The fu­ture of staffing

A roundup of hir­ing and train­ing trends across the pro­fes­sion

Accounting Today - - Spotlight - By Sean Mccabe

EY eyes over 15,000 new hires

Big Four firm EY re­cently an­nounced that it will boost its hir­ing in the new year, with ap­prox­i­mately 15,700 can­di­dates ex­pected to be brought on board in the U.S. In its 2019 fis­cal year (which be­gan on July 1, 2018), the firm looks to add 6,300 “ex­pe­ri­enced and ex­ec­u­tive-level po­si­tions” in full-time ca­pac­i­ties, as well as 9,400 stu­dents for jobs and in­tern­ships.

“With grow­ing de­mand for our ser­vices comes an am­bi­tious re­cruit­ing plan,” Larry Nash, U.S. re­cruit­ing leader at EY, told Ac­count­ing To­day. “We need can­di­dates who can work ef­fec­tively in teams, an­a­lyze, in­no­vate and think with a global mind­set, re­gard­less of their do­main ex­per­tise or back­ground.”

EY re­ports that 20 per­cent of the firm’s U.S. ex­ec­u­tive hires in FY18 were women, along with 47 per­cent of its en­try-level hires and 50 per­cent of its in­tern cam­pus hires. EY also re­ports that 39 per­cent of its cam­pus hires were eth­nic mi­nori­ties.

“As our work­force con­tin­ues to be­come more di­verse, we also look to hire in­di­vid­u­als who lead in­clu­sively,” added Nash. “To bet­ter equip our em­ploy­ees to do so, we pro­vide all new man­agers with un­con­scious bias train­ing, and con­duct reg­u­lar re­search on bi­ases to help in­form our em­ploy­ees’ de­ci­sions and en­sure they are giv­ing their col­leagues a voice — no mat­ter what their back­ground.”

Hir­ing more tech-minded can­di­dates — in such ar­eas as cy­ber­se­cu­rity, data an­a­lyt­ics, blockchain and tax tech­nol­ogy — is also on the radar. EY is pre­par­ing for the new busi­ness land­scape not only through hir­ing but also in­ter­nal ini­tia­tives, such as “EY ARC,” which presents staff with “cut­ting-edge con­tent ... and case stud­ies” on emerg­ing ar­eas of busi­ness.

“Tech­nol­ogy’s role in and im­pact on ac­count­ing is only grow­ing,” said Nash. “This is ap­par­ent when we think about the skills we’re look­ing for in our new hires. For ex­am­ple, while we will al­ways need dy­namic lead­ers with tra­di­tional busi­ness back­grounds and skills in ac­count­ing and sup­ply chain, up­skilling em­ploy­ees with skills in ar­eas such as cy­ber­se­cu­rity, data an­a­lyt­ics, blockchain and ro­bot­ics has be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant. That said, soft skills such as crit­i­cal think­ing and lead­er­ship still re­main in­cred­i­bly vi­tal.”

EY is also em­brac­ing the gig econ­omy through Gig­now, a net­work of its own con­trac­tor tal­ent. Con­tract work­ers cur­rently com­prise 13 per­cent of EY’S global staff, the firm says, with some 16,000 con­trac­tors reg­is­tered for Gig­now short-term work.

IFAC: Gen Z open to ac­count­ing

Move over, millennials: mem­bers of Gen Z, the lat­est age group en­ter­ing the work­force, are seek­ing ac­count­ing ca­reers, ac­cord­ing to new data.

The In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Ac­coun­tants’ new re­port, “Make Way for Gen Z: Iden­ti­fy­ing What Mat­ters Most to the Next Gen­er­a­tion,” polled 3,388 in­di­vid­u­als from ages 18 and 23 across G20 coun­tries on top­ics rang­ing from pub­lic pol­icy to their own ca­reers. The re­port found that there has been a dy­namic shift from the mil­len­nial to the Gen Z work­force, with Gen Z gen­er­ally fa­vor­ing ca­reer sta­bil­ity and salary/ ben­e­fits. “Gen Z demon­strates an over­ar­ch­ing de­sire for sta­bil­ity and a pas­sion for ad­vo­cacy in key ar­eas,” stated Rachel Grimes and Fayezul Choud­hury, IFAC’S pres­i­dent and CEO, re­spec­tively, in the re­port. “This gen­er­a­tion is con­cerned about fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity, and fa­vors con­ser­vatism in gov­ern­ment, eco­nom­ics and their ca­reers. Gen Z’s pref­er­ences are a no­table de­par­ture from the traits that have come to de­fine their pre­de­ces­sors, the millennials, in­clud­ing the de­sire to ‘live the dream at any cost’ and pur­sue ca­reer in­de­pen­dence.”

Eighty per­cent of re­spon­dents cited a “sta­ble ca­reer path” as an im­por­tant char­ac­ter­is­tic in choos­ing an ac­count­ing ca­reer, with an­other 76 per­cent and 71 per­cent cit­ing “salary and ben­e­fits ex­pec­ta­tion” and “work-life bal­ance,” re­spec­tively.

“Eighty-seven per­cent of Gen Z see pro­fes­sional ac­coun­tancy as at­trac­tive or very at­trac­tive in terms of of­fer­ing a sta­ble ca­reer path, 86 per­cent in terms of salary and ben­e­fits ex­pec­ta­tions,” the re­port noted. “It is clear [that] sus­tained ef­fort is needed to in­spire them about the va­ri­ety of ex­pe­ri­ences (50 per­cent at­trac­tive/ very at­trac­tive) and po­ten­tial to make a mean­ing­ful im­pact (54 per­cent) through a ca­reer in pro­fes­sional ac­coun­tancy.” Other find­ings from the re­port in­clude:

37 per­cent of re­spon­dents be­lieve jobs will “get more in­ter­est­ing” in ac­coun­tancy, with an­other 38 per­cent be­liev­ing “more jobs will be cre­ated” in the pro­fes­sion.

58 per­cent be­lieve they have a “clear plan” for their ca­reers.

74 per­cent of re­spon­dents learn of new job op­por­tu­ni­ties on the in­ter­net.

50 per­cent of re­spon­dents cite “a sta­ble ca­reer path” as “very im­por­tant” to their ca­reers, while 46 per­cent con­sider “work-life bal­ance” to also be “very im­por­tant.”

RSM US launches in­dus­try em­i­nence pro­gram

Top 10 Firm RSM US an­nounced the launch of its in­dus­try em­i­nence pro­gram, de­signed to give a vol­un­teer class of staff mem­bers an in-depth un­der­stand­ing of con­tem­po­rary busi­ness and tech trends to help them bet­ter ad­vise their clients on these con­cepts in the mid­dle mar­ket.

Cre­ated and led by RSM US chief economist Joe Brusue­las and deputy chief economist Kevin Depew, the pro­gram first be­gan in May, fea­tur­ing 11 fel­lows in its in­au­gu­ral class. The pro­gram seeks to help can­di­dates com­pre­hend and com­mu­ni­cate a mul­ti­tude of eco­nomic, busi­ness and tech­nol­ogy trends im­pact­ing the firm’s clients.

“RSM’S vi­sion is to be the first-choice ad­vi­sor to mid­dle-mar­ket lead­ers glob­ally,” said RSM US man­ag­ing part­ner and CEO Joe Adams, in a state­ment. “The em­i­nence pro­gram equips RSM to ac­cel­er­ate our de­liv­ery of this vi­sion through an in­ten­sive busi­ness, eco­nomic and tech­nol­ogy cur­ricu­lum fo­cused squarely on the unique needs and trends that im­pact the in­dus­tries we serve.”

“We de­signed the pro­gram cur­ricu­lum to be on par with what top grad­u­ate pro­grams are teach­ing their stu­dents about this trans­for­ma­tive shift in the econ­omy,” stated Brusue­las. “The dif­fer­ence is we are teach­ing it in a way that has im­me­di­ate prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions for RSM and our mid­dle-mar­ket clients.”

Depew told Ac­count­ing To­day that the pro­gram is a three-year ro­ta­tional pro­gram taught pri­mar­ily by him­self and Brusue­las. Ar­eas cov­ered in­clude in­dus­try anal­y­sis, big data, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing. The pro­gram is open to “ex­pe­ri­enced man­agers, se­nior man­agers, con­sult­ing di­rec­tors and newer part­ners/prin­ci­pals” from any line of busi­ness at RSM US. Pro­gram ap­pli­ca­tions are re­viewed by an in­ter­nal com­mit­tee, with fi­nal­ists go­ing on to in­ter­view with mem­bers of the cur­rent in­au­gu­ral class, the RSM na­tional in­dus­try lead­er­ship team, and pro­gram in­struc­tors.

“The goal is to train the next gen­er­a­tion of au­dit, tax and con­sult­ing pro­fes­sion­als to el­e­vate their in­dus­try ex­per­tise to help nav­i­gate the speed and scope of the on­go­ing dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion while pro­vid­ing for­ward-look­ing in­dus­try in­sight to in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal clients,” Depew said. “As the dig­i­tal econ­omy con­tin­ues to evolve, it is more im­por­tant than ever to un­der­stand the trends that are af­fect­ing and re­shap­ing in­dus­tries. We are work­ing with lead­ing plat­forms to an­a­lyze eco­nomic in­for­ma­tion, and we have also part­nered with out­side par­ties to de­liver pub­lic speak­ing and ex­ec­u­tive pre­sen­ta­tion skills, as well as me­dia train­ing. Fi­nally, fel­lows are re­ceiv­ing train­ing through some top univer­si­ties, both on­line and in per­son.”

Clients will re­ceive this new ad­vice in ad­di­tion to the reg­u­lar ser­vices pro­vided by RSM US staff. “This pro­gram and the added value to our mid­dle-mar­ket clients is com­ple­men­tary in recog­ni­tion of the rapidly chang­ing in­dus­try dy­nam­ics that are crit­i­cal to the suc­cess of their busi­nesses,” Depew con­tin­ued. “In to­day’s world, it’s no longer enough to pro­vide just au­dit, tax and con­sult­ing ser­vices with­out also pro­vid­ing deep in­dus­try ex­per­tise and an un­der­stand­ing of the busi­ness is­sues that are spe­cific to the mid­dle mar­ket.”

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