Learn how Wiley can help your firm bridge the skills gap.

The accounting industry is changing rapidly. And to stay relevant and competitive, your employees need to possess the right skills. However, recent trends and our own research show firms have identified critical skills gaps in their new hires.

To better comprehend and mitigate this trend, we need to understand which skills firms need the most, where they see the biggest gaps with their new hires, and, most importantly, how to bridge these gaps.

What Firms Look for in Candidates

Our accounting skills gap research revealed firms place a high priority on finding candidates that possess both job-specific and soft skills. In fact, these combined skills ranked considerably higher than other factors, including relevant experience, alignment with company culture, and even CPA certification. 

CPA certification firms soft skills

Unfortunately, over half the firms we surveyed find it challenging to secure candidates with the right soft skills and 45% can’t find candidates with the right job-specific skills.

CPA certification firms soft skills

Skills Gaps in the Accounting Workforce

For new employees to be successful, firms stated they need to see a higher aptitude for:

  • Job-Specific Skills
    1. Excel
    2. Data Analytics
  • Soft Skills
    1. Problem-Solving
    2. Communication

There is another layer of complexity to this hiring challenge. Our research shows that recent accounting graduates rate themselves highly in the exact skills that firms are claiming they lack.

CPA certification firms soft skills

The discrepancy could stem from firms having high expectations for employee’s soft skills, given their knowledge of where the industry is headed. As accounting continues to evolve and more automated solutions are integrated into the practice, soft skills will only become more valuable. Accounting professionals are now expected to analyze data and effectively communicate the findings to an array of audiences.

How to Bridge the Skills Gap

Bridging the skills gap can be accomplished through two strategies:

  • Training courses and certifications
  • Employer support

Supporting your new hires through required courses and tailored coaching strategies will lead to greater success and contributions in the critical first year. But outsourcing training can be complicated. Many education providers specialize in one or two areas, which leads to you juggling multiple vendors while the costs add up quickly.

Fortunately, Wiley specializes in a wide variety of skills, so you can upskill your new hires through one source in the most cost-effective way.

Wiley has courses to help bridge the four biggest skills gaps CPA firms are noticing.

  • Excel – While students rank their Excel skills favorably, strengthening them is critical to sharpening computational thinking.
  • Data Analytics – Both firms and students acknowledge data analytics is an important growth area in today’s accounting profession.
  • Leadership – Through these courses, student develop and improve their critical thinking, teamwork, and presentation skills.
  • PMP Certification – While better suited to a second-year cohort, having these courses on new hires’ roadmaps provides a path to future skill development areas where they may struggle.

More specific course and certificate offerings from Wiley and AICPA to consider:

  • Data Visualization
  • Forecasting and Predictive Analytics Certificate
  • Specialized Forensic Accounting Certificate
  • Tax Staff Essentials, Level 2: Experienced Staff

Further, you can get insight into how your new hires will perform, communicate, and function within a team with Wiley’s DiSC® assessments. These assessments measure preferences and tendencies in the work environment in four basic styles: Dominance, influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.

Of note, most of your new hires will likely have a Conscientiousness work style. You can learn more about what that means for their aptitudes and weaknesses in our Skills Gaps Primary Research Paper.

Unintended Benefits of Bridging the Skills Gap

Upskilling your new hires (and existing team) through trainings and certifications has far-reaching benefits. Not only will your employees have the skills they need to positively impact your bottom line, but it will also help you retain top talent.

Employee retention is a challenge these days, and traditional solutions, such as raises and increased benefits (both worthy strategies), aren’t always the best solution. But one of the most effective ways to retain your employees is with professional development. Because of this, it’s a worthwhile (and cost-effective) employee retention strategy to partner with the right higher education provider. You’ll ensure your employees develop the right accounting and data skills while also retaining your top talent.

Upskill Your Employees With Wiley Certifications and Trainings

Your new hires are coming in with skills gaps, but with a guided training schedule, you can get them contributing at a high level within the first 12 months.

The quality of Wiley courses helps students learn faster, which means you see a positive impact to your bottom line faster. And with Wiley Success Tracker, you can monitor how your employees are progressing through their trainings and their certification path.

Whether you want to bridge specific skills gaps, get your employees CPA certified, or understand them better through DiSC® personality assessments, Wiley has got you covered—all in one trusted location.

Interested in helping your employees earn their CPA license?
Visit https://www.efficientlearning.com/partner-with-us/
or contact Joel at jhollenbec@wiley.com to see how Wiley can help.