Date posted: 19/05/2022 5 min read

Right now finding accountants is a “real nightmare”: recruiter

Companies are continuing to find it difficult to fill accounting roles as job ads across the profession increase.

In Brief

  • Job ads in accounting are up 19.1% for the 12 months to end April 2022.
  • Within accounting, ads for financial accounting and reporting roles rose by 32%.
  • Accounting candidates are demanding more flexibility and new challenges from employers.

Job ads in accounting dropped 0.5% over the month of April 2022, but are up 10% over the quarter and 19.1% year on year, according to the SEEK Employment Report, reflecting a very tight employment market for the profession.

Recruitment ads rose for the second consecutive month in April with Queensland and the Northern Territory recording the largest increase at 5.4%. Even though the rest of Australia enjoyed only marginal growth, all job ads are above the levels recorded before the pandemic.

Ads in accounting are increasing at a pace just slightly lower than all job ads, which rose by 2.9% in April – the fourth consecutive monthly rise – and were up by 22.5% over the year.

The top three roles within accounting (based on volume of job ads) grew strongly over the year. Ads for roles in financial accounting and reporting rose by 32% over the year, accounts officer and clerk positions rose by 22%, and payroll job ads are up by 12%.

Junior roles are hard to fill

Over the month of April, ads for roles in financial accounting and reporting rose by 2% while ads for accounts officers and clerks rose by 4%.

The data trends are in line with what accounting recruitment agencies are reporting anecdotally, that accounts officers – accounts payable/accounts receivable (AP/AR) – roles are understood to be particularly difficult to fill.

“At the junior level, to find AP/AR roles is a complete nightmare because there's a real lack of people, says founding director at Richard Lloyd Accounting Recruitment, Geoff Richard Balmer. “Even to find people with two years’ experience – maybe they’ve got a degree and two years [employment] – is really, really hard.”

Flexible working a pull for senior roles

Companies and organisations are also looking to fill a healthy number of senior financial accounting officer and finance manager roles. In such an environment, prospective employees are able to discriminate more.

“Candidates are looking for different things,” Balmer says. “If you want someone in the office five days a week, it's to your disadvantage because the majority of candidates want to work in hybrid working environments where it's two to three days at home and two to three days in the office.”

Balmer says pre-COVID, companies were specific in the type of experience and qualifications they required from potential employees, but now they are going to recruiters simply saying, ‘Just get me an accountant!’

He believes organisations need to offer more to fill roles and not just in the financial sense. “Candidates aren't always very driven by dollars. It's more about learning. And they really want a new challenge,” says Balmer.

“Candidates aren't always very driven by dollars. It's more about learning.”
Geoff Richard Balmer, Founding Director, Richard Lloyd Accounting Recruitment