Accounting and bookkeeping date back thousands of years as occupations — to ancient Mesopotamia 7,000 years ago, in fact. But today's finance sector isn't your ancient bookkeeping — or even your grandfather's (or grandmother's) accounting. Technology and data are driving major shifts in the sector. Finance job trends include innovative tech like blockchain, cloud computing and AI, and employees in the sector must have the skills to work within increasingly technical and digital environments.
Discover more about trends in finance jobs below so you can be prepared with hiring processes that support success for your business into 2022 and beyond.
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automation of accounting processes
The accounting of yore involved tedious low-level processes and tasks. A hundred years ago, bookkeeping was done by hand without even a calculator, and a couple of decades ago, computers did little more than take the arithmetic out of the equation.
Today, automation can remove much of the tedium. Low-level and repetitive tasks, including data entry, can be handled with app and software solutions.
A huge benefit of automation is that human accounting teams can focus on complex or high-value tasks. For employers, this means a need to hire accounting professionals capable of those high-value tasks who are also skilled at working within environments that include automation tools.
outsourcing accounting functions
Trends in accounting jobs include a skills shortage. Through 2028, it's expected that 22,300 new jobs will be created in the sector. However, only 21,700 new job seekers are expected to enter the industry — that includes new grads with relevant degrees, immigrants and professionals making mid-career shifts into the sector. Those numbers simply won't be able to keep up with the growing demand for finance skills.
One way companies can deal with such a skills shortage is by outsourcing accounting tasks to freelancers, contractors or accounting firms. You might choose to do this instead of having an in-house accounting department to reduce overall labour costs. Or, you might outsource as a way to keep up with increasing scale during high-volume seasons.
new tech adoption in the sector
Close to a quarter of finance companies say they'll invest between $5 and $10 million in blockchain during 2021. So far, financial companies have dropped more than $550 million on the technology.
Blockchain isn't the only technology making waves in the industry. Cloud-based accounting provides a secure, easily accessible option, and it also helps you create processes that support remote work. Remote work environments let you hire top talent because you're not limited by geographical boundaries — which is another way to help battle against skills shortages.
Even artificial intelligence is playing a role in evolving an ancient industry that has previously been slow to change.
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big data's growing role in accounting
Big data is a growing force in many sectors, and finance is not excluded. Data can help financial professionals predict future economic trends for businesses and support successful decision-making on the part of company leadership. The ability to parse data and transform it into actionable insights and patterns lead to cost savings, increased revenues and more intelligent investments.
Hiring talent with data analytics skill sets is becoming more important for businesses of all types, including accounting organizations.
reliance on technical skills and IT resources
With the trends above, you can probably guess that technical skills will be imperative in the accounting businesses and departments of the future. That means looking for professionals outside of bookkeepers and accountants. You may need to consider your need for developers, data analysts and cybersecurity staff.
a need to keep up with advisory changes and legal shifts
Staying compliant in an ever-changing market is hard, and that's even truer for businesses that have literal money on the table. Staying competitive by using software and hiring consulting services to handle advisory changes and legal shifts can be a good idea. But employers may also want in-house staff equipped with this knowledge and experience to oversee external processes.
a shift to permanent remote or hybrid work environments
As with most office-based roles, finance jobs are shifting to permanent remote or hybrid work processes. Hiring people you can trust and who are able to manage themselves and their work in a remote environment is critical to future success.
By understanding finance job trends, you can make plans to hire the right professionals to support future success for your business. You can also ensure you're paying those professionals a competitive wage so they're likely to stick with you long-term.