Accountants are leaving the profession – how to future proof your firm

Accountants are leaving the profession – how to future proof your firm

Yet another survey has found that the majority of accountants plan to leave their profession within five years.


In February 2016, Accountancy Age reported on a survey of 1,341 accountants undertaken by, finding over half of accountants plan to set up their own business within five years amid deep concerns about their future job prospects within the profession.


Their survey claimed that four in ten accountants are worried that technology and automation will make their jobs obsolete in the future, with many considering leaving the profession within ten years.


Other highlights of the research included:


  • A third of all accountants fear the interview process (41% among accountants aged between 18-30).  A fifth of these accountants fear the process so much that it stops them from applying for jobs
  • Three in ten accountants dread going to networking events – some so much that they pretend to be sick and others admitting they feel uncomfortable and awkward in social settings
  • Six in ten accountants would like to make a career change and swap to either industry or practice. However nearly half (43%) admitted that issues are holding them back from making the move including the economic climate, lacking the right skills and fearing the change would not pan out as they envisaged
  • Four in ten accountants are currently looking for a new job – with more than a third (35%) stating their reason is to work abroad


In February 2017,  the latest data from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and recruitment specialist, Global Accounting Network, found that 61% of UK-based qualified accountants plan on changing jobs in the next two years.


A few years ago, one of theGrogroup Directors, Alex Shacklock had the pleasure of meeting Rohit Talwar, a ‘futurist’ and author. We had asked Rohit to talk at a partner’s conference for top 10 Accountancy firm on the back of a research document that his company, Fast Future, had been involved in for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).


His keynote covered the future of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) marketplace, focusing on developing sectors, technological advances, new business models and life cycles and new ways of raising finance and ownership. Rohit then gave his thoughts on how Accounting firms could provide support and value to these businesses of the future.


Those key functions of understanding clients’ businesses, breaking down financial and non-financial data, analysing trends, high quality advice and providing decision making options will continue to be the fundamental ways that firms add value. He also highlighted that additional prominence will be given to ensuring that technology advances at the required rate to support these functions.


But what really struck a chord was the difference between the words used to describe the highperforming and winning firms of the future, and the ones that we hear used to describe firms of here and now. And these don’t apply just to Accountancy firms, but to all Professional Services Firms that exist to provide great client service and generate a healthy commercial return.


Rohit’s vision for future firms included such descriptors as: fast, innovative, flexible, collaborative, agile, entrepreneurial and ‘change-able’. He expressed the need for firms to be able to take risks, to ‘fail fast and cheaply’ in order to constantly innovate for valued client solutions. Which would mean developing a culture, internal structure and operations, which are fluid and capture, retain and utilise wide ranges of people talents; and creating a balanced organisation of front-line advisors, thinkers, drivers, strategists and people leaders. Rohit spoke of the need to constantly ‘future-proof ’.


Future proof?


In general, the term ‘future-proof ’ refers to the ability of something to continue to be of value into the distant future; so that the item does not become obsolete.


The concept of future-proofing is the process of anticipating the future and developing methods of minimising the effects of shocks and stresses of future events. This term is commonly found in digital, electronics, data storage, and communications systems. It is also found in industrial design, computers, software, health care/medical, strategic sustainable development, strategic management consultancy and product design.


If you would like to discuss how theGrogroup can help you future proof your business and retain, motivate and reward your talent please get in touch on 01892 610060; we would be delighted to talk.