With many accountants quitting in the past two years and the dwindling number of college students entering the accounting field, there is an increased focus on employee retention for accounting firms. Not only because turnover is costly, but it disrupts workflow and results in losing valuable skills and expertise.
Why are accountants quitting at such a high rate? Not only does the barrier to entry remain high (with an extra year of college credits needed to practice), but the payoff takes a long time to kick in. Most accountants spend a decade getting into the high-salaried positions promised to them when they enter the workforce. Additionally, the profession has acquired a “burnout” stigma, with 70-hour work weeks the norm. Universities reported a 9% drop in students pursuing a Bachelor’s in the discipline between 2012 and 2022.
How do you keep your firm's accountants, CPAs, and employees motivated, engaged, and committed to their roles? Here are some tips for industry leaders and CEOs to retain employees and build a loyal and dedicated team.
Create a Professional Work Environment: Ensure your office is well-equipped, clean, and organized. Provide your employees with modern tools that help them stay current with market trends while enabling them to perform their job efficiently. Foster open communication and actively listen to your employees' concerns, ideas, and feedback. Recognize and reward their hard work and contributions to the firm. A positive work environment can boost employee morale and motivation, increasing job satisfaction and retention.
Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits: Competitive compensation and benefits are essential to attract and retain top talent. Conduct regular salary reviews to ensure that your employees are fairly compensated based on industry standards and performance. Provide opportunities for bonuses, raises, and promotions based on merit. Offer your employees comprehensive benefits packages, including health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and other valuable perks. A competitive compensation and benefits package can demonstrate that you value your employees' contributions and are invested in their well-being, enhancing their loyalty and commitment to the firm.
Provide Professional Development Opportunities: Accountants, like other professionals, value career growth and advancement opportunities. Provide employees with ongoing professional development opportunities, such as training programs, workshops, certifications, and conferences. Encourage them to stay updated with the latest industry trends and best practices. Providing professional development opportunities can show your employees that you're invested in their growth and advancement, which can increase their job satisfaction and motivation to stay with your firm.
Foster Work-Life Balance: Balancing work and personal life is crucial for well-being and job satisfaction. The new generation of potential accountants is working against a stigma of what accounting means — long hours, no time for personal hobbies, and clicking away in spreadsheets and calculators. Do your part to dispel this stigma by avoiding overloading your employees with excessive work, unrealistic deadlines, and outdated software — all contributing factors that lead to burnout. Provide flexibility in work arrangements, such as remote work options, flexible working hours, or compressed work weeks. Encourage employees to take breaks, vacations, and time off when needed.
Build a Strong Team Culture: A strong team culture can foster a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and loyalty among your employees. Encourage a collaborative and inclusive culture where employees feel valued, respected, and supported. Create opportunities for team-building activities, such as team lunches, social events, or exercises. Foster a positive and inclusive culture where diverse perspectives are valued and everyone feels included and respected.
While it's not easy to make everyone happy, doing what you can to foster employee loyalty can pay dividends for your accounting firm for years to come.
Chris is a content manager for Canopy, joining the team with a combined eight years of experience as a copywriter, editor-in-chief, and content marketer. He's a skilled wordsmith and strategic thinker who shapes brand identity through compelling content and fosters a collaborative and innovative environment. With a passion for storytelling and a dedication to excellence, he is a driving force behind any company's success in content marketing. Champion of the Oxford comma.READ MORE BY Chris