Career training a key tool to lure accounting talent

Career training a key tool to lure accounting talent

It may not be enough anymore to offer talented finance and accounting job candidates positions with good pay, benefits, or even perks such as flexible hours.

With talent in high demand, some employers are finding that it’s essential to offer training and skills development opportunities.

Jessica Lincoln Thomas, CPA, CGMA, east regional controller for packaging manufacturer Pregis in New York, finds that candidates age 21–25 don’t even ask about training and learning opportunities. Instead, they assume they will have access to them if they are hired.

“It’s usually after that first job that they realize training is so important,” Thomas said. “You take it for granted, but in a lot of companies, sometimes you actually have to advocate for those opportunities.”

Those opportunities are important in recruiting, according to survey data. Almost two-thirds (64%) of finance and accounting professionals surveyed by staffing services firm Robert Half said the chance to gain new skills is a very important consideration when evaluating a job opportunity. An additional 34% said the opportunity to develop new skills is somewhat important when they consider a career move.

Many of these candidates are dealing from a position of strength. Forty-three percent of the respondents to the most recent AICPA Business & Industry Economic Outlook Survey said that, compared with the end of 2014, they are seeing increasing competition for good candidates. Another 25% said strong competition is continuing.

Meanwhile, 65% of respondents to a recent CPA Letter Daily poll said finding qualified talent is a significant challenge. Salaries in finance and accounting also are trending upward. Read more on the Journal of Accountancy