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News » Talent shortage drives Australian accounting firms to look offshore

Talent shortage drives Australian accounting firms to look offshore

Australian accounting firms offshore

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Australian accounting firms are increasingly looking offshore to fill talent gaps amid an ongoing shortage of qualified accountants locally, firm leaders say.

With vacancies for accountants and auditors up 34% year-over-year, according to CPA Australia, firms are struggling to recruit and retain staff. 

This has led many to offshore work to countries like the Philippines, India, and Vietnam where abundant talent pools allow access to qualified accounting professionals at lower cost.

“Attracting qualified staff is likely to remain a challenge into the foreseeable future,” said Gavin Johns, chairman of accounting firm DFK ANZ.

Smaller Australian firms outsource basic accounting tasks like bookkeeping, payroll, and tax preparation to providers offshore. This helps manage workloads and focus resources on higher-value services.

Larger firms are going further, bringing hundreds of accountants from overseas member firms to fill shortages in audit and cybersecurity roles.

Offshoring provides Australian firms key benefits like cost savings, access to specialized skills, and scalability. But it also carries risks around communication, security, and loss of control.

“The firm is struggling to find talented candidates at an intermediate or senior accountant level required to grow the practice,” said Sheridan Green, co-founder of Sovereign Private.

Experts emphasize that careful provider vetting, robust security measures, detailed transition planning, and training for offshore staff are critical to ensuring offshoring success.

With local talent scarce, offshoring has become a strategic imperative. However, the strategy requires meticulous planning and execution to avoid pitfalls. For now, firm leaders agree talent challenges will continue hampering growth in the sector.

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