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Standing up to the Great Resignation

In the USA, the economy is struggling with a new phenomenon: almost four million employees have quit their jobs. This is the highest number ever and 24 percent higher than before the pandemic. What does this mean for our market?
Ralph Weiss, Blackline
15 June 2022
CFO Column
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Germany and other European countries have also seen fundamental changes in recent months: Lockdowns brought entire industries to a standstill, face-to-face work in the office was replaced by the home office, and short-time work prevailed in many companies. This unrest and lack of planning is making employees nervous in this country, too.

Companies must address a new situation and consider how to counter this uncertainty. This is especially true for CFOs who have been struggling to find and retain qualified employees for some time. Those who do not want to lose out must face the competition for the most promising talents - especially against the backdrop that a Great Resignation wave could also spill over to us. 

So what do you do? Make sure that employees feel comfortable and satisfied with their tasks. What sounds so trivial is by no means easy to implement, because it's no longer just about salary and vacation days, but about the attractive working environment and opportunities. This is still countered by too many accounting tasks that are performed manually and could easily be automated, such as Excel-based processes within financial closing.

Many companies have so far shied away from comprehensive digitization projects. Now they are getting the receipt for it: dissatisfied employees and difficulties in finding new employees. Digitization of accounting is long overdue - and not just because people are used to working with user-friendly applications in their private lives, and it's often hard for individuals to understand why they still have to work with outdated methods and tools in their own companies. After all, employees want higher-value work and less busywork. The desire for more real-time data and analytics capabilities has also been at the top of CFOs' agendas for years. Those who want to prepare for the Great Resignation and position themselves in the battle for the best employees must rely on an end-to-end, automated, modern accounting process. 

It's clear: We can't talk ourselves out of it by saying we didn't know. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found for the U.S. that 41 percent of employees are considering quitting by the end of the year. 42 percent even specifically say they will quit if their employer doesn't allow them to work from home, and 61 percent say they feel burned out. It is to be feared that the figures would reveal similar trends in a comparable survey in Germany.

This means that the framework conditions in the finance and accounting departments must be changed as quickly as possible and in the best possible way. Hybrid workplace concepts that meet the needs of employees could help. To counteract employee burnout, time-consuming manual work must be reduced. 

Focus on Modern Accounting

Modern continuous accounting solutions play a key role in driving digitization and taking accounting processes to the next level. Processes are automated and continuously improved so that manual reconciliations are kept to a minimum. This gives employees more opportunities to focus on analyzing and interpreting numbers. Ideally, this will keep them from turning their backs on the company and looking for new career opportunities. When looking for a job, young talents are more likely to opt for a company with modern structures and systems where they can develop and are valued.

CFO: The Chief Financial Officer has gone from being a numbers and finance manager to an influential shaper of the digital transformation. It is in his hands to identify risks at an early stage and to develop central visions and strategies for his company.
Ralph Weiss, Blackline

Ralph Weiss is Geo Vice President DACH at BlackLine.

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