsor AAT qualifications for young people who excel in maths and statistics.
  • Team up with schools and colleges to offer students internships and work experience which fits around their studies.
  • Combine an AAT qualification with Level 3 or A-Level accountancy


Ernst & Young’s latest report showed that eight in ten respondents said they are not equipped with the necessary skills to meet the demands of accountancy and finance jobs in the next decade.

In the same report, finance professionals expressed a high importance of accounting bodies introducing courses that focused on skills that are complementary to accounting.

Organisations who can forecast emerging trends affecting their sectors, can be proactive in the training they offer their employees to suit the upcoming changes in the industry. This would result in there being an immediate advantage to upskilling.

In addition to fostering long term learning, organisations could promote job shadowing or job rotation so that finance employees can develop a greater understanding of business operations.

By providing this type of support, these highly skilled accountants could be the organisation’s greatest assets and could be an advantageous strategy for retaining top talent.

The most challenging barrier in finance is finding accountants and finance professionals who are strategical thinkers. To do this, organisations need to look at upskilling their employees but to upskill they need to have dedicated time to training employees.

Accountancy bodies could offer monthly training sessions on an evening. These sessions would provide accountancy and finance professionals with expert training on forward thinking, business strategy and career progression.

Affordable courses

Last month, the coding institution, Northcoders launched a new payment plan to make courses more affordable to students. The payment plan works like a university loan, once the student has completed the course, they don’t start paying it back until they earn £25,000. This makes the course more affordable and accessible for people who have limited earnings or funds.

The average cost of a basic AAT course is anything from £700-£2000 depending on location. This qualification is key to most entry level accounting jobs. By offering a student loan option to people who do an AAT course could open up so much more possibilities of a career in accountancy and finance.  

Making courses affordable isn’t the only issue. There’s a lack of information available about which qualification path to take. Each qualification in accountancy and finance can open completely different doors for students.

Our Accountancy and Finance Talent Pool is the strongest

We are Yorkshire’s market leading Accountancy and Finance recruitment firm with over 75 years of combined experience in accountancy and finance recruitment.

Our 15+ highly skilled recruitment consultants specialise in all aspect of the accountancy and finance recruitment from Transactional, Part Qualified and Qualified Finance through to Senior Finance and CFO and Financial Leadership.

We enjoy continued success and repeat business with a vast portfolio of clients ranging from multinationals to start ups, SMEs to PLCs , not for profit and public sector organisations.

To find out how we can assist you in your next key hire please click the link below:


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