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If you ask anyone who isn’t in the field of accounting and finance, they may say the profession sounds boring. But they are far from being right.

Accounting is a broad profession and it offers complex and challenging careers such as forensic accounting, auditing, tax consulting and more. Similar to other industries, accountants and financial executives found themselves in the deep end during the pandemic as business leaders turned to them for real-time financial insights to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 wouldn’t be the first time financial professionals have to use fancy data visualisation tools to derive meaningful financial insights. In fact, they have been doing it for years before the pandemic. Accountants and financial professionals are constantly upskilling themselves to analyse trends and discover new valuable insights that can help companies optimise their finances.

Despite the strides to move the profession forward, it may not be enough to keep up with today’s ever-changing world of work.

According to Deloitte’s Southeast Asia CFO Agenda 2021: Reimagining the Future of Finance report, a majority of Chief Finance Officers (CFOs) in the region said that they recognise the need to transform key finance functions to navigate the new complexities. However, many have yet to begin their transformation journey in areas like data management and analytics, risk monitoring and compliance, and business finance.

growing number of accounting jobs in singapore

Many companies in Singapore have resumed hiring activities since 2021 to stay competitive and meet their business growth objectives.

According to the Ministry of Manpower’s 2021 Labour Force Report, there are 5,400 job vacancies in “legal, accounting & management services” as of December 2021, a 145% year-on-year increase from the 2,200 job vacancies reported in December 2020. This goes to show that there is a significant surge in demand for finance executives and accounting roles and their skills are highly sought after now in Singapore.

At Randstad, we see an increase in hiring requests for finance and accounting talent, particularly from industries like FMCG, professional services, healthcare as well as technology. Within the field of technology, most of the hiring activities are spurred by firms in e-commerce, financial technology and medical technology.

Here are some of the key jobs that we’ve been working on since the start of 2022:

However, many CFOs and hiring managers face challenges in finding talent. So how can you attract finance to work for you? Here are 3 tips to attract and retain skilled professionals in accounting and finance.

1. empower them with digital tools and data

Digital transformation and emerging technologies have been accelerating the accounting and finance industry.

The business landscape has become increasingly volatile and fluid, requiring business leaders to respond quickly and confidently. One way to approach this is to ensure that finance professionals in your finance and accounting team have all the digital tools they need to prepare for anticipated business challenges or any potential financial issues or crisis.

Technology such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and advanced analytics have helped finance and accounting professionals deliver useful financial insights in many ways. Digital technologies helped process a large volume of accounts in a short period of time, automatically reconcile financial statements, increase accuracy by reducing human errors as well as provide deeper insights. By trusting technology to take over the bulk of the work that requires man-hours, finance professionals can focus on strategic initiatives that would prove their value as a business partner.

impact of technology in accounting and finance
impact of technology in accounting and finance

The accounting and finance industry is being transformed by a new breed of technology-driven solutions created by the fast changing technology industry. With the new technologies today, companies are able to save operational costs, drive productivity and improve employee morale. Furthermore, it helps to streamline business processes and overall improve a company's business model.

However, in a competitive hiring market, all the cool technology in the world would be pointless if the hired candidate lacks the technical skills required to match the job description of the role. This also means that time will be wasted in the recruitment process when the organisation fails to recruit the right finance and accounting professionals.

2. understand what accountants and finance professionals want

Despite the talent demand, the roles in the finance department are hard to fill. The key to attracting good accounting and finance professionals is to know what their expectations are.

In our Randstad Workmonitor survey, 57% of respondents said that the top consideration driving their career choices is compensation and benefits. While it is a given that compensation would come up top, Singapore ranked lower when compared with Hong Kong SAR (60%) and Malaysia (66%). The second most important factor Singaporeans consider is ‘having a job with manageable stress levels’ (49%). 

Furthermore, 89% of respondents in Singapore said that they want a higher flexibility in their career in the future, after having experienced working amidst the pandemic. 79% are also empowered to make changes to their work-life balance.

In another survey, we found that 40% of respondents in Singapore would rather have the opportunity to keep working from home than to take home a larger bonus. While this does not diminish the reality that people are productive at home, it showed us their priorities about work-life balance.

financial professionals want work life balance benefits
financial professionals want work life balance benefits

3. create a positive employee experience to attract talent

Employees in Singapore are calling for more support from their bosses. Not just in terms of providing workforce flexibility, but also a supportive and caring work environment. Expressing gratitude and concerns to your employees is one of the most simple and effective employee retention strategies.

As managers, we need to maintain open communication channels and make a conscious effort to engage with our employees often to check how they are coping with their workload and their overall well-being. While some may brush off your attempts and reply passively with “I’m fine”, it opens a door to your employees who may be looking for additional support.

Employees who have a good experience with the company are more likely to be loyal and speak positively about their employer. Word-of-mouth is a powerful candidate attraction tool, as it helps future talent to understand what it is like to work for your organisation. If a job seeker finds more positive reviews about your company online, they would feel a desire to work with your company. 

Some of the common questions that we receive from candidates about the prospective employers are:

  • What type of work-life balance initiatives are offered?
  • What is the team culture like?
  • Am I able to continue working from home after all the measures are lifted?

The finance and accounting functions usually face high pressures at work because of the heavy responsibilities they shoulder at work. They manage a high volume of data and are responsible for business-impacting insights. So instead of only going to them with our problems and asking for help all the time, perhaps it’s also time for us to ask them how they are.

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As a global human services provider, we have in-depth knowledge and deep understanding of the industry, current trends and the job market demand. Our recruiters have access to an extensive suite of tools and resources to ensure a full-scale, deep candidate search across multiple channels. We are able to discover hard-to-find talent and deliver the talent with the best fit to your organisation and team.

Our accounting and finance team has extensive networks and specialises in helping companies find middle to senior level professionals in financial planning and analysis, corporate finance, finance transformation, tax, audit and technical accounting. Connect with us to find out more about specialised HR solutions and executive search or to start hiring your next accounting and finance executives. Alternatively, you can apply for accounting and finance jobs, and grow your career with us.

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about the author
randstad singapore agnes lim
randstad singapore agnes lim

agnes lim

associate consulting director, accounting & finance

A highly-energetic talent consultant, Agnes regularly keeps pace with the industry and labour changes in the accounting & finance field to provide high-value talent solutions to leading firms in technology and professional services.