“All business functions, including tax and finance departments, are facing difficulties attracting and retaining the right talent.”
As someone who often thinks about the connection between tax technology and tax talent, I was encouraged to see that point emphasized in a new EY survey report that examines how companies can optimize the value of their tax and finance technology investments.
Tax leaders have experienced increasing difficulty finding, hiring and keeping tax technologists in recent years. Although challenging economic conditions may ease the demanding labor market at some point in the future, that change seems unlikely to provide much relief to tax functions struggling to attract and retain technical tax experts who possess data and technology skills. The competition for this talent is fierce and unlikely to abate, regardless of whether rising rates trigger a recession and subsequent cost-cutting that increases the size of candidate pools.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently reported that its Worker Shortage Index – which compares people who want a job and are available to work now (available workers) to employer job openings – “has fallen precipitously in recent months.” Today, there are only 1.4 available workers for every job opening in the country, half of the average seen over the past two decades (2.8). That data is based on all job openings across all industries. The Worker Shortage Index shows that there are only an average of .96 available workers for every opening at companies in the professional and business services sector (a segment that includes public accounting and consulting firms).
The EY survey findings confirm that companies across most industries remain hungry for tax technologists: 95% of respondents report that their companies will augment their tax technical skills with data and technology skills “at least a moderate extent” in the next three years; 53% of respondents say they will do the same to a “large extent” or “very large extent.”
So, what can tax leaders and managers do to attract and retain technologically skilled tax professionals? Part of the answer is to understand and address their changing expectations. EY finds that these experts are “increasingly demanding more flexibility in a variety of forms: flexible working arrangements, a greater emphasis on wellbeing, and heightened expectations around professional development and advancement. Companies have also been under increasing pressure to align their values and ESG policies with employees’ values as workers assess not only where and how they work but also why they work.”
Another part of the answer involves tax automation, the recruiting and retention benefits of which I discuss here.
Please remember that Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information. The views and opinions expressed in Tax Matters are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, or opinion of Vertex Inc.