Talent crunch will get worse in 2023

A photographic portrait of Pat O'Neill

March 2023

The acute shortage of qualified accountants will worsen in 2023, as Irish businesses and firms struggle to access the talent they need to support the economy, says President of Chartered Accountants Ireland Pat O’Neill.

He told guests at the CAI annual dinner: “Anecdotally, the talent pipeline problem is clear right across the profession, from practices of all size to industry, resulting in attraction and retention challenges, not just in Ireland, but around the world, and we are working with global partners to tackle it. It is driven by a huge increase in competition for talent from non-accounting roles; but also, a real gap in perception of what accountants actually do.”

O’Neill explained that many students are turned off accountancy because of rote learning, the lack of breadth of what is taught and the need to unlearn and relearn concepts. It means the number of students opting for accountancy has slumped with them attracted to the newer subjects like climate action and sustainable development. He claimed: “Accounting has remained set in stone, essentially unchanged in 30 years, so it is little wonder that students don’t associate the profession with cutting-edge areas like data analytics or sustainability reporting, both of which are huge growth areas for us.”