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Why Accountants Need HR Benchmarks


Businesses' renewed need for counsel offers accountants the opportunity to advise clients in a variety of nontraditional areas such as HR.

Apr 27th 2021
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The hunger for counsel among small business clients presents accountants with the opportunity to advise them in a variety of nontraditional areas such as HR.

In fact, an ADPRI survey from March 2019 revealed that 62 perrcent of business owners want to receive HR & talent management insights from their accountant.  Accountants and firms in general who fill these roles will find success developing and diversifying revenue streams.

If we’ve learned anything during the past year, it’s that the world can change in the blink of an eye. Organizations are looking hard at the way they've always done things and reimagining what they want to look like moving forward.

With so many pieces in motion, a clear picture is essential. This means thinking ahead while things are still changing, and everyone is adjusting to what just happened.

It's not an easy environment in which to plan and make confident business decisions. A great place to start is with data and benchmarks.

As your clients’ trusted advisor, what you want to know is:

  • Where your clients are
  • How they compare to others in the industry, region, and the places they do business
  • Where they want to be, and what that looks like

But there are new tools that can help, including emerging data tools that can translate jobs and functional skills across companies — even when the titles and organizational taxonomy are different.

Having this data means you can start to answer questions for your clients like:

  • How does their headcount and labor costs by business function compare to the rest of the companies in their industry?
  • How does labor costs by function compare to similar-sized organizations locally, regionally and nationally?
  • How are other organizations structured by function, headcounts in roles and labor costs?

When you compare size, headcount by role, distribution of skills, and allocation of spend, you can see how other companies in the same industry work, where they prioritize budget, and where they have people with skills your clients don't have.

This allows you to explore the roles and structures of other organizations so you can evaluate whether those may work for your clients. It helps move past "this is how we've always done it" to see new possibilities.

The benchmarks won't tell you whether other organizations are successful or not, but the tools can open possibilities. You can start to imagine alternate strategies to help you and your clients determine where they want to be.

HR Advisory Opportunities Are Bountiful

If you have clients with plans to grow substantially, you can look at the data from other organizations and see what they look like and how they compare. You can see where they have people, where they don't, what skills are prevalent, and what all that costs.

If you have clients with plans to reduce their staff, you can see how organizations that are smaller are structured and the skills they need at that size. You can use the data to more accurately estimate labor savings to see whether eliminating those jobs will help, what roles you may need, and develop an overall strategy that will have the most benefit.

If you have clients thinking about relocating their company or opening a new location, you can compare labor costs by region and roles and see where certain skills are concentrated by region and industry. We are just beginning to imagine what these insights will bring.

Now is the time to seize the opportunity to further expand your accounting services into the realm of HR – and to tap into the additional revenue streams that come with it. That journey starts with having access to the right tools to make sense of your clients, their payroll and their HR data!

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