Despite the pandemic, lockdowns, and recession environment, accountants have kept on with their livelihoods. Known as a career path with a weak talent pipeline and a skills gap, Accounting Today reports that the unemployment rate for accounting and finance positions in August was 5.7 percent, compared to a national unemployment rate of 8.4 percent overall.

This was only bolstered by the number of job openings—a ten percent increase led by industries traditionally hit by recessions including construction, driven in part by a reinvigorated remodeling landscape, public works focus, and the associated purchasing needs.

A Look Back: The Rollercoaster of 2020

But no matter how much this feels unchanged—accounting professionals are always in demand—the reality is that hiring and workplace dynamics have shifted dramatically. Needs of professionals changed, workplace flexibility has become a priority, and both sides of the hiring process need more clarity.

This according to Ted Bickford, Director of strategic operations, Aston Carter, who highlights the following:

Looking for Consistency and Purpose

Before the pandemic, accounting and finance professionals actively searched for better opportunities that would provide higher compensation or the ability to operate more strategically with software. The pandemic caused professionals in every industry to rethink their needs, and many who were still employed hesitated to seek out new options.

But either as a result of the extended lockdowns or the return to a new normal, people are starting to look at options. However, the approaches may be different. The shock to the system has pushed employees to take a different approach to needs. Yes, professionals have begun to look at new roles, but one thing looks different—they’re looking for purpose and values.

Those in the corporate finance field have been treated to long-term salary growth, and are now looking for companies whose business values align with what they find important. 

Remote Work Still a Priority—Flexibility to Remain Top Concern

Remote work has been the name of the game in 2020, and companies have realized that the shift isn’t as overbearing as leaders once thought. But 2020 was built on the notion that this wouldn’t be a permanent gesture, and many fixes are still just meant to be in place in the now.

The next decade will position remote work as a necessary component of any employment package, but those looking to hire will need to put almost as much effort into ensuring that recruiting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding can be completed remotely.

From video chat interviews to remote welcoming, onboarding, and training, leaders need to start understanding the overarching need for long-term remote management.

Proactivity is Power—Communication is Critical

Potential new hires remain skeptical of the recessionary environment, and need employers to keep them in the loop at all phases. Many are still worried about layoffs or false upticks in the economy, making it hard to get a potential hire to make the leap. Proactive communication is key, especially during the pandemic. 

With so many employees working virtually, managers need to be able to determine when projects are completed. An action plan and proactive check-ins can help eliminate ambiguity between managers and their employees.

2021 On the Horizon: Resources from the Controllers Council

With so much left up in the air—new lockdowns promised, budgets still tight, and a lot to be ironed out before 2021 begins, those on both sides of the hiring cameras (or optimistically, tables) need to plan for whatever comes next. Whether you’re running HR processes in the controller position, looking for a job in the coming year, or want to start taking steps toward the CFO seat, having the right advice and networking opportunities can deliver.

To help you, we’ve compiled a list of resources we built over the past few months to help you get set up for a step in the right direction in 2021:

A Deeper Look into the Future of the Profession:

A must read series for anyone in charge of hiring new accountants or developing skills, we took a deeper look into the skills of the future. Learn more in our blogs below:

The Path to Promotion:

Controllers play a vital role in their organization. But some may have an eye on the next step up the finance depth chart. In our two-part series on the do’s and don’ts of taking the jump, we recap some key takeaways highlighted in a recent webcast. Paired with a divergent route, and Controllers may have options if they can take them.

Skills Building for the New Normal:

This series looks at how and why upskilling is so important at businesses. Whether it’s your team or yourself, here are just a few resources to stay ahead of the learning curve.

Learn even more about the hiring side in our article titled Return to Work: Three Attributes to Instill in Employees.

CPE Discounts: Just One of the Many Perks of Membership

The Controllers Council and Illumeo recently announced a new partnership to bring a complete range of Accounting and Finance Continuing Professional Education (CPE) to Controllers Council members and subscribers, all at discounted fees. In addition, ongoing webcasts with CPE credit will be produced by the partnership.

Just one of the many benefits of joining, this will save you a few dollars as you look to retain your licensure. Get to know more about this announcement and all the benefits of membership here.