Survey: Nearly One in Five Companies Have No Plans to Offer Training for Accountants in Next Two Years; IT, Finance Top Educational Options

MENLO PARK, CA -- Training is taking a back seat to other priorities in some accounting departments, a new survey suggests. Nearly one in five (18 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said they don’t expect to offer employee training in the next two years. Among companies that do have training programs planned, 30 percent of finance executives plan to invest in information technology (IT) skills development and another 26 percent foresee offering courses in accounting and finance.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals, and conducted by an independent research firm. It was based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States.

CFOs were asked, “Which of the following types of skills training are you most likely to invest in for your internal accounting and finance staff in the next two years?” Their responses:

Information technology 30%
Accounting or finance 26%
Management 16%
Soft skills 8%
Other 0%
None 18%
Don't know/no answer     2%

“Employers seek accountants who are able to maximize technology to reduce inefficiencies and enhance profitability,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “Industry trends such as the impending U.S. adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are driving demand for professionals with IT systems proficiency and expertise with new regulations and reporting standards.”

While employers may be tempted to eliminate training budgets during lean times, investing in staff education should be an ongoing priority, according to Messmer. “Forgoing professional development programs could cause firms to fall behind, hindering their productivity as well as their retention efforts when the economy improves.”

Accountemps offers the following five tips for enacting training and development initiatives that don’t break the bank:

  1. Explore e-learning options. The Internet offers a wide variety of effective training options for professionals while also saving employers the time and expense of sending personnel off-site for instruction.
  2. Take advantage of trade associations. Encourage staff to join professional organizations. These groups provide opportunities for their members -- often at a substantial discount -- to update their knowledge of business and industry fundamentals and acquire new skills through seminars, workshops and online courses.
  3. Establish a mentoring program. Mentoring is a cost-effective, easy-to-implement method to provide hands-on training to employees and promote knowledge transfer between seasoned and less-experienced professionals.
  4. Organize brown-bag training sessions. Provide in-house classes that can be taught by well-respected managers from within the company or recently retired employees.
  5. Invite others to share. When people take an online course or attend a seminar, ask them to discuss key learnings with the rest of the department.

About the Survey
The national study was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies from all segments are represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of the number of employees within each region.

About Accountemps
Accountemps has more than 360 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com.

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