A minority of accountants consider the corona pandemic as a positive element in their career, others experience no impact. But for one in five accountants, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on their career, according to a recent survey conducted by staffing specialist Walters People. But how are they coping? Lene Coeman, Managing Consultant and specialist in recruiting accountants and finance professionals, shares her vision.  

Lene Coeman, Walters People

A recent Walters People survey among finance professionals in Belgium revealed that 13% of respondents felt that the Covid-19 pandemic had a positive impact on their career. Suddenly, we all started working from home, reducing commute time and creating more time for leisure and family. Organisations where teleworking was not (yet) permitted allowed their employees to work remotely. Digitisation also took a big step forward. Team meetings in the office were almost immediately replaced by virtual meetings via Teams or Zoom. Lene: "Even teambuilding activities are organised virtually: a bowling night with colleagues is now an e-drink or a virtual escape room, for example, where each employee sits at home behind his computer. Different, but no less fun.”

The accelerated digitisation and automation also result in a lot of time savings. Take accountants, for example: invoices are scanned automatically and no longer have to be entered manually, there is less repetitive work, and it is easier to exchange information within the team when everything is digital. This frees up more time for the accountant to take on an advisory role.

For one in five finance professionals, the corona pandemic had no impact on their career. These are mainly those who work in sectors where the consequences of the pandemic are nil, and who are already familiar with working (partly) from home. They feel good about it and continue their daily work as usual.

Upskilling

Still, 21% indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on their career plans. Some professionals have been partially or temporarily put on unemployment during the past year. Half of the finance professionals surveyed indicated that they were using that time wisely, by continuing their education in their field. 23% even said they were learning new skills. "These are mainly employees who have been on temporary unemployment for a long time and who want to move forward, or those who were already planning to take a new path in their career."

Transferring skills to another sector

One in four (23%) of the finance professionals surveyed have switched to another sector or are planning to do so. They took some time for self-reflection: what are my strengths? "Soft skills, like being very organisational, having an analytical mindset and problem-solving abilities, creativity, communication and leadership, are skills that are more than welcome in nearly any sector. Many hard skills are easily transferable to a new function in another sector. Think, for example, of knowledge of accounting and software packages that are used in many sectors," says Lene.

Want to know more about the latest trends in the job market for accountants?

Watch our webinar "The future role of the Accountant: trends & insights in Belgium". Looking for a new challenge? Check out our most recent vacancies in accounting.

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