Employer Insights

Return of the Project

Christopher Williams Posted by Christopher
min read
Irfan Simsar Wx Wulfj N G0 Unsplash

As we almost enter the third month of 2021 (yes, it’s almost March!) as recruiters you can start to tell what the trends of the year may be, and what hiring managers are searching for, through various conversations in the market.

If we quickly jump back to this time last year in 2020, some words spring straight to mind for accounting recruiters such as projects, transformation, or implementation. It was an exciting time, finance leaders were willing to invest in new processes or even ERP’s to remain competitive, maximise the use of their data and improve the overall efficiency of the finance team. For a recruiter who focuses on temporary and contract employment, for me, nothing sounds better.

Then COVID -19 hit!

Hiring Managers who had these plans quickly switched to survival mode and all non-essential spending/projects were halted before they could even start.

In 2021, I’m predicting these projects are going to be more in demand than ever before. With hiring freezes, reductions in headcount, many finance teams were pushed to their maximum work capacity in 2020. As a result, they were truly able to identify what they will need in the ‘recovery’. Speaking from experience so far in 2021, businesses have greenlighted such projects and are well on the way of transforming.

As I write, I am recruiting for several project-based roles and I wanted to highlight and emphasise the importance of showcasing your suitability when applying for these types of roles. Although it is great to see ERP projects return, I do feel expectations have changed, both in the criteria from the hiring manager’s requirements, but also from the jobseeker’s perspective.

  • Firstly, I think we have all heard and use the acronym WFH in the past year. This doesn’t mean job seekers want to work from home 24/7, but instead are seeking flexibility. If we have learnt anything from 2020, that is to trust our colleagues and that if deadlines are being met and the standard of work remains high, this shouldn’t be an issue. Jobseekers should be mindful though, that visits to the office are almost always required for such roles as an ERP roll out, due to the amount of partnering with various departments.

  • In my opinion, the biggest requirement hiring managers have, is a job seeker who can offer business partnering and stakeholder management. Many have the technical skillset to implement software such as Oracle, Dynamics, or even MYOB, but perhaps lack in the latter. Sure, Australia has done a fantastic job with our recovery but it’s still a recovery. Businesses are more willing to invest in technology this year but budgeting, liaising with different departments to LISTEN to what actual efficiencies need to be improved and monitoring costs, will still be a major priority.

So, for those who ask, “what do you think 2021 will bring for accounting and finance teams?” I use the same reply I had in 2020; projects, transformation, and implementations.