The accounting profession is facing a period of upheaval as Baby Boomers retire and firms experience mergers and leadership shifts, according to a new report.

The report, from the professional services branding and marketing firm Hinge, examined the top challenges and priorities of accounting and finance firms. The Hinge Research Institute studied more than 530 professional services firms to identify their most commonly identified challenges and top-priority marketing initiatives.

For firms in the accounting/finance industry, the top two business challenges were attracting and developing new business, cited by 70.5 percent of respondents, followed by the challenge of finding and keeping good people, cited by 51.1 percent of respondents.

“Generating new business is a priority for firms across professional services industries,” said the report. “But the need to find and retain top talent is particularly pronounced in the accounting and finance marketplace—in fact, this challenge ranked more highly for accounting/finance firms than in any other industry. As the demographics of the industry shift, an extraordinary battle for talent is underway.”

To generate new business and attract new talent, accounting and finance firms are focusing on two top marketing initiatives: 50 percent plan to try to generate more referrals, while 42.5 percent plan to increase the visibility of firm experts. The report, from Hinge managing partner Lee W. Frederiksen, found that by creating and promoting educational content online that demonstrates the breadth of their expertise, accounting firms can get referrals based on their expertise and reputation as well as build visibility among potential recruits.

To access the report, click here.

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