Companies crying out for auditors

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Auditors and insolvency accountants are still in high demand in Australia. While the latest Clarius Skills Index shows some improvement, there is still a significant shortfall of skilled workers in this sector.

Companies across Australia are making more use of private sector auditors, according to the Clarius Group. “They want auditors to ensure the processes are maintained, transparent and are within guidelines. There’s been a lot of turmoil across the economy and organisations are paying close attention to the performance and any fluctuations to their bottom line,” said Paul Barbaro, Executive General Manager of Lloyd Morgan, a division of the Clarius Group.

The Clarius Skills Index for the December quarter for Accountants, Auditors and Company Secretaries reveals that 2,300 professionals are still needed in this area. There has been some improvement, with jobs and vacancies being at 101.2% of the number of workers, compared to 101.5% in the last quarter. There are currently 186,700 jobs but only 184,400.

The slow economy and the high Australian dollar have forced some companies to go into liquidation, which has contributed to the continuing shortfall. Insolvency in the small to medium sector increased 15% over the last year, adding to the need for accounting expertise.

“Accountancy and auditing is highly exposed to the vagaries of government as it relies on regulation, government programs to be funded and changes to legislation,” said Barbaro.

One result of this increase in demand is that accountants are being required to multi-skill. Unlike in a lot of other sectors, multi-skilling is difficult for many accountants. “It’s hard for a management accountant to be a fund accountant or to be a tax accountant but that’s exactly what they’re being asked to do – to diversify their accounting expertise across multiple disciplines for the sole purpose of reducing head count,” Barbaro explained.

He said that although employers are not necessarily sending their accountants on additional courses, they are requiring them to engage more with marketing, sales and administration. “It’s so they can better understand the machinations, idiosyncrasies and demands of the business so that they can apply more coal face logic to their operations,” he said.

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