Finance leaders stick to close community in Ukraine

Companies face a shortage of workers in Ukraine as they grapple with another year of war.
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· 3 min read

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When Russia invaded Ukraine on the morning of February 24, 2022, thousands fled to neighboring countries to ensure their safety, and finance professionals were no exception. Now, the war-torn country is facing a shortage of finance talent, which is sorely needed to revive and sustain the economy, several Ukrainian finance leaders told CFO Brew.

Groups such as the CFO Club of Ukraine and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) have become vital for finance leaders to stay connected in Ukraine, where jobs and recommendations are shared on Telegram CFO groups often, Denys Shchur, regional development manager for Ukraine and the Baltics at ACCA, told CFO Brew. ACCA offered free 2022 membership to members in Ukraine, even reimbursing those who had already paid. In 2023, they are offering reduced membership fees.

“Currently, I even see that there is even a lack of financial people in Ukraine,” Shchur said, and while most men are unable to leave the country due to martial law, many Ukrainian finance leaders moved to Western Europe and settled in.

This has created a gap in the workforce, Shchur said, “when their employers found out how to work on the new normality—let's call it normality—[and] the new circumstances, they could not recruit them back because they were already working for some [other] European finance people.”

Over the long term, the war is creating a current and future gender imbalance in the Ukrainian finance workforce. Iryna Levkivska, group CFO for Kovalska, told CFO Brew that around 50% of its accounting team was women, but many have now escaped the country with their children and looked for jobs elsewhere.

However, this has opened a window of opportunity for younger talent, who have come back to Ukraine and are signing up for ACCA classes, Shchur said. He added that they were surprised by the number of students who have stayed and are eager to gain finance knowledge.

Dmytro Shamutylo, CFO of mobile product company Reface, said the company has been fortunate enough to hold on to most of its workers, but it has required working fully remotely and factoring in numerous time zones to keep things running smoothly. Automating some systems has helped their process, Shamutylo said.

Some international firms are keeping their offices open and committed to growth plans; airSLATE, a workflow automation software with Ukrainian founders, has a large portion of its team based in Ukraine, and plans to keep growing there.

While retaining finance jobs doesn’t rank high on the list of war survival skills, the impact to the local economy can be felt through the gap in talent, Shchur said. And as companies adjust to their new reality, they are leaning on their support networks to fill these gaps, but the problem will likely continue, experts said.—KT, DA

News built for finance pros

The latest news and insights corporate finance professionals need to know to keep up with their constantly evolving industry.