Pay Is Only Part of Attracting and Retaining Accounting Talent

While the rest of us may be having sugarplum dreams, accountants are seeing stacks of spreadsheets and tax forms and year end reports in their future.

For accounting professionals at firms across the country the end of the year brings the beginning of their busiest months. The long hours, routine, if important, tasks and the lack of flexibility that marks these next three months puts traditional firms at a disadvantage, says a whitepaper from Thomson Reuters.

Though the COVID pandemic may have cooled the intense talent wars of the last few years, it won’t last. “Competition is bound to only intensify,” the report says. And compensation is only part of the formula. Firms, need to “focus on more intangibles like employee engagement, and nurturing a positive and inclusive workplace culture.”

As its title says, the whitepaper details 4 Ways to Elevate Your Accounting Firm’s Talent.

The first step is to elevate the firm’s visibility among those professionals you want to hire. Recruitment marketing is as essential as marketing to attract new clients, says the report.

“Change begins with developing and raising awareness of your firm’s reputation as a place to work,” says the paper. “The visibility and awareness of your ‘employer brand’ among prospective candidates is important.”

The place to start is with the firm’s website. Think more like a candidate, than an employer when crafting the careers pages. What is it your firm offers? What makes your firm unique and a good place to work?

Most of the report focuses on building a strong culture to retain and attract talent. You do that, says the Thomson Reuters paper by emphasizing career development and learning, by focusing on engagement and developing a positive work environment.

“What is the ideal culture? For many associates, a positive corporate culture is one rich in diversity, inclusion, and flexibility. This is especially true among younger associates.”

For many diversity is associated with “a forward-thinking mindset that involves tolerance, inclusiveness, and openness to different ideas or ways of thinking.” In addition, empowering associates and providing a path to a better work/life balance through flexible work schedules, telecommuting, compressed workweek, etc. helps promote a positive workplace culture.

“Attracting and retaining top accounting firm talent is challenging for many firms. Shifts in employee expectations, greater competition from tech players, and a constricting pipeline of accounting graduates means that the job market will only intensify,” the report observes.

A competitive paycheck is important, the report concludes, but “earning the loyalty and commitment of your employees is about so much more.”

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

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