After a tumultuous year in 2020, 2021 did not become the steady ship that we had hoped for! However, the key difference was that this time the wheels had been greased on remote working.
The vast majority of businesses continued to thrive during subsequent lockdowns around the nation. AccountAbility was no different and what we were able to achieve in terms of the number of candidates placed was quite remarkable considering much of it was 100% remote; for us, our candidates and our clients! Job vacancies soared in 2021 to rates not seen in decades, in fact the highest number of job adverts posted in a month in SEEK’s 23+ year history was October 2021. This led to the perfect storm in the market, considering borders remained closed to incoming talent, the rise of resignations and the relocation of expats to their home countries to be closer to family. Anecdotally our clients had never experienced such a shortage of labour in many years and many companies have had to put a focus like never before on their recruitment, retention and their Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
The need for Accounts Receivable and Credit/Collection candidates within the market is still high however we have noticed a significant change within the profile of the said desired candidate. Automations have enabled employers to heavily streamline their AR/Credit teams with automatic reminders, and less pressure on outbound calls. Truthfully as we all know, most people are now easier to contact through email and text. This has meant that there has been a stronger requirement for cash allocations, reconciliation, and Excel rather than cash collection calls, which a lot of candidates are now favouring when applying for roles. For seniors and managers within AR/Credit, we have found that this year there has not been much movement and most credit managers are remaining loyal to their companies. This could be due to lack of positions available in general compared to, for example payroll where there was mass movement, and due to the fact a lot of companies have offshored larger teams who would warrant a manager. My advice for AR/Credit managers looking for progression would be to gain as much experience across all shared services functions, for example accounts payable, billings and payroll in order for you to progress your career. There has also been the need for tenured and experienced managers to work on project-based roles improving processes, upgrading, and implementing systems which businesses see a lot of long-term value in and can set you apart.
During the second half of 2021 we have witnessed an increase in demand as companies begin to open back up and are in need to increase their cash flow. A few industries, for example Education, have been more relaxed and lenient on their payment terms during the pandemic and now are needing to crack down on this. These positions have been again focused on heavy reconciliations and clearing the accounts, getting everything back in order before the pressure of year end. Along with the ‘Great Resignation’ we are projecting this uplift experienced in the last quarter of 2021 will continue well into 2022 and the need for strong AR/ Credit professionals who are versatile, with strong communication and accounting skills will be in high demand across Sydney and Melbourne. My best advice for retaining your staff in this department is to offer flexibility, cross training and give the opportunity to get involved in any projects to keep them engaged and focused within the business.