Succession planning is key for future success

There are many misconceptions about accountancy. Seen in the past, perhaps unkindly, as projecting Dickensian images of men in frock coats wielding quills over stuffy ledgers.

That has changed dramatically and accountancy is right at the heart of the 21st century technological revolution, although there are still a few grey men in grey suits stalking the corridors of accountancy firms.

But as the economy comes out of the pandemic doldrums, many positive indicators like Covid-induced public spending beginning to fall, job vacancies up and unemployment falling, is tempered by skill shortages across the UK economy.

The growth is good news for SMEs with people spending on their houses with improvements and cash saved during the lockdown flowing back into the economy. Even accountancy shows are taking place again.

The SME market makes up over 95 per cent of UK businesses and they are, obviously, vitally important for accountancy firms.

The challenge is to recruit the right staff. Not an easy task according to a recent survey which suggests three quarters of industry is feeling the impact of skilled worker shortages, with 73 per cent of accountancy firms said to be struggling.

There could be a number of factors at play here including the Covid pandemic itself, changes to IR35 contracting rules and possibly the effects of Brexit and thousands of European workers returning home.

The pandemic itself may well have had an impact, affecting training and mentoring as more people worked in isolation in their homes.

Defining skilled workers is difficult, because there are skills in all sectors of employment including some of the hardest hit in hospitality, logistics and particularly in white collar areas like accountancy.

In a technologically dominant world, all bring their own special skills to the table, whether it be working as a specialist in a top restaurant or hotel, or a logistics expert in a transport firm, they are all important.

Not everyone who goes into accountancy has a degree or higher-level education qualification, so there is an opportunity for a wide labour market to be tapped.

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Posted in For Accountancy Practices.