5 Signs You're Failing to Attract and Retain Accounting Talent

Finance Insights for Professionals

Finance Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Finance pros

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Recognizing the signs that you may need to up your game to attract and retain the best accounting professionals should be a top priority.

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Your accounting team play a crucial role in the smooth running of the business; they deal with everything from making payments to forecasting your future costs and ensuring the business always has a positive cash flow.

Attracting and retaining the services of the best accountants isn’t always easy, though. Competition for top professionals is fierce and staff won't stick around if they feel they could be getting a better deal elsewhere.

So, what does it take to attract and retain the services of top accountants, and how can you tell if you need to up your game? Here we examine some of the essential steps you need to take to ensure your accounting department always has the services of the staff you need:

Look out for the key signs you could be about to lose valuable team members

Recognizing the warning signs of unrest in your finance teams is important to the lasting success of any business. As a result, it's essential to pay attention to the attitudes, behavior and performance of staff at all times.

Here are the five key signs that you could be about to lose key members of staff:

  1. Staff members are regularly being overworked
  2. Individuals feel underappreciated and are vocal about this fact
  3. Team members are demotivated
  4. Salaries aren't competitive with your wider industry/sector
  5. Staff complain of being ill-equipped to carry out their job effectively

If your accounting department suffers from these issues then it's fairly likely you'll be unable to retain the services of your best team members for long. Addressing the damaging effects of high staff turnover needs to be made a business priority, as instability in the finance department can lead to wider issues of uncertainty across your company.

So, once you've identified that work needs to be done, what can you do to attract the best accounting talent and, crucially, retain them for the long-term?

Create a clear recruitment process

Developing a strong talent pipeline is imperative when you want to recruit the best professionals in your industry and one of the best ways to achieve this is through a clear, repeatable and, above all, simple recruitment process.

Nobody wants to feel like they're being made to jump through hoops to secure their dream role, but having in place a well-defined structure can help give confidence to candidates and demonstrates the importance you place on building the right team.

Finance professional, small business owner and entrepreneur Meryl Lane-Knoll advises optimizing the job advert as the place to start. This should include all relevant information for candidates, such as the reporting line for the role, all benefits on offer, the structure of the team and any potential for future promotion.

It's also important to be active in responding to candidates throughout the recruitment process. Lane-Knoll notes businesses which are able to keep potential new hires informed more thoroughly on their progress - from application, to interview, to assessment and, ultimately, the hiring decision - stand the best chance of attracting top talent that’s in high demand.

Build a strong employer brand

When it comes to attracting and retaining the best accounting talent, your reputation is everything. A company which has developed a reputation for offering excellent pay, opportunities for progression and which demonstrates a positive, supportive working atmosphere will be highly placed to attract and retain the best staff.

Lee Frederiksen, managing partner at branding and marketing firm Hinge, argues that optimizing your employer brand presence is crucial to attracting the best candidates. This means regularly assessing how well you’re engaging with candidates, understanding the general perception of your business in the your wider industry and recording all interactions with successful and unsuccessful applicants to your roles.

Use this information to create a clear picture of how the business is regarded. Changes to how you engage with potential hires, treat existing staff or onboard new workers can all help to make your organization a more attractive place to work.

Show you recognize your team's successes

When you fail to recognize the efforts of your accounting team, you run the risk of alienating the very people who ensure the business runs smoothly. It's therefore essential to show appreciation for their efforts, both internally and externally. Consider setting up a 'kudos board' where top performers can be recognized for their contributions to key projects. At the same time, be active on social media and celebrate the successes of your accounting team with the wider public.

However, it's not simply a matter of giving a pat on the back. Celebrating and recognizing successful teams means you'll also need to invest. Professionals in any sector need to feel they're appreciated in order to stay with any business for a significant length of time, so make sure your remuneration package reflects the high-pressure nature of the accounting team, as well as offering other potential incentives like extra holidays or other bonuses when your staff go above and beyond.

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