Nearly half (49%) of UK accountancy firms are facing “huge blows” to their growth amid an ongoing skills and salary war that is “raging” across the sector, according to new research from IRIS Software Group (IRIS).
It comes as KPMG found that many firms have been “hit hard” by labour shortages, with many forced to turn work away due to a lack of staff, while IRIS’s own research found that 32% of firms cite the current skill set of talent in their firm as a barrier to growth in the next 12 months.
IRIS surveyed British accountancy firms to help “uncover the state of the profession as demands on their time increase as they play a vital role in helping businesses get back on their feet and boost the economy”.
Its research found that nearly one in five firms did not want to grow any fee-paying areas over the next 12 months, however, with 23% citing a lack of time and skill to market the business within the firm as the main reason why they aren’t looking to expand.
Jim Scott, MD for accountancy at IRIS, said: “While technology is vital to driving growth, it will never replace the insight and guidance an accountant can provide businesses. They are the forgotten heroes of the pandemic.
“Yet the number of firms being affected by the skills shortage is eye opening and this is only being exacerbated by the “Great Resignation”. It is truly an employee’s market. The industry must do more to support firms in listening intently and working with teams to create a culture with flexibility and hybrid working at its heart to attract and retain the best talent.”
He added: “Firms need to empower teams with the best software to help them thrive wherever they choose to work. New starters, and even many who have been in the profession a while, expect consumer-like technology in the workplace and won’t think twice about leaving for a digital-first firm if technology and culture don’t meet their expectations. Firms must put this at the heart of their practice to win the talent war.”