Whispers and forewarnings of a large exodus of workers have been circulating for the last 12-18 months. Those warnings have since shifted to news headlines, as a record-breaking number of people quit their jobs. Unfortunately the accounting and finance industry is not immune to this ‘great resignation’. We can’t stop the Great Resignation, and we can’t slow it down. But we can manage it. The million-dollar question everyone wants to know: How can we attract and retain top finance talent?
Digital innovation is transforming companies and impacting entire industries, yet some organizations are still hesitant to adopt or even consider these technology advancements. In a recent Deloitte study, 74% of government agencies said that Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation. But many organizations still have a ways to go in order to digitally transform their finance operations. That same study of over 800 government agencies found that a whopping 80% of respondents believe that their organizations’ digital efforts haven’t gone far enough.
Today’s Millennial and Generation Z workforce requires far more than just a bi-weekly paycheck and health insurance. These generations grew up in a digital world, and expect to have access to tools and technologies that enable them to effectively do their jobs. Along with increased efficiency, access to high-quality software solutions will enable them to devote more time to value-add activities, making their jobs more meaningful and rewarding. Further, the benefits of building a tech stack go beyond talent attraction and retention; technology can automate tasks, streamline workflows, and improve reporting throughout the organization.
Below are three ways that technology can help to attract and retain top talent within finance departments in local government, higher education, and healthcare organizations.
Streamline Processes to Accelerate Onboarding & Reduce Burnout
Relying on outdated technology and antiquated programs can cause unnecessary stress and frustration for employees. This is particularly true when employees may have had access to modern solutions at previous employers or are aware of solutions that could make their day-to-day significantly easier. An organization’s technology stack can be a critical factor when it comes to enticing talent, and companies that are constantly looking for the smoothest and most effective ways to work can gain a leg up on the competition.
Once you have made a hire and a new recruit comes onboard, they will be looking for clear and streamlined processes to help them better understand their role, responsibilities, and methodologies for getting their work done. If a young accountant takes an entry level position on the team, they will need to understand how previous team members accomplished their tasks and which programs were used to get the job done as efficiently and accurately as possible. Now for an example: If the new hire’s job duties include verifying and recording amortization payments, they will likely expect to have an electronic version of the contract and historical payments so that they can easily cross-reference the information and move to the next entry quickly. Imagine their surprise if they found out no one on the team can locate the contract and that it’s likely stuffed in a paper binder somewhere in the office that the new recruit now needs to locate and organize. And then they found out there are over 100 payments that need to be verified in this manner. A technology solution that stored and logged all contracts and payments electronically and provided a quick export for easy analysis would surely help the new hire complete the project efficiently and with less chance for errors.
Automate Repetitive Tasks and Increase Job Satisfaction
Repetitive tasks can be the bane of an employee’s existence and can be a major factor in the type of job or role that people want to take on. Recent research reveals the “world's most hated office tasks”, and data entry and compiling reports top the list. Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of the report was just how much of the day is dominated by these repetitive tasks. According to the study, on average, employees spend over three hours a day on manual and repetitive tasks, which comes out to almost 40% of the average work week.
Automating these tasks can allow your employees to work on more rewarding projects – ones that further the organization and also provide young professionals with the opportunity for professional development. That means your employees can focus on tackling more fulfilling projects or creative opportunities.
Another factor for consideration is that the younger generations are increasingly seeking a gratifying work experience and want to feel as if they are contributing in a meaningful way to something bigger. The opportunity to work in areas such as local government and higher education can be a huge selling point, offering young professionals the chance to serve and give back to the communities they represent. For those in finance, that could mean helping their local city or school manage their finances and find creative solutions to better provide for the community. But the repetitive tasks that must be accomplished in order for the organization to function properly can overshadow any opportunities for creative or strategic thinking. Allowing for more impactful work by automating and reducing the time spent on manual, repetitive tasks can help attract and retain young talent.
Promote Flexibility and Collaboration
Many finance teams are still not embracing the opportunities that cloud-based technologies can enable. The flexibility of being able to access all of your important information from anywhere with an internet connection and at any time makes collaboration significantly easier for finance teams. Additional benefits include data security, data aggregation, and having a single source of truth.
When it comes to talent, cloud-based solutions open many doors in regards to flexible work arrangements. As remote work becomes the norm, agile finance teams need to be able to quickly and easily access all pertinent finance records from any location. The cloud allows employees to have access to their data while on the road, working from home, or anywhere they can connect to the internet.
In addition to better data access, the cloud provides a secure platform where any and all team members can find the financial data they need to accomplish their tasks. Many young graduates have become accustomed to virtual team collaboration through their university studies and college programs. These professionals are looking for organizations that use modern tools to communicate and collaborate with team members – not those where spreadsheets are locked behind email verifications and boxes of paperwork are locked behind closed doors. With the right solution, both internal and external team members will be on the same page and making informed decisions.
“With work from home practices becoming the norm, many business owners and CEOs are concerned about productivity levels. The fact of the matter is that we need to trust in technology to bridge the gap between our expectations and the new reality we are facing,” says Joe Brown, Founder and CEO of DearDoc.
Working Towards a Modern Future
To be successful in attracting and retaining young finance talent, every part of the organization needs to be committed to embracing and investing in the technology younger generations have come to expect will be available. An engaging workplace is not created by a specific initiative or the responsibility of just Human Resources but is, rather, the result of company wide appreciation for efficient collaboration and innovative ideas. When young employees are given the opportunity to contribute and work on interesting and engaging projects, retention will come naturally.