Are You Staying Ahead of the Game? 5 Best Accounting Trends to Get Ready for in 2020

The accounting industry continues to evolve along with clients’ changing needs. Improvements in technology mean automating many accounting tasks and altering job duties. As a leader in the accounting field, you need to stay informed about developments affecting your industry in the coming year. Here are five accounting trends to prepare for in 2020. 

Machine Learning Will Increase Automation  

With the rise of machine learning, accounting tasks increasingly will become automated. For instance, vendor bill data entry, general ledger coding and expense reporting are being done by machine learningSome corporate accounting firms use a machine learning platform to review sales documents, leasing and derivatives contracts, invoices and financial statements for key accounting information. Corporate accounting firms also may use machine learning to maintain compliance with accounting standards.   

Digital Content Consumption Will Be Constant  

Because of growing access to video, social, meme and other formats, people’s consumption of online content continues to increase. To compete for people’s attention, corporate accounting firms need a dynamic online presence. In addition to a website, corporate accounting firms need extras such as a library of how-to videos and frequently asked questions that address common issues. Articles and posts that are easy to read and share are valuable as well.  

Most Clients Will Be Mobile-First 

The majority of accounting clients will be mobile-first, if not mobile-only. To provide the best user experience, corporate accounting firms’ websites must include quick load times, thumb-friendly buttons, and easyto-read text. Branded mobile apps make it easy to send individual messages tailored to each client’s needs. Information from smartphone cameras can be integrated and processed within a native app and used to record copies of receipts and invoices to send to an accountant.   

Increase in Millennials as Clients and Employees  

An increasing number of Millennials will be corporate accounting firms’ clients and employees. To attract Millennials, corporate accounting firms need to increase flexibility, convenience and brand image. They also need to offer meaningful work opportunities, foster connections, and show how each role impacts the company and society. Plus, corporate accounting firms should provide opportunities for development in the form of special projects, exposure to other departments, or classes and trainings outside the office. 

Breakthroughs in Blockchain 

Blockchain will be used for significantly more accounting functions. The single-ledger technology is a delivery method allowing users from multiple sources access to the same information in near-realtime. When one user makes a change, everyone with access can see it once it is validated. Transactions take minutes or seconds and include greater security and transparency. Auditing, compliance and reconciliation are faster and more accurate.  

Prepare for Your Accounting Future 

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Why Hiring Beyond the Resume May Just Be Your Key to Finding Top Talent

Although a candidate’s resume provides you insight into how they may benefit your company, you need to look beyond what is on paper to determine which candidate is best for your team. Here are some actions you want to take to find top talent during your interview process.  

Discuss Career Goals 

Talk with each candidate about their career goals. For instance, find out whether they intend to stay with your company for an extended period. If they desire management experience and want to help shape their department, odds are they want to be with you for the long haul.   

Ask Unique Questions 

Asking unusual questions encourages open discussion and gives insight into what makes each candidate who they are. Look for whether a candidate is self-aware and wants to continue to grow. For instance, ask “What is your natural strength?” While the strength may be easy for the candidate to display, it may be difficult for others. Also, “What kind of animal would you be and why?” If you are looking for a candidate to work in teams much of the time, you may want to hear an answer that includes a social animal. The candidate’s reasoning will provide insight into their level of self-awareness.     

Uncover Thoughts on New Technology 

Find out the candidate’s attitude toward new technology. Whichever industry you work in, technology plays a vital part in your business. Because technology continues to evolve, your employees need to adapt accordingly. A candidate should embrace technology and be willing to learn new programs and tools to enhance their work and improve performance.  

Find Out About Desire for Growth 

Look for a candidate who desires professional growth. They should be aware of which areas they excel in and where they can improve. Wanting to add to their skill set, experience level and position within the organization is required.  

Evaluate Candidate Personality  

Determine whether each candidate’s personality blends with those of your team members. For instance, when you take them on a tour and introduce them to others, how do they interact? Does the candidate ask questions about what each person does and how things work? Will the candidate get along with potential colleagues and enhance morale?   

Determine Candidate Potential 

Evaluate the potential each candidate may have. For instance, although they may lack the master’s degree or type of experience you prefer, a candidate may bring enthusiasm and energy to the office. Also, they may have fresh ideas to enhance your company. Plus, a candidate may be able to grow into leadership. 

Work With a Chicagoland Employment Agency   

Work with Casey Accounting & Finance Resources to find the talent you need when you need it. Our professional recruiters want to get to know your company and fill your accounting and finance staffing needs! 

 

Make Your Contract Employees Feel Welcome & Included From Day One

Contract employees bring as much to the table as full-time employees. Because contractors’ specialized skills often fill a need your full-time employees cannot, they are valuable members of your organization. However, because of the temporary nature of contract roles, employers tend to treat contractors differently than full-time employees. This discourages collaboration and production, which hinders progress. Rather than putting a wedge between contractors and full-time employees, take these steps to make contract employees feel included from day one.

Treat Contractors Like Full-time Employees

Set up a coworking space near the office. Use Skype, Slack or other technology to include remote contractors in meetings. Give them access to the company newsletter, gym and other resources. Invite contractors to lunch and company events both inside and outside the workplace.

Build Relationships

Schedule frequent face time with your contractors through a weekly Skype discussion, monthly coffee or participation in company events. You also can provide feedback on work performance so contractors know what they are doing well and how they can improve.

Encourage Company Representation

Wherever your contact employees are located, provide opportunities for them to represent your company. For instance, ask if they would like to participate in an upcoming industry even or conference. Suggest your contractors speak at a school’s career day or attend job fairs. Host a Meetup or networking happy hour for them to meet other professionals. Sponsor contract employees’ membership in an industry-related organization.

Offer Professional Development Opportunities

Contract employees are interested in gaining and sharpening their skills to remain relevant in the workforce. For instance, if your full-time employees are required to take an online class, provide your contractors with the same opportunity. Or, pay for contractors to take part in a workshop or conference and share key information at your next team meeting.

Express Appreciation

Let your contract employees know how much you appreciate their contributions. They thrive on positive feedback that increases feelings of self-worth. For instance, ask contractors to participate in company events, handle important tasks or provide input when making team decisions. Show how their contributions are helping to achieve company goals. Give shout-outs in the company newsletter and a bonus for a job well done.

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Does Your Company’s Work Environment Impact Productivity?

Productivity levels depend on more than just your employees. Although staff can get more rest at night, eat breakfast, and take other steps to increase their output, there are steps you, the employer, can take to help as well. Focusing on the following areas helps to create a work environment that encourages workers to be more productive.

Lighting

All forms of lighting have a strong impact on productivity. Therefore, you want to provide windows near work areas to promote concentration and comfort. Keep overhead lighting bright to increase feelings of happiness. In winter, offer lamps that compensate for the reduced exposure to sunlight. This will increase calmness and decrease depression.

Company Culture

Cultivate a culture that promotes positivity. Everyone needs support to develop their uniqueness and feel valued. Encourage employees to build networks inside the office so they feel a sense of belonging. People who feel valued at work give their all each day.

Noise Levels

Monitor noise levels within the work environment. Because noise is a top workplace interrupter, it affects productivity. Since some people function better with noise and others without, aim to create room for both types of workers to fill their needs. For instance, install a white noise machine, or enforce quiet hours during the day.

Furnishings

Provide comfortable furnishing for employees. This is especially important if they sit for long periods of time. Include adjustable desks to allow workers to stretch their legs and ergonomic keyboards to prevent wrist injuries. Staff will feel more relaxed, less stressed, and more productive.

Color

Brighten wall colors to stimulate productivity. Low-wavelength colors such as blue and green improve calmness, focus, and efficiency. Medium-wavelength colors like yellow create feelings of happiness, optimism, and creativity. High-wavelength colors such as red increase heart rate and energy level

Designated Spaces

Design dedicated spaces to fill various needs. For instance, provide coworking spaces with relaxation rooms for employees to take a nap or meditate. Offer quiet, private spaces for staff who make frequent calls. Create collaborative spaces for those working on a team project. Include standing desks so workers can gather together to share ideas.

Air Quality

Provide the highest air quality possible. Having more oxygen going to the brain promotes concentration and increases energy. For instance, maintaining the air conditioning system prevents it from dehydrating staff so they stay focused on their work.

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Where Are All the Candidates? 4 Ways to Attract Passive Accounting Job Seekers

Because passive candidates are well-compensated and passionate about what they do, they have no desire to look for a job. Since they are always adding to their skill set, experience level, and accomplishments, passive candidates have employers and recruiters actively pursuing them. To stand out among all the others, you need to show passive candidates what you have to offer that others do not and how working for you will benefit them. Here are four ways to attract passive candidates.

1. Focus on Company Branding

Cultivate a brand that markets your company as a choice employer. For instance, focus on what makes employees choose your business over all others. Point out your flexible schedule, extensive employee benefits, stock options and competitive compensation. Mention remote work options, bonuses, professional development, and opportunities for advancement. Ask current and former employees to write company reviews on websites such as Glassdoor. Work toward being placed on top lists and other independent review articles that show your business in a positive light.

2. Engage on Social Media

Use social media to engage with followers. For instance, search for and qualify passive candidates on LinkedIn. Use their profile information to determine whether they possess the skills, experience, and qualifications you are looking for. You may even come across links to candidates’ websites or online portfolios. You also can participate in LinkedIn Groups in your industry to engage with potential candidates and introduce them to opportunities. Additionally, you can use LinkedIn Recruiter to target your search and reach out to passive candidates. Along with LinkedIn, you can create and share content, including job openings and company information, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Your followers can share content with their networks, promote your information, and encourage others to work for you. You may respond to comments and interact with potential candidates to build relationships and encourage interest in employment.

3. Ask for Employee Referrals

Encourage your employees to provide referrals. Because people typically associate with like-minded individuals, your best workers should be able to recommend other top performers. Also, since people enjoy working with others they know, referrals are more likely to accept an interview. They have greater access to insider information about company culture, job responsibilities, and other pertinent details that may help them during the interview. You may even create an employee referral program that rewards both parties when a successful hire has been employed for a specific length of time.

 4. Search Your Database

Use your database to search for past candidates who may be interested in a job change. If they interviewed with you before, they should know about the company, department and culture. Candidates also may have gained skills and experience that can benefit your business. Those who were treated well and impressed with your company will be more open to working with you.

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Are Your Job Descriptions Attracting the Right Accounting Talent? Let’s Review.

When was the last time you looked over your job descriptions? The best ones combine required skills and experience, company culture and other pertinent details. Ask yourself whether you have the right combination of the following elements to attract the right accounting talent.

Is the Job Title Clear?

Although unique titles such as “Financial Guru” may indicate a laid-back culture, they probably will not attract the type of professionals you are looking for. Because most candidates search for roles that match their skills and experience, using terms such as “guru” may cause your description to not show up or turn off candidates from applying. Instead, use industry-standard language that candidates search under to achieve more favorable results.

What Are the Duties?

You can determine the top five to seven requirements by interviewing employees and their supervisors, observing employees as they perform their work or referencing outside sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. Make sure you focus on how those requirements promote growth and development within the company and how an employee’s achievements can contribute to career progression.

What Are the Relevant Details?

Be sure you mention whether the position is exempt or nonexempt, how much travel is required, what the work environment is like, and whether the employee may telecommute. Candidates need enough information to determine whether they may excel in a role and want to apply.

Did You Mention Company Culture?

Candidates need to know whether they agree with your mission, values and beliefs and will enjoy working for your organization. For instance, along with mentioning benefits, perks, and bonuses, share whether you have an on-site gym, free food, flexible schedules, remote work opportunities or other unique offerings. When possible, include photos, graphics, videos or other multimedia that shows a diverse range of employees in your company.

Did an Employee Review the Job Description?

The employee can clarify the duties and responsibilities. The supervisor can ensure the description contains accurate information about the skills and qualifications.

When Was the Job Description Reviewed?

Read the description over annually to accurately describe the job as it is being performed. Duties and responsibilities may change, along with the skills and experience required to fulfill them. The best time to update a job description is when requirements change.

Attract Top Accounting Talent With a Leading Chicago Recruitment Firm

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5 Influential Technologies Affecting Recruiting This Year

Like most industries, recruiting is constantly changing. As new technology is introduced, the field continues to become more efficient and effective. Watch for these five influential technologies affecting recruiting in 2019.

1. Marketplaces

Marketplaces serve as a platform for employers to connect with recruiters. Due to reduced administrative requirements, vendor management and competitive placement fees, marketplaces are cost-effective. Also, having a centralized platform increases recruiter productivity and reach. Since marketplaces collect and store information on candidates’ resumes, skills, websites, LinkedIn profiles and more, hiring is more transparent and efficient. Plus, recruiters see candidates’ goals and learn more about them and what they want in their next role, which facilitates conversation and aids in proper placement.

2. Gig Economy

Recruiters face an even greater need to adopt new mobile and socially integrated communication technologies and platforms, such as Skype interviews or virtual reality video conferencing, to attract and place gig workers. Also, more HR technologies focused on worker onboarding, engagement, learning and career planning will develop.

3. Social Recruitment

Social recruitment involves clearly defined objectives and a target audience to determine which platforms are most effective in sharing a company’s job openings. For instance, visual platforms like Instagram are more suited for graphic designers and other creatives, whereas Twitter is more populated by IT and tech professionals. Also, social recruitment lets a company leverage social data to determine a candidate’s fit. For instance, Google Alerts and Radian6 let employers monitor candidates to see whether they fit with an opportunity. Additionally, many professionals engage on sites that fill both social and professional needs. For instance, Dribble is a community for designers, whereas GitHub is a platform for software developers.

4. Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics uses historical data to make predictions about the future. For instance, predictive analytics can consider industry, location, occupation and other elements to provide customized recommendations and get better responses to job postings. Also, predictive analytics can automate resume ranking, and shortlist and prescreen candidates, which increases the quality and diversity of new hires.

5. Artificial Intelligence

AI software programs and tools lower costs, reduce inherent biases and improve the quality of hires. Recruiters have more time to invest in fostering relationships with talent. For instance, chatbots can speed up the hiring process and enhance the candidate experience by assessing a candidate’s resume, online presence and fit with the role. Also, AI recruiting video interview platforms can evaluate the quality of a candidate’s voice, voice energy, pace of speech, use of fillers, answers, facial micro-expressions and body language. Plus, AI can determine whether a remote worker will be honest and ethical and appropriately represent the company if hired.

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5 Accounting Workforce Trends We’ll See in 2019

With the ongoing evolution in technology, the accounting industry will continue to change as well. Accountants will complete their work even more efficiently and effectively, adding additional value to their clients and employer. Here are five accounting workforce trends to look for in 2019.

Cloud Accounting

Using software and services stored on a network of remote servers strengthens security, allows for remote work, and improves disaster recovery. It also increases quality control and reduces costs. For instance, because cloud-based software can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, accountants have the real-time data they need to make educated business decisions. Also, since the data is stored in the cloud, there is no downtime in case of a natural disaster.

Cybersecurity

Because accountants deal with confidential financial information, they need to protect clients’ privacy. As malware, phishing and other criminal attacks continue to increase in intensity, so must security plans to block them. For instance, accountants will implement greater security protocols, receive more detailed training on security measures, and use more advanced security systems that anticipate risks.

Automation

Machine-driven algorithms will accomplish simple, routine work such as invoicing, processing payroll and tracking inventory more efficiently and effectively than humans. Automation also will increase accuracy and lower costs while freeing up time for humans to accomplish more complex activities. Accountants can leverage information, predict interactions, generate insights and provide a more valuable impact for their clients.

Blockchain

Blockchain technology will provide a continuously updated and verified accounting ledger that cannot be altered or corrupted. The technology will allow accountants to share and access data to more efficiently complete their work. For instance, Big Four accounting firms will continue to use blockchain research for accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, identify new applications and use cases for blockchain, and explore initial coin offerings that are similar to initial public offerings (IPOs) but use a cryptocurrency instead of a stock.

New Payment Structures

Cost-plus pricing will allow firms to charge the cost of performing a service plus a markup or profit margin. Fixed pricing will involve charging a fixed cost for a specific service. Value billing will consist of the firm charging for its perceived value of a service after the work has been finished. Value pricing will involve the firm charging for the client’s perceived value of a service. The price will be set before starting the work.

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Building on the Power of Your Team’s Strengths

Focusing on your team’s strengths provides many benefits. For instance, your team members become more engaged, productive, and loyal to your organization. Therefore, you want to determine which areas each member excels in and help to develop them.

Categorize Essential Strengths

Determine which strengths are most essential for your team. General strengths may include strategy and planning, leadership, cultural alignment or execution. Then, figure out ways to measure those strengths. You want to know which team member is strongest in each area so they can be assigned corresponding roles for collaborative projects. Because your teammates will be great at what they are naturally drawn to, they will excel in related roles. Your team also will feel empowered because you accept the fact that each is stronger in some areas than others and prefers to work in the areas they enjoy most.

Determine Each Team Member’s Strengths

Begin by discussing what you see as their core competencies. Then, figure out how those competencies can be applied to specific projects. Next, show how those competencies align with the responsibilities and expectations of the project’s role. Finally, focus on the big picture by creating business goals in line with your team members core competencies. Your teammates are more likely to embrace and reach goals that align with their strengths and interests.

Share Each Member’s Strengths

Talk about how each person’s talents can be used to enhance collaboration and complete projects. Mention how your teammates can capitalize on each other’s talents to maximize efficiency and achieve desired results. Encourage them to support each other in developing their strengths.

Offer Additional Strength Training

Seminars, conferences, classes or other training opportunities may be offered in the office or at remote locations. Map out ways that strength training can assist with promotions and attaining career goals. Find out whether there are additional strengths your team members want to develop and act accordingly. Discuss progress during performance conversations and reviews.

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Why Remote Options Can Boost Your Employee Morale

Remote work options may be one key to boosting your employee morale. Having more control over one’s work schedule and location increases work satisfaction, engagement and productivity. Engaged, productive employees are happy employees, which leads to greater morale.

Increased Job Satisfaction

Because employees avoid the commute, they experience lower stress levels and less work exhaustion. This results in a higher positive attitude, lower absenteeism and greater employee retention. Also, as baby boomers head into retirement, they want remote work options to complement their desired preretirement lifestyle. Generation X may be done raising their kids and want to be in the workforce but still want to spend time with their families. Millennials may be looking for life experiences that broaden their horizons and expand their networks. Plus, Generation Z may desire remote work options to refine their career growth.

Stronger Manager and Employee Relationships

Because management is even more critical when working remotely, managers need to be proactive leaders who are intentional in their style. They need to create standards and expectations for remote collaboration and model successful behaviors for remote work to be successful. With increased methods of communication and virtual connections, managers and employees can virtually connect face-to-face, through email or instant messaging, or over the phone when needed, resulting in greater connections.

Better Health

Since stress and burnout are lower, employees feel physically and emotionally healthy. Also, work flexibility stimulates the brain, leading to happier, more creative employees. It also builds relationships among different generations of workers, which increases feelings of happiness and well-being, improves communication and reduces conflicts. Additionally, remote work options allow for more sleep, so employees feel refreshed and productive the next day. Plus, employees who are ill may be able to complete their work without infecting co-workers.

Greater Work-Life Balance

Working from home allows employees to take care of personal responsibilities while still completing their tasks. They can tend to family needs, run errands, exercise and engage in other interests while fulfilling their professional responsibilities. Employees can also attend meetings through video conferencing and ask questions through instant messaging tools, ensuring they fulfill their duties while working remotely.

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