As you may be aware, Richard Lloyd is currently celebrating its 10th birthday and we are incredibly proud to have reached this milestone. On a personal note, it’s been a fantastic journey, and it is a real pleasure to see the business that I started with Geoff a decade ago grow, change and reach these heights.
The last 10 years in Accounting recruitment, and indeed across the business world at large, have ushered in a great deal of change. Much of this is down to technology, and many of the changes in the way we work have mirrored the changes in our everyday lives. Job seekers have greater accessibility to opportunities, with organisations and recruiters having new means to screen and source candidates for their roles.
However, this period of change has mostly been one of adjustment; understanding that these new opportunities and channels exist, and learning how to use them which sets up a very interesting platform for the next 10 years. What’s in store in the Accounting profession, and what do you need to know to succeed over the next decade? Here are a few of the most common points that keep coming up in the conversations I’m having.
It feels like we haven’t stopped talking about technology for the last 10 years (and that’s unlikely to change!) – so let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Technological developments will continue to increase in number and complexity, and will impact the field in all the ways predicted; AI, machine learning, automation, and so on.
While a number of people are worried about the role technology will play, and whether it could lead to the loss of jobs, there are certain areas that software simply can’t replace. In recruitment, we’ve been having this conversation for a while now (since the rise of online job boards!). We are of the belief that no machine can replace a recruiter’s ability to understand ambiguity, relate to people’s hopes and career aspirations or align their values with an organisation.
In general, people will need to become more comfortable working with and keeping up with emerging technologies as they evolve at pace. AI and other future tools will no doubt continue to have a presence in our workforce going forward, but it’s unlikely to spell the end for either Accountants or those on the recruitment side. What it will do, however, is push new skills to the forefront.
Reflecting a key change, industry-wide, we’re seeing a new desire from both job seekers and organisations for business-partnering and analytically-focused positions, rather than traditional Accounting roles. Accounting is no longer just a back-office function, it has fast become a critical, forward-looking department; partnering with the senior management team to have a direct impact on the strategic direction of organisations.
This ties back to the point around technology, which can assist in anything number-related – soft skills are where the gap needs to be filled. From what we can see in the market, the Accounting professionals who will flourish in the next 10 years are the ones who understand the nuts and bolts of Accounting, and apply that with commercial nouse, keeping the bigger picture in mind at all times.
On the recruitment side, we’ve seen personal branding become more important in recent years. This trend is showing no sign of slowing down either. Social media is omnipresent, with 79% of Australians now active users, and the primary means for people to find the services that they want. Because of the nature of social media and the internet, there’s an oversupply of information and you need to stand out much more than in past years. For recruiters, this means acknowledging the platforms your audience uses to ensure that you are connecting with hiring managers and job seekers in the way they prefer.
Paying attention to your branding is crucial because it is so available. Remember the responsibility you have; people are letting you take the reins of their careers, and organisations are trusting you to find the people that they need. Everything about your presence needs to reflect that you’re a trusted advisor in your sector. Don’t just be available on all the necessary channels, be visible – don’t be afraid to publicise yourself regularly.
However, branding isn’t just important for those who need to sell their services. The simple fact is that in today’s constantly connected world, it’s important for everybody. For Employers and Accounting professionals: branding is going to be one of the most significant factors when it comes to your success in the next 10 years, whether it’s in your career or in attracting and retaining talent.
Most employers will have likely noticed the impact that company branding has on attracting talent. 10 years ago, it was possible to have a great brand and still be a bad place to work. However, with the increase in people reviewing their workplaces online or otherwise vocalising their experiences, transparency and visibility around this have increased drastically. Negative word of mouth can have a devastating impact on a business, which means that it’s now crucial for branding to be considered and discussed in everyday operations.
The same goes for the Accounting sector. Be aware of what is visible about you on social media, and whether or not it reflects who you are, and the image that you want to project as a professional. If not, view your profiles in the eyes of a prospective employer and make changes to ensure that each channel you use is aligned with your branding.
Branding, as discussed above, is incredibly important when it comes to networking. The strength of your brand can be directly linked to the strength of your network, which is why networking will remain as important as ever over the next decade. Whether you’re recruiting or being recruited, your network adds credibility – especially in an area like recruitment.
What won't change in the next decade is that recruitment is both people and relationship driven. Here at Richard Lloyd, we’re proud to say that there are many candidates we’ve worked with over the years who have become our clients. Once they reached a level of seniority and made decisions on hiring themselves, their previous experience with us saw Richard Lloyd as the obvious choice of recruitment partner. These are the relationships that will endure the ups and downs in the market, and the reason why networking is a timeless skill.
It all comes back to visibility – be a presence at industry events and make yourself available to the people you’re trying to engage. If you’re not able to do this in person, then leverage your online brand and make connections that way.
With the development of technology, change is inevitable, and the Accounting and Recruitment professions will continue to evolve at pace. The key is not to get left behind by this change. Embrace the tools that are available; some make certain tasks easier and can solve problems (the recent rise in video interviews is an example of this) and some can improve processes and enable you to make better use of your time (automation).
From a recruitment perspective, technology can only go so far in our opinion in understanding ambiguity together with the personal characteristics of two parties who ultimately will form a professional partnership.
The same goes for Accounting. We’re already seeing the analytical and insight-driven side of the role becoming more important, and we expect this to continue as we go forward. Long-term success is going to be derived from the ability to provide value in those areas, with Accountants becoming more directly involved with the strategic goals of the business. To us, those sound like the foundations of an exciting future.
Here’s to the next 10 years!