A recent survey conducted by the International Federation of Accountants revealed a worrying shortage of accountants in major economies, especially in small and mid-sized practices. A Plus looks at the recruitment situation in Hong Kong and what firms are doing to attract and retain talent.
While supply and demand of accountants has fluctuated over the decades, this might be the first time the profession has been overlooked by a generation. “The accounting sector has been less appealing to the millennial generation because of its demanding working environment,” suggests Stephen Weatherseed, Managing Director of Mazars Hong Kong and a Hong Kong Institute of CPAs member.
Recent changes in regulation - from anti-money laundering efforts to tighter banking compliance and massive reshaping of global tax regimes - have created new challenges for businesses and a need for more people. “Capable staff in the area of forensic and compliance are in high demand,” says Weatherseed.
To ensure talent remains available - and to attract more young people into the profession - Hong Kong’s accounting community will have to refashion its image. “We should focus on presenting the right message,” says Weatherseed at Mazars. “We have a strong culture and attractive working environment - friendly, creative, dynamic, international - which is what millennials are looking for.”
Some firms are moving away from fixed working hours to accommodate the demands of the new generation. “A number of out staff either currently or used to work on a schedule that is different from our normal working hours and days,” says Weatherseed. “We are more open to explore flexible working arrangements.”
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Credits: Article written by A+ Magazine