Addressing the shortage of government accountants: 2 paths to efficiency
That recruiting challenge is exacerbated by an ongoing shortage of qualified professionals for critical accounting roles. Unfortunately, the deficit is unlikely to improve anytime soon. One National Association of State Treasurers study observes that 60% of public finance workers are over age 45 while less than 20% are younger than 35. A recent Government Finance Officers Association report notes that nearly one-third of the current public finance workforce will reach retirement age within 10 years.
As the workforce shrinks, however, the opportunities to become more efficient grow. Municipalities may overcome some challenges by evaluating new technology and staffing models. Although this kind of evaluation may not address some personnel shortages — such as police officers or firefighters — it can often help agencies meet the specialized demands of public sector financial management. The key is understanding what to look for to successfully bridge the expertise gap.