Staffing – Attracting and Retaining Qualified Accounting Professionals

Over the past 2 years that I have been associated with CPAmerica International, while attending events, participating in group member sharing calls and assisting members on a daily basis, “Staffing Needs” is a common topic that continued to come up as one that has our members genuinely concerned.Recruiting Needs

Gone are the days where accounting skills and knowledge are the only qualities at the forefront for obtaining a secure position within small, midsize and large firms.

Now professionals are expected to have those skills in addition to a strong foundation in soft skills such as critical thinking, communication and the ability to think strategically.  Accounting professionals are no longer thought of as “bean counters,” they are business associates and confidants of many successful businesses and high earning individuals.  The caliber of personality could make a big impact on the retention of your client base, as well as attracting new clients to your organization.

When you find these high quality individuals, it is important to make their work-life the best it can be.  Studies show that there is a decrease in the number of accounting professionals seeking careers in the field because of work-life balance issues associated with working long hours during busy season.  For example, Generation Y (people born in the mid-1980’s and later) is known for putting more emphasis on their quality of life and not so much defined by their careers.

Young professionals want flexibility in time and place and are willing to trade the high paying jobs for this freedom.  Many of these young professionals saw parents that made the mistakes of the previous generation by working an insane amount of hours to provide for their families, all the while missing out on family life in general.   Also, young professionals are looking for attention from their employers in the form of feedback, training and praise.

Let their knowledge help your firm! Generation Y has grown up with technology and they use it to perform their jobs better.  They have been plugged in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  This can especially come into play with social media and growing your firm within this technological momentum.

In addition to keeping your staff happy and wanting to grow with your firm, employers can think about developing your staff from the beginning.  It is well known within human resource management that it costs much more to replace and train a new employee than to retain an existing one.

Take the time and spend the resources on enhancing the staff that you have.  By giving more responsibility and leadership opportunities to your staff, it will bring along more job satisfaction and help build a succession plan for your firm to have the quality people at the helm when that time comes.

The economy is slowly but surely getting better.  It is proven that voluntary turnover increases as economic conditions improve.  Don’t let your firm be part of that statistic.  Consider mentoring programs to develop those soft skills needed, work on ways to enhance the quality of life for your staff and provide feedback and recognition for a job well done throughout the year.  These forms of recognition will go a long way in building a healthy work environment for all involved.

Joyce Arthur, Senior Member Services Manager at CPAmerica International. Arthur was previously a Firm Administrator and has worked in the accounting profession for over 20 years. In her role within the Member Services team, she is responsible for the sharing calls, orientations, member communications and is a valuable resource for member firms.

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