The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants released a new report on Tuesday, titled Generation Next: Managing Talent in Small and Medium Sized Practices.

The report represents a follow-up to the Association's 2016 "Generation Next" global survey, which polled approximately 19,000 members and students, ages 16 to 39 years old, on the career aspirations of young finance professionals. Managing Talent in Small and Medium Sized Practices polled almost 1,300 respondents from that global study, who are currently working for small or medium-sized accounting firms.

Small and midsized practices (SMPs) have notably faced challenges in recruiting and retention of talent in recent years, competing against large firms with easier access to more future-forward trends. The ACCA's report, though, found encouragement in SMPs' young personnel.

"Our research on young finance professionals globally suggests that this is a generation with ambitions for fast progression and rapid career development," stated Warner Johnston, head of the ACCA USA. "These traits place new pressures on SMPs to rethink how they attract, develop and retain young talent."

"Encouragingly, this research shows that the new generation of young finance and accountancy professionals entering the world of SMPs is well-equipped to deal with the changes being driven by globalization and technology," Johnston added.

Major figures found in the report include:

  • 31 percent of "Generation Next" at SMPs would prefer to move to their next role in one year, 64 percent in two years.
  • 86 percent find job security with a potential employer important. 83 percent prioritize work-life balance and 71 percent are attracted by flexible work arrangements.
  • 93 percent of those polled find continued learning and skill development to be important in seeking an employer. However, 41 percent reported that their employer does not offer enough roles for career progression, while 40 percent did report opportunities to advance their professional goals.
  • 81 percent want to eventually start their own company, with 12 percent planning to do so as their next career move.
  • 80 percent believe that technology will bring higher value to their work, with only half believing technology will replace entry-level positions.

For the full report, head to the ACCA's site here.

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