How Accounting Firms Can Get Ahead of the War for Talent

There’s a war in the Accountancy space.

There's a war in the Accountancy space. Small accountancy firms have it difficult when they want to attract new talent. The recruitment market is difficult to maneuver when the Big 4 do a snatch-and-grab of the creme de la creme of talent at the beginning of every year. 

It’s slim pickings for small accountancy firms then. Less because decent talent isn’t available in the market, and more because candidates these days are more picky when it comes to which company they want to be starting their careers off with.

Millennials (or Gen-Y) are more focused on joining a company that has the ideal company culture, is not outdated, and can provide them with the right kind of support at the beginning of their career. It’s no surprise that they have a reputation for job-hopping every year. Gallup reports that this generation is three times more likely than non-millennial generations to change jobs within one year. 

It is possible that they don’t stay in their current jobs because they don’t find enough reasons to put in the energy and be passionate about it.

Why does this concern small-businesses more than it does big business?

Big business already assumes a certain progression and turnover and plans for it. And they can just as easily attract fresh blood having invested in their employer brand. In 2016, the Big 4 received around 80,000 graduate applications. This number would only have increased now with more visibility online, and better organized recruitment campaigns. 

Hiring millennials has been one of the biggest challenges for accountancy-finance firms, with 62% of senior professionals making this claim. Couple this with the fact that accountancy professionals are in high demand and the employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 11% between 2014-2024 - higher than the average of all other occupations. The problem has wings now.

However, small accountancy firms can still pull a rabbit out of their hats. And it’s not too difficult either. To put it simply, they should inculcate a progressive culture which is up-to-date, innovative, and tech-savvy.

The average millennial calls themselves a digital native, which just means that they had access to ample communication technology while growing up, and they feel at ease with it. Digital natives are worth keeping around. They’re changing the future of the workplace as we know it by working more efficiently, and providing more value.

This is in the larger interest of the accountancy firms too; To focus on mobility, have a presence on social media, move to the cloud, and become more agile by using digital transformation tools. Not only will this attract better candidates from the talent pool, more of them will be able to realize their passions at such accountancy firms.

Social Media Presence

A social media presence works on two fronts. One one hand, an accounting can become more accessible for people online, provide more clarity about what they do. On the other hand, they can show-off their work culture, tell the stories of their employees in a way that helps future candidates visualize their own careers at the firm.

So not only does it help attract fresh blood - employer branding - it also helps create more awareness about the business for prospective customers in the same area - brand awareness. 

In the larger movement towards digital transformation, establishing your presence on social media can prove to be that vital first step. And as a progressive business, that’s where you need to be heading to utilize resources better, be far more productive, and attract a better cadre of professionals that respect the way you work.

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