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Accountant numbers are dwindling, what we can do about this?

business partners high-fiving each other in the office

It’s time for a change. We all have the opportunity to be part of positive change in our industry, and there are different ways of valuing the work of the people who work alongside you:

  • Paying staff for the value of their work
  • Paying staff fairly based on their output, regardless of their gender or ethnicity
  • Allowing staff to contribute towards all parts of the work cycle
  • Provide flexible work hours and conditions for staff
  • Treating the people who work for you with respect, rather than a glorified desk

Starting from within is a great first step, but the problem does not lie solely at a practice level. We also need to challenge the outdated public perceptions of our industry.

Creativity and respect

Young architects are seen as ‘creators’, and are given the kind of respect a young accountant can only dream of. If a young professional shares their ambition of becoming an accountant, how many would respond with the same excitement and praise?

Once again, false narratives are at play. Accountants are in a unique position where they can see the financial landscape, they know business owners, and they understand where business owners sit within said landscape. This is a nexus of possibility – which is certainly something to get excited about.

Each accountant holds huge potential. Imagine if every accountant gave one piece of advice which lifted the net profit of a business owner by 1 or 2% – this could be enough for a family holiday for that business owner. How is it not thrilling to be able to make significant differences in people’s lives (or on an even greater scale, the economy)?

Our output is not physical or tangible like a house, but it is real. Even if we weren’t able to offer that one piece of advice (which we are), we can still relieve stress from every businessperson on the planet. We are often the first port of call for many needing business counsel.

A good accountant truly does care for their clients. During COVID, many accountants began their day by taking calls with distressed business owners on the other end of the line. By the time the first lockdown had passed, this sentiment was shared, with the weight of all this stress placed directly on their shoulders.

We are here to offer independent, professional advice when people need it most. An accountant is a combination of mentor, friend and advisor all in one. It’s our job to translate, explain, comfort and advise.

What should we tell young people?

When we look through these false narratives, the truth emerges – being an accountant is a service and an honour. We walk alongside businesspeople, through good times and bad, helping them frame the futures of their livelihoods and their families. We create generational change and support the economy along the way.

There will always be a need for that.


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