3 Forensic Accounting trends causing a talent shortage in 2023

4 mins

If you’re an MD or Partner in a firm, you’ll know how important Forensics specialists are – ...

If you’re an MD or Partner in a firm, you’ll know how important Forensics specialists are – but also how challenging it can be to attract and retain this increasingly sought-after talent.

A turbulent few years have shaken up just about every sector, and Forensic Accounting’s no exception. It’s experienced its own fair share of twists and turns, and for now, it looks like many of the market’s shifts are here to stay. The result? An even higher demand for Forensics skills.

So, what’s the secret to continuing to be an employer of choice for top Forensics talent?  

It’s understanding this ever-changing sector. So, to help, here’s our low down on why Forensics Accountants are set to be in even greater demand as we enter the new year…and beyond.

Forensic specialists require accounting qualifications

The first trend to address is a shift in Forensics professionals requiring accounting qualifications. Historically, Forensic Accountants working in investigations didn’t necessarily need to be chartered accountants. Instead, they were often Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE).

But that’s rapidly changing, with more and more of our clients asking that Forensic Accountants are chartered accountants too. These prerequisites mean fewer trained specialists and possible longer routes for those looking to enter the field.

Combine that with a global rise in the number of business fraud cases and consequent investigations, and it’s no surprise that finding Forensic support can be tough right now.


Disputes are on the rise

Another specialist area in the world of Forensics that’s experiencing a massive increase in work - and a subsequent candidate shortage - is disputes.

Recently, there have been reports of a staggering 400 per cent increase in the number of corporate legal threats and complaints – another knock on effect of the unsettling events of the past few years.

Consider that the pandemic created an increase in employee redundancy-related claims and B2B contractual breaches due to supply chain issues. 59% of businesses took legal action against another business last year because of alleged breaches in contract or because money was owed. That’s all on top of soaring fraud stats revealing that 70% of organisations encountered new incidents of fraud amidst COVID-19 disruption.

Lockdown’s probably also to blame for the 122% increase seen in divorce enquiries! Then, Brexit, cost of living increases, plus the upcoming recession are all additional areas which have contributed (and will continue to contribute) to a rise in the number of disputes. Even the unrest in Ukraine has been a key focus in 2022, with Russian sanctions and cross-border financial transactions leading to potential conflict of law issues.


Partners are moving firms

A final trend we’re seeing in the Forensics world is an increase in the number of partners changing firms. At Apollo, we’ve witnessed a lot of movement over the past couple of years – again, perhaps owing to troubling times following COVID-19. It’s a prime period for both businesses and individuals alike to reassess their priorities and future direction.

The outcome? An exciting time for management consultancies and boutique firms to reassess their strategies. Whether concentrating on overall growth or expanding service lines to become more like a ‘Big 4’, there’s huge opportunity for businesses to reinvent themselves and branch out into broader ranges of specialisms and clients.

Forensic services are therefore becoming more commonplace in SME environments. The partners moving to smaller and mid-sized firms are bringing with them extensive Forensics expertise, with networks to match. And Forensic Accounting talent is highly desirable for building out these new service lines.


How to thrive during a Forensic Accounting candidate shortage

Want to know how to stay ahead of the game? There may be a shortage of Forensics candidates, but there are a number of things you can do to ensure you’re attracting and retaining the talent you need.

  1. Create a meritocracy-based environment – motivate workers with a culture of performance-based rewards. Provide clear paths for progression where employees understand exactly what’s required of them to gain promotion and/or bonuses.
  2. Offer a collaborative culture – building diverse, inclusive, and collaborative teams is key to candidate attraction and retention – and especially when challenged with talent shortages. Do you have mentors in place that can help your people to develop?
  3. Competitive salaries – Forensics skills are in high demand. Pay well and offer competitive benefits packages to attract the best.
  4. Review your interview process – ensuring a swift but efficient process will keep any candidates highly engaged and lead you to being able to choose the candidate you want rather than choosing from the ones left in the process. A recent survey conducted by Sterling found that 78% of applicants would drop out of a recruitment process if they felt it was too long or complex.
  5. Reassess your offerings – money’s not always the top priority for candidates. Are you offering other benefits such as remote/flexible working that allow employees to achieve work/life balance?
  6. Consider sponsorships/in-house training – We know there’s a need for Forensic Accountants to have chartered status now. Could you help to bridge the gap by sponsoring a candidate through these kinds of qualifications?
  7. Work with us - from providing guidance on the current state of the market and advising on best practices for attracting and retaining staff, to introducing you to top Forensics talent, Apollo are industry experts and we’re here to help at every step of the way.

Ready to succeed even during these challenging times? We’re here to help you. If you want to know more about what’s happening in Forensic Accounting, or need Forensic expertise in your business, get in touch today.

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