How to attract and retain the best talent in your accounting firm

discovery call-3It’s a challenge faced by many accounting & bookkeeping firms…In fact, it’s a challenge faced by many businesses full stop.

Attracting and retaining the best talent.

And whilst there is a lot to be said for getting the external part of recruitment right (working with a good recruitment partner and making the job ads sound interesting and stand out) there is also a lot to be said for the internal factors of recruitment.

These are the things that can mean the difference between struggling to find good quality candidates, and consistently being able to hire the right people, all year round.

Here are 3 things to focus on internally if you want to attract and retain the best talent in your accounting firm…

1. Culture, vision and values

People are the engine to growth, but your culture, vision and values are the oil that keeps the engine running smoothly.

Culture doesn’t mean having hip new offices, or ping pong tables, or bean bags for people to sit on. Instead, culture is about the type of place your team members come to work and how it impacts their performance.

Does it give them freedom and autonomy, or are they micromanaged down to the last minute?

Is it relaxed and fun, or do they dread coming in on a Monday morning?

For example, in Reza Hooda’s accounting firm, Walji & Co, they have a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). And what this means is that his team doesn't have a set place of work (they can choose to be in the office or not), and they don’t have set working days or hours. The only thing that matters is whether or not work gets done, clients goals are met and the goals of the business are met.

2. Do you have an inclusive team environment?

Your team members come into work to do well and succeed, so it’s important that you recognise this and get them to fully buy into what you’re trying to achieve as a firm.

Do they know what the goals of the business are? Do they understand what you’re trying to achieve? Are they aware of the level of service you want clients to receive? If you answered no to any of these then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to get your team more involved.
In his contribution to the Pixie Practice Owner’s Playbook, Michael Donnelly who is Partner at Ad+ accountants said:

“One of the ways we have got our team more involved is through regular communication and team meetings. Not just about client work, but regarding the key goals of the business and how we can improve other areas of the business as well. By taking their ideas and showing that care by actually implementing them, they feel even more involved and it develops a culture of inclusiveness.”

By creating an inclusive team environment you not only increase the collective brainpower that is available to solve the challenges of the business, but you also signal to potential recruits that this is an environment that cares about your ideas and sees you as more than just another team member.

3. Leverage marketing to drive recruitment

Having a desirable culture and an inclusive team environment can be great for retaining your best talent, but it won’t help you to recruit new team members….unless you shout about it.

This is where marketing can work really well.

Your ideal clients are the ones you try to attract with the majority of your marketing efforts, so why not try the same for your ideal team members?

At flinder, an accounting, advisory and data analytics business, they recognised that their potential recruits were another target market and started using their Instagram channel to share content about what it was like to work for their firm. Here is what their Founder, Alastair Barlow said in his contribution to the Pixie Practice Owner’s Playbook:

“Once you’ve got this figured out, you need to shout about it! We share videos on social media showing people what it’s like to work at flinder. We’re open, transparent and authentic about our brand, and what it’s like behind the doors. People can see that our culture is disruptive and they want to work here. When people apply to work with us they’ve already made their minds up because they feel like they already know us. Now, we’re in a great position where we have potential candidates emailing in wanting to work for us even when there aren’t any roles for them.”

Look internally to fix your recruitment challenges

Recruiting and retaining the best talent for your accounting firm isn’t easy. But by focusing internally on things such as...

Your culture, vision and values
Is your environment inclusive for team members
Are you shouting about it in your marketing

...you can help to improve the chances of success next time you need to recruit new team members.

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