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In today’s tight finance labor market, technology matters


In today’s tight finance labor market, technology matters

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Across industries and geographies, organizations are struggling to hire the right talent and working to make their workplaces, policies and compensation more appealing in order to attract new candidates and retain existing staff.  Finance teams are not immune to the labor shortage, and winning the accounting talent war is a key goal of Sage Intacct customers and prospects in 2022.

During a February 2022 webcast hosted by IMA – The Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business – we spoke about the labor crunch and conducted a live poll with more than 1600 webcast attendees.   We asked: ‘How are staffing or labor shortages affecting your team?’

The feedback showed the staffing shortage is time-intensive; 42% of participants stated they are spending more time on hiring-related tasks.  Offering remote work was an important way to attract talent; 28% noted they are hiring more remote employees.  Technology was also an important way to make staff more productive; 26% indicated they are investing in automation technology to stretch resources while 18% are investing in new technology to attract and retain talent.  When asked what they see as the top challenge for their accounting teams in 2022, ‘staffing shortages’ was the top response.

Automation is used as human extenders

By leveraging automation and artificial intelligence to take over routine functions, companies can improve efficiency and accuracy without adding staff.   Automating repetitive tasks also frees up time for team members to focus on more strategic initiatives.  After all, employees who spearhead higher-value activities that drive financial performance are likely more engaged and happier, which helps businesses keep talent regardless of a hot job market.

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Upskilling is a win-win

Adding automation or advanced reporting to your accounting technology portfolio can make staff more efficient, but it can also require advanced skills to navigate and optimize the technology.  Resources with training in automation techniques and accounting analytics are in short supply in the current labor market, making upskilling and retraining existing staff to master these new capabilities an attractive option.  Upskilling can be an ideal solution for companies that want to take advantage of new software with the help of staff familiar with the environment.

Most employees welcome the opportunity for continuous learning and believe the added knowledge will benefit their careers.  In fact, it is one of the primary considerations for people deciding whether to remain with their company or accept an offer from a competitor. Therefore, upskilling is worth the investment since the price of turnover and acquisition per new hire can be very costly.

Creating Work-life balance

In addition, companies are coming to realize that the value of the cloud extends to recruiting and retention.  By implementing a remote work environment, businesses have a larger talent pool to choose from when seeking to fill new roles.  Employees appreciate the ease of connecting from anywhere to get things done while gaining more control of their time – the key ingredient to achieving a healthy work-life balance.

Whether they’re spending more time with their kids, volunteering, joining a fitness club, or simply choosing to work outdoors, modern professionals embrace the importance of flexible schedules and well-being.

In another recent webcast, we spoke with Sophia Shafiq, Controller at Red and White Fleet in San Francisco.  She described how moving to a cloud-based financial management solution opened new opportunities for better work-life balance.

“I actually took a two-week vacation for the first time in 10-12 years,” she said.  “I left the country, but thankfully we had Sage Intacct, so I was able to log in and submit payroll and look at financials while sitting on the beach having coffee.”

As the labor crunch continues, small and medium-sized organizations are ramping up their use of technology to support finding and retaining qualified talent.  Companies are automating standard transaction processes and providing opportunities for employees to learn new software and analytics skills.   Cloud-computing is becoming more commonplace, enabling staff to work from home and create a better work-life balance.   Technology advancements are proving to be the foundation for companies with happy and motivated team members.

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