Options to reduce finance staff shortages

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Shortages of skilled staff have dominated the recent news cycle. HGV driver shortages have caused supply chain issues, leading to empty shelves in the supermarket and fuel shortages, but there is also a host of vacancies in the market that are less visible.

In a recent review of the industries with the most job vacancies in the UK, bookkeepers, payroll managers, wages clerks, financial project managers and financial analysts were some of the job titles mentioned in the top 10 - which combined to just under 125,000 live vacancies.

What could this mean for your business?

First of all, it could take longer to fill existing vacancies and could require assistance from external recruitment companies as well as an increased payroll-related cost due to a candidate-driven market.

Longer vacancies mean that the knock-on effect on the existing team is higher with potential further disruption to the operations during the training and introduction after the candidate has started.

As there is a great pull from the market to hire in new employees, there is a real chance that existing staff are targeted and tempted to progress their career elsewhere.

Aside from the new hire related cost, replacing an experienced member of the team could also lead to a knowledge gap; from system functionality to the informal relationships built with customers, suppliers and colleagues, which have led to a streamlined business process, will now have to be built up from scratch.

What can you do to reduce the impact of staff turnover?

There are various options for an employer to reduce the impact:

  • Staff retention focus
  • Automation
  • Outsourcing

A staff retention focus could be a wide range of extras, such as a performance bonus structure, training and development support, flexible working or other work-based perks. This aims to minimize staff turnover and has a delaying effect, but will not mitigate the risk.

Automation involves reviewing existing business processes, analysing which ones can be replaced by software and automation to reduce reliance on trained staff, but creates a need to implement, train and maintain a new business process.

A third option is to outsource your finance business processes. This means that amongst others the risk and cost of recruitment, training and business continuity are passed to a third party. This ensures you only pay for the processes you outsourced.


Could your business benefit from outsourcing elements of your finance function? Please get in touch to discuss what Armstrong Watson can do for your business.

Contact Guy

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