In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers reached out to their accountant for extra assistance with people and HR advice, and now faced with economic hardship, the demand on accountants to supply HR advice is higher than ever.
In a report released by Gusto*, post pandemic 75% of employers said that it is important their accountant offer business advice and 31% are looking to their accountant for people advice specifically. Data also shows that 79% of employers see accountants as more valuable if they offer this sort of advice.
In the 2023/2024 Advisory Report by Spotlight Reporting**, it states that accounting firms that offer a diverse range of services and adapt to the needs of their clients are those that are reaping the rewards and making a significant and positive impact for their clients.
As accountancy firms started playing a more active role in HR advisory matters as requested by its clients, HR firm Breedon Consulting has witnessed a surge in interest from accountancy firms seeking assistance with those HR responsibilities.
Nicki Robson, managing director at Breedon Consulting, commented on the emerging importance of HR within the accountancy sector but with a word of caution: "Human Resources has become a vital function within accountancy, especially since the pandemic. The unprecedented complexities that emerged within the employment landscape became a full-time job for many employers, leading them to rely on their most trusted partners for guidance - most often the accountant.
“However, the challenge being that accountants have their specialism and will often lack the necessary time and expertise to effectively support the critical HR function requested by their clients. As a result, some employers were and still are, being given advice that is incorrect and now face legal HR claims.
“In light of these challenges, collaborating with experienced HR providers has become crucial for accountants and the team and I are working closer with the profession than ever before. By outsourcing HR responsibilities to trusted partners, accountancy firms can reclaim their focus on their core competencies while ensuring compliance across all employee-related issues and navigating ever-evolving regulations.”
Beyond the accountancy sector, the need for robust HR support has become increasingly evident across various industries. The pandemic has brought about widespread changes in the workplace, including remote work, health and safety protocols, and employee well-being initiatives. These shifts have placed additional burdens on businesses, making HR support a critical aspect of successful operations.