Warsaw (25 April 2023) — AICPA & CIMA, together as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, today released Finance and the Great Reshuffle in cooperation with PwC. Based on research conducted among 270 professionals working for large companies, primarily in controlling, reporting, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), and accounting, the report examines the reasons behind the “Great Reshuffle” in the finance profession in Central and Eastern Europe.
The study found that finance professionals are moving roles with increased frequency and feel the need to acquire new skills and adjust to the modern business world, with almost a quarter of workers (24%) saying they want to change their jobs within a year, and another 29% not ruling out this option. A 15% attrition rate is generally considered manageable for organisations but losing half of the finance workforce within the next 12 months would represent a major operational challenge. Furthermore, over half of respondents observe that employee turnover within their organisations is increasing (52%), and more than half perceive that it is easy or very easy to find a new job (54%).
The research shows that changes taking place in organisations, process redesign, new IT tools, and shifting attitudes towards greater added value result in an increased interest in professional development and growth. For 63% of respondents, promotion and career advancement is also the primary motivation to change work (the second most commonly mentioned reason is wanting a salary increase, and the third — lacking a sense of purpose). In addition, the lack of meaningfulness, empowerment, or upskilling opportunities proves to be a better predictor of the willingness to move roles than burnout or the lack of wage increase. Among those who feel empowered, only one in six plan to change jobs.
Other key findings:
71% of surveyed professionals experience large transformation within their companies they work for — mainly in the business services and technologies sectors.
As many as 83% of respondents say that the ability to learn new competencies quickly is the most crucial soft skill. Next in line are analytical thinking (81%) and the ability to deal with complexity/ambiguity (80%).
Among digital skills, respondents consider the knowledge of data visualisation tools as the top priority (82%), followed by AI/machine learning (81%) and database management systems (67%).
A large percentage of respondents indicate that they feel symptoms of professional burnout. This was most often indicated by team leaders (51%).
Jakub Bejnarowicz, Regional Director for Europe at AICPA & CIMA, said:
“The Great Reshuffle brings significant risks to companies,and employers should draw strong conclusions from our research. Taking business performance to the next level requires the right people — the most valuable strategic asset. And the competition for talent is getting fiercer. So, as our report shows: workers need to be given opportunities to innovate and automate their pain points; finance teams must be equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing environment; and companies should create a sense of belonging and empowerment with their employees if they want to retain talent and drive their organisation forward.”
Mariusz Dziurdzia, Partner PwC Poland, Clients & Markets Leader, commented:
“Today, building a sufficient and effective finance team is a challenge for a CFO. Finance professionals are eager to advance their careers and make the most of their finance knowledge. However, according to the research data, empowerment is the most important factor that keeps employees at their current workplace, as it gives them a sense of commitment and the feeling that the work they do matters. Additionally, employees feel the pressure of technological transformation, new working models, and new business expectations, such as shifting from transactional services to data analytics. As a result, new methods of team building are needed. Standing still is no longer an option and investing in technology must be followed by an investment in people.”
Finance and the Great Reshuffleoffers key recommendations for employers on how to deal with the Great Reshuffle and mitigate its impact on organisations. These include:
Preparing for attrition — Today's labour market is candidate-driven, which is increasing competition in acquiring and retaining talents. Employers must focus on employer branding, offer attractive compensation and benefits packages, clear growth opportunities, and flexibility in work arrangements, as well as individualised onboarding.
Creating a secure working environment and facilitating psychological comfort— Employees report symptoms of burnout due to psychological pressures associated with work overload or during large company transformations. To maintain or advance staff engagement, organisations must reconcile transformation with psychological comfort.
Providing a sense of meaning and empowerment— The likelihood of employees quitting their jobs is much lower when they feel empowered and have support at work. To ensure that they see a link between their individual performance and the performance of the company, managers must translate the high-level organisational vision into their tasks and objectives.
Enabling upskilling— In the current dynamic environment of constant change and transformation, people feel the need to develop and learn new competencies. Providing upskilling initiatives and opportunities for growth can increase employee satisfaction.
Ensuring support for middle management— Occupational burnout problem is especially visible among mid-level managers. It would be advisable to offer them managerial upskilling and coaching on the new ways of working in hybrid or remote environments, while pulse checks and measuring employee happiness will provide team leaders with information on their teams’ expectations and priorities.
The survey was conducted between August and November 2022 and included responses from 270 finance professionals working primarily in controlling, reporting, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), and accounting. Respondents came mainly from large companies (>€500 million in turnover) located in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria, and Romania, representing various sectors: Business Services, Technologies, Finance, Manufacturing, Consumer Goods, Pharma, and Healthcare.
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