PracticeConsultingSupport staff key to skills shortage

Support staff key to skills shortage

UK companies must ensure that their accounting support staff are trained in wider business skills if they are to meet critical shortages in the industry.

Failure to do so could stifle the prospects of many UK businesses. Jane Scott Paul, the AAT’s chief executive said it remained important for companies to address their own internal skills gaps.

She warned: ‘Failure to train and develop an accounting support workforce that is already 80% female (against a national workforce average of 47%) would prove a huge long-term mistake.’

According to the AAT, the number of women entering the accounting industry continues to grow. Figures from the Department for Education’s Labour Market and Skill Trends 2000 show the number of women workers are projected to rise over the next 10 years, while rates for men fall.

Scott Paul added: ‘More women are taking their place in the accounting industry and we need to make sure that they are trained and equipped to continue.’

This, she said, meant not only ‘technical capability’, but also wider business skills such as communication skills and the ability to produce financial data.

‘Training is a long-term investment and needs to be integrated into any forward-looking business development plan. Planned and supported correctly it could have a significant impact on the bottom-line, increasing staff retention as well as morale,’ Scott Paul said.The AAT’s own NVQ/SVQ in Payroll Administration is tailored along these lines. The course covers the necessary administrative skills and teaches wider workplace skills such as communications, IT and project management.

A recent survey by the ICAEW of training and salaries found that the gap between the number of male and female students training at the ICAEW is continuing to narrow.

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Women warming to accountancy

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