By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager
Solving the talent crisis in the profession will take time and teamwork, but it’s critical to the future of the accounting workforce.
“Collaboration is the key to our future,” said Scott Wiley, CAE, OSCPA president & CEO at last week’s OSCPA Town Hall on workforce development.
Joining Wiley was Darci Congrove, CPA, managing partner at GBQ, and Eric Leach, deputy director of Gov. DeWine's office of workforce transformation. In a wide-ranging discussion with Wiley at Columbus State Community College, they discussed upskilling, pandemic disruptions, the future of the profession and more.
Congrove spoke about how focusing on the appeal of client service work will attract more people to the profession. She said giving people exposure to new opportunities and skills is crucial, and it’s also important to invest in updated technology that will allow a focus on more engaging, strategic work and less routine tasks.
“We need to think about how we put people in a place where they're worth the amount that we're paying them and they're actually engaged and want to stay,” she said. “These aren't groundbreaking ideas. But there isn’t some magic bullet to transform the profession immediately.”
Ohio is doing well compared to neighboring states demographically, Leach said, as there isn’t a population drain yet. The problem is the aging workforce, so Ohio will likely see a major dip in young people in the years ahead, at least until 2035.
“Businesses and industries that are able to position themselves and figure out a way to build their talent pipelines better than their peers and peer industries are the ones that will address the labor shortages,” Leach said.
To help address the talent shortage, the Governor’s office has developed programs such as TechCred, which reimburses businesses up to $2,000 per technology credential to help employers build a stronger workforce.
“We're trying to get Ohio's baseline workforce up to a proficient level with technology so that individual workers are more productive,” Leach said.
And while the pipeline crisis is an important part of this conversation, Wiley stressed that this issue is bigger than incoming talent and impacts the profession as a whole.
“There's so much more to this picture than just the next generation we're recruiting in,” Wiley said. “It's how are we preparing the workforce we have to meet the challenges that it faces.”