South Africa is facing a formidable challenge, as the global demand for skilled labour surges. According to a recent Korn Ferry report, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people by 2030. This will especially affect South Africa, as global firms look to lure local talent with the promise of being paid in dollars, pounds or euros. Furthermore, many skilled professionals will find the offer of living in a country without loadshedding hard to resist.
The accounting profession, in particular, is on the precipice of a crisis, as skilled professionals are indispensable to every sector in the economy. To confront this growing challenge, accounting firms must adopt innovative solutions to meet the escalating demand for expertise.
In recent years, full-service assurance, tax and advisory consulting consultancy SAPRO has taken proactive steps to address this shortage by exposing young South Africans to a varied global skillset, while offering clients access to some of the best talent on the global market.
“As globalisation continues to drive economic growth and cross-border collaboration, the demand for skilled professionals from South Africa is soaring,” says Kerenza Reddy, talent acquisition senior manager at SAPRO. “Our auditing and tax professionals are known to be some of the best in the world. This puts us as SAPRO in the unique position of being able to give South African talent a chance to broaden their skills, while also leaving the door open for them to put those skills to work in South Africa in the future.”
Proactive solutions for a global challenge
The business model rests on the foundation of creating a win-win scenario for all parties involved. From an organisational perspective, talent shortages are addressed effectively by delivering world-class talent, even to some of the biggest accounting firms in the world, without them having to absorb the financial and time cost of bringing on a full-time employee. This allows them to continue delivering high-quality services and maintain their competitive edge.
In an increasingly global world, professionals can now enjoy true flexibility and the opportunity to ply their trade across the globe while staying firmly connected to South Africa. Through strategic partnerships with international firms and organisations, young professionals can put their time and energy into forging unique career paths.
This approach gives local professionals invaluable experience with international best practices, advanced technology and diverse business environments. By expanding their skills, South African accountants become more adaptable, competitive and capable of meeting the evolving demands of the industry.
The benefits of a going global
Exposure to a diverse global skillset across various sectors offers numerous advantages to young South African accountants and the accounting sector as a whole.
Firstly, it enhances the quality of financial services provided by local professionals. With access to international best practices, they can implement more robust financial reporting standards, strengthen compliance measures, and elevate the overall standard of professionalism.
Secondly, a global skill set equips South African accountants with a broader perspective on business dynamics, economic trends and technological advancements. This knowledge becomes a catalyst for innovation, allowing them to bring fresh ideas and insights to the local accounting sector. As a result, businesses can better navigate the complexities of the global marketplace, enhancing their competitiveness and growth potential.
“Exposure to international environments fosters cultural awareness, adaptability and collaboration skills – and these qualities are increasingly valuable in today’s interconnected world,” Reddy says. “Professionals who experience diverse work environments are better equipped to excel in these settings.”
In today’s dynamic business environment, organisations must grapple with the challenge of balancing their workforce needs with cost considerations. Similarly, audit and accounting professionals must wrestle with how they can leverage their skill sets to maximise their well-being. By partnering with SAPRO, organisations and accountants get the best of both.