Ask the partner in charge of any audit department of any firm in the country to identify the firm’s greatest asset and the answer should invariably be “our people” rather than “our clients.” While their value will never be quantified on any balance sheet, your employees are assets whose value is enhanced when you invest in them. And as their value increases, so does the performance of your firm.
Although they recognize the value that audit talent brings, firms across the country still struggle to attract and retain their star performers. Globalization, increased regulatory burdens, changes in accounting standards, and changing demographics all play a role in the audit talent shortage. Many of those issues are outside of firm leaders’ control, but firms can take some deliberate steps to bolster employee engagement.
Consider these developments:
• High turnover rates have practically become synonymous with accounting firms, sometimes reaching up to 30% at large audit firms.1
• Firms that launch initiatives to address work/life balance issues are newsworthy, and the effort is almost guaranteed to earn them a spot on a “best places to work” list. Many firms are attempting to address work/life balance, but there is more to work/life integration than half-day Fridays and work-from-home Wednesdays. Successful work/life integration means different things to individual employees. Each firm has to determine what it looks like for their staff and culture.
Complex workflows and dated technology often stand in the way of optimal work/life balance and employee satisfaction, which is critical to your firm’s performance. When your employees spend hours dealing with syncing issues, trial balance user restrictions, and logistical challenges, there isn’t enough time in the day for them to get their workdone, handle family responsibilities, and participate in activities they enjoy without feeling drained.
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