The accounting profession is one of the oldest and most traditional industries in existence. But as the world changes, so too must accounting firms if they want to remain competitive and be able to attract top talent.
The good news is that there are several ways for accounting firms to break away from a traditional model and create an environment more conducive to attracting and retaining talented individuals. So let's look at some of these changes in detail to ensure your firm stays ahead of the curve in today's ever-changing business landscape.
Change long hours expectations
Young professionals today want to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and that means they are no longer willing to work insane hours week after week.
Working overtime does not necessarily equate to increased productivity. In fact, a study by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research found that once people pass the 50-hour mark, productivity actually decreases. Plus, the World Health Organization warns that working 55 hours per week or more is a serious health risk.
You may not be able to change your business model and cap busy season hours immediately, but you can begin taking steps in the right direction. From embracing technology-driven solutions to creating flexible work policies that allow employees to fit work in around their personal commitments and passions, many innovative strategies can help modernize your firm and show employees that you care about their well-being.
Allow people to discover and pursue their unique abilities
The traditional career path in an accounting firm usually meant that employees were siloed into specific departments and had to start at the bottom before working their way up. This can often have a negative impact on employee morale, as it can make employees feel stuck in their jobs with few opportunities to try out other areas of the profession or make lateral moves.
Instead of relying on a rigid hierarchy, some accounting firms are creating more flexible career paths that allow employees to move between roles and choose their development paths. This can make them feel more engaged in the firm's long-term goals and create opportunities for people to discover and pursue their unique abilities.
Give team members a voice
Creating various groups and committees within an accounting firm is a great way to improve engagement and retention.
For example, we have a Culture Club at Boomer Consulting that brings ideas to leadership to improve company culture. These kinds of committees ensure that employees at all levels of the organization feel like they have a voice and are part of something much bigger. By creating these types of teams, employers can create an atmosphere of collaboration and inclusion that allows employees to feel their contributions are valued and appreciated.
Leverage automation and outsourcing
In the past, operating a traditional accounting firm involved siloing entry-level employees into separate departments to do low-level data entry work. This was often tedious and monotonous work, but it was seen as the only way for new workers to learn the business and gain experience.
Thanks to technological advances and the rise of automation and outsourcing solutions, firms today are no longer bound by these outdated models. By leveraging robotic process automation (RPA) and outsourcing, you can free up your employees to focus on higher-level tasks that require more technical knowledge and skills. This not only improves efficiency and reduces costs but also helps attract top talent who are drawn to firms that embrace new tools and technology.
Overall, there are many ways for accounting firms to adapt their business models and remain competitive in today's rapidly changing market. Of course, you don't have to tackle all these areas at once. However, if you show that you're committed to changing the paradigm and making progress, you can create a more positive and supportive work environment that will ultimately benefit your firm in the long run.
Could your firm's HR and talent leaders benefit from a peer network?
The Boomer Talent Circle is a community of talent leaders from forward-thinking firms who are committed to aligning human resources and firm strategy at the highest levels. Apply now to start shaping your firm for the future.
As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Kylie Pruser is excited about engaging with clients, helping them solve their problems, enrich their businesses and grow. Her primary focus is on communities, including the Boomer Technology Circles.