10 Ways to Attract Talent and Show Off Your Firm’s Assets

Is your firm attracting the right kind of candidates—or any candidates? Dawn Wagenaar, a principal at the accounting and professional consulting agency, Ingenuity Marketing Group, offers 10 ways for firms to attract the hottest talent.

1. Technology 1. Technology

Each wave of new professionals to accounting will contribute their insights on the best technology to perform their jobs, serve clients and maintain work/life balance. From Web sites that offer smart, client-focused portals and tools to mobile applications and data automation, firms that stay apprised of the best technology tools will be defined as progressive to candidates.

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2. Partnerships 2. Partnerships

Since 2011, top talent with 10 to 14 years of experience in the accounting industry have rated career growth opportunities as a higher priority for retention than partners realize. When recruiting experienced accountants, make sure you can outline how your firm offers training and development for upward mobility.

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3. Prestige 3. Prestige

Is your firm well known in accounting or at least your geographic area? If not, you’ll have to work harder at attracting top talent. A respected and visible reputation ranks high among accounting graduates. Build your reputation with a strategic visibility plan, dedicated recruiting efforts beyond the headhunters, and testimonials from current staff.

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4. Connections 4. Connections

Firms with well-known clients or an affiliation with a national or international professional association demonstrate access to a broader professional network. Candidates want firms that provide access to important people and organizations of influence. Showcase firm alliances through LinkedIn, your Web site’s news feed and client case studies.

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5. Novelty 5. Novelty

One fear of young accountants is to get pigeonholed before they’ve decided where to specialize. Small and midsize firms should share their approach to client relationships and team development. Make sure Web copy and key promises demonstrate that difference in your culture.

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6. Culture 6. Culture

Speaking of culture, accountants want to have fun. Firms with a social side to work should show tasteful team photos and videos to attract professionals who prefer combining work with play.

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7. Money 7. Money

Even if candidates say they want challenging and meaningful work, they will still compare your firm’s salary and benefits to other offers. Make sure your package is more than competitive, especially when headhunting top talent. Be ready with the right questions that demonstrate your competitive difference.

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8. Flexibility 8. Flexibility

From trends in BYOD (bring your own device) to cloud-based technologies that easily allow remote work, top accountants will look for opportunities that emphasize autonomy and results-based performance. Create individual marketing and sales plans that help accountants take charge of building their own book of business.

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9. Creativity 9. Creativity

Despite its negative connotation within tax and audit services, creativity in accounting is appealing to professionals who view their role as consultants rather than order takers. Share articles and stories about how your firm thinks out of the box to solve problems and allows its people to innovate. Include these stories in your newsletter or Web site resources section.

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10. Location, Location, Location 10. Location, Location, Location

Some firms may fare better with young professionals when their location includes great night life, younger demographics, good weather and culture. Experienced professionals want to know that the schools, transportation and housing are comparable to or better than what they have now. Write about these amenities when developing a careers brochure or Web page.

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