Global Recruitment Trends

Theresa Richardson, Chief Talent Officer, WithumSmith+Brown


Theresa Richardson

Theresa Richardson

It is imminent! Recruiting Talent in the accounting industry is being impacted by artificial intelligence (AI). Global trends reveal that AI will automate or eliminate up to 40% of transactions in accounting work by 2020.

Automation will allow accounting teams to spend more time interpreting data and providing deeper insights to clients, rather than performing manual testing. With the increase in technology advancement, accounting firms will be looking to hire more talent with IT and data analytic skills. Talent hired will be a mix of undergraduates, graduates and post graduates across all degree disciplines, experienced hires and people without formal qualifications. They will have degrees in mathematics, sciences, engineering, technology, marketing, business and finance related fields, and others will highly skilled people with no degree at all. The common threads for all the tasks that will be performed will be relationship skills, communication skills, global acumen, agility and being open to change.

Across our industry today, team members are predictors, critical thinkers, entrepreneurs, business builders, communicators and change makers. With technology taking on more transactional accounting functions, competition for talent with analytical skills and strong business acumen may soon get even stronger.


AI will provide a great opportunity for CPAs to transform and differentiate themselves from the tax preparers and accountants of the world. CPAs are already considered the most trusted advisors; to succeed in the automated future, firms must transform themselves into advisory firms that give clients advice and support that only a CPA can provide.

The sense of innovation, flexibility and digital acumen is a much-needed source of change for the accounting profession. A firm that listens to its team members, is connected and open to new work practices will find new ways to reach out and recruit accountants of the new generation. This new approach will also provide a positive impact to the bottom line.


Talent acquisition will continue to be a major focus with many firms as we enter this world of AI. Accounting firms will have the challenge of recruiting talent with all the necessary skills that include technical, IT and communication skills. But it’s good to keep in mind that the challenges aren’t new. Firms that can solve these challenges will be in good shape as the issues continue to evolve in the future. Every challenge has its reward!