How to prevent the skills shortage from hampering your business growth

How to prevent the skills shortage from hampering your business growth

How to prevent the skills shortage from hampering your business growth

It’s no secret that the accounting industry is facing a significant skills shortage. The pandemic has led to fewer accounting graduates, burnout of existing staff and the additional challenge of staff poaching within the mid-tier sector.  

In the short term, this scenario puts pressure on firms to meet their obligations to existing clients, but it also impacts their ability to grow. Without labour to support increased output, growth is always going to be limited.  

It’s often said that the key to business success is your people and their engagement with your business is directly linked to your profitability and success.

During 2022 Access Group undertook some research on Australian workplaces that has revealed only 29% of the professional services industry felt engaged with their work, 10% admitted they were disengaged and only 34% are willing to go above and beyond for their employer.

These numbers are concerning not just for maintaining the status quo, but also in terms of achieving any significant growth. At time when filling any vacancies is taking longer and costing more than ever before, knowing your options to mitigate any risks is paramount.


Accountants in public practice have been feeling the talent squeeze for a number of years and finding the right candidates to fill vacancies has not been an easy task.

AFM Services has taken a longer-term approach to counter the skills shortage and rather than search for new team members, is investing in the upskilling of the people they already have.

John Zerella, Founder and Managing Director of AFM Services has said “Finding people with some reasonable public practice experience has been just about impossible over the past few years, so we’ve adopted a policy to grow our own talent and draw on our experienced people to mentor them”.

Creating supply

It’s not just experienced accountants that are hard to come by and many firms have also had challenges finding junior staff.

To combat this shortage, firms like AFM Services and Auctus Advisory in New Zealand have created their own traineeship programs.

Undergraduates and accounting students are given the opportunity to join the organisations in a part time capacity and once their studies are complete, they can be offered junior positions within the firm.  

“They start out as bookkeepers and we make sure they get a lot of exposure to clients, because our job is really about helping people and that’s where the real satisfaction comes from,” says Gina Brighouse CPA, associate at Auctus Advisory.

Skilled migration

In 2021, the government consulted with Australian employers, business leaders and industry bodies on critical skills vacancies. As a result of that consultation, the National Priority Migration Skilled List was updated to include a number of accounting professionals such as Accountants, Taxation Accountants, Management Accountants, External Auditors and Internal Auditors.

CPA Australia general manager of external affairs Dr Jane Rennie said at the time that this change was necessary to address the growing skills shortage.

“Australia faces a growing shortage of accountants. But it’s not just here; accounting professionals are in high demand globally and there is competition to attract them” said Dr Rennie.


The lower salaries and pre-trained staff that outsourcing offers has obvious and immediate advantages.

Shabnam Amirbeaggi, Principal at Crouch Amirbeaggi says that “Another benefit with outsourcing is that we’re looking at is that they continue to train the staff. That’s attractive to us now because staff retention is hard”.

“In the past we would hire people with no insolvency background, provide training and watch them grow. But that’s changed now because we can’t find enough people and they don’t stay”.

Leverage technology

Any administrative task that can be automated is going to be a time saver and productivity driver within your firm.

Along with the implementation phase, it’s also important to ensure that both your teams and clients are trained to ensure you get the best outcomes from your technology investment.

While that education process can take some time, it’s worth it for the time saving benefits that follow.

The core goal of any business is ongoing growth and success, and while the skills shortage can make that growth more challenging, there are still proactive steps you can take right now to grow your firm and set yourself up for future success.  

Want to know more about outsourcing?

SuperRecords is a trusted outsourcing provider with more than 10 years’ experience supporting firms with SMSF Administration, Business Services, Paraplanning Support and SMSF Audit. To find out more about our cost effective and flexible services or to book a demo, please get in touch.

Find out how other mid-tier firms are combating the skills shortage.

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