The Road Ahead for Finance Pros

What does the future look like for tomorrow’s accountants and finance professionals? A new report from the Robert Half International Financial Leadership Council is offering tips that recruiters can adapt in order to recruit and retain these highly skilled professionals — since finding the right mix of this skilled bunch is not always easy.

In its study of the key issues confronting the accounting, finance, and audit professions, the report gives suggestions on everything from adapting to Generation Y attitudes to coaching a more successful workforce.

During a two-day summit, the council produced a set of recommendations that “call for rethinking traditional recruitment and retention strategies, and improving collaboration between business and academia,” according to Max Messmer, CEO of Robert Half International.

The council included leaders from the corporate world, public accounting firms, industry associations, as well as accounting and finance universities in the United States and Canada.

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The report, entitled, “Charting the Future of the Accounting, Finance, and Audit Professions,” recommends the following tips:

  1. Adapt attitudes. A particular challenge for employers is adapting to the attitudes, expectations, and values of Generation Y. Strategies to counteract career dissatisfaction among entry-level professionals and enhance retention could include offering more career guidance, projects that involve continual learning, and a better balance between routine and challenging assignments.
  2. Enhance skills. To succeed in tomorrow’s accounting, finance, and audit environments, professionals need a wider range of skills than ever before. This goes for practitioners at all levels, not just students.
  3. Brush up on communication. The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most essential interpersonal skills for both seasoned professionals and new entrants to accounting, finance, and auditing. The study shows how “instant messaging” and email have actually increased, rather than decreased, the need for strong communication skills.
  4. Get analytical. Explain to your financial professionals that as they assume more strategic roles, they will need to become more analytical and be able to answer the “why” behind the numbers.
  5. Improve cultural literacy. Professionals can improve their ability to operate in today’s more global business world by increasing their cultural literacy, professional judgment, and familiarity with new financial reporting models.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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