16 August 2015
As the economy continues to improve, businesses across a variety of industries are experiencing increased competition and rapid business growth. To adjust their business operations to this growth, an increasing number of organizations have begun implementing larger Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms as well as ramping up their hiring of tech-savvy accounting professionals to help with the transition. As technology continues to evolve, the need for systems-savvy accounting professionals with experience implementing and operating some of the most widely used ERP accounting software is expected to rise. Therefore, if you are interested in working for a large organization in this capacity, now is the perfect time to learn how to create a unique competitive advantage over others. For example, Alex Wright, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division, has seen an increasing number of clients in search of systems-savvy accounting professionals with practical hands-on software experience using SAP, Oracle, or PeopleSoft. “Upgrading to a new system can prove to be an enormous undertaking for an organization, especially when they do not have professionals in place that have been through a similar implementation or have experience with the new software,” he says. As a result, tech-savvy accounting professionals are being given more opportunities to become expert resources for managing these software programs, so now is the time to get your foot in the door. If you currently work at a smaller organization, but you’re interested in transitioning to a Fortune 500 or 1000 company, one of the best ways to gain hands-on experience is by working for a company that’s currently transitioning to a larger ERP platform. Why? “Organizations that are expanding will have a greater need for accounting professionals that can learn how to implement and operate particular accounting ERP software,” highlights Alex. Use this as an opportunity to receive the in-depth instruction you need to play a bigger role throughout the implementation process. Accounting professionals that possess strong technical skills should use these opportunities to learn the ins and outs of how these programs impact business decisions, which may help you stand out against your competition. “Not only are strong technical skills a must, but strong communication and the ability to clearly articulate the system’s language to a variety of audiences is crucial,” notes Alex. Lastly, since every company’s needs and implementation processes are different, you will need to be adept at change management, working across different operational groups to streamline workflow. Keep in mind, full-time roles aren’t the only options available for accounting professionals, as there are a variety of job opportunities on the consulting side as well. “High-level consultants have also become a hot commodity within this space, as they tend to possess a working knowledge of in-demand ERP accounting systems, and are prepared to hit the ground running with minimal training. “For example, clients are interested in prospective candidates that have experience working within a particular area of an ERP accounting system (e.g., payroll, financial reporting, etc.),” says Alex. If you aren’t looking for a full-time commitment, but still want to remain competitive in this space, pursuing a consulting role is a great option. If you are a systems-savvy accounting professional looking to make a change, now is the perfect time to either bring your skills to a new industry or become proficient in a new program in order to make yourself a more marketable candidate.