In the interest of full disclosure, I will state for the record that the human resources portion of my job has been, and remains, my least favorite.

I know there are those who enjoy filling out multi-page forms and applications, recruiting and interviewing, compiling employee reviews, and calculating salary increases, but yours truly is not among them.

If given a choice between the aforementioned tasks and boarding the New York-to-Atlanta flight, which averages roughly in single digits with regard to on time percentage, I’d unhesitatingly opt for the latter.
My personal distaste aside, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a critical function of my job, or any job for that matter.

We’re all facing a talent crunch and it remains a challenge to select and cultivate the best people possible.

I realize that’s not exactly news to the accounting profession, which has been mired in a dogfight against other fields to lure the best and the brightest.

Recently, financial staffing concern Robert Half International released a report that highlighted the challenges that the accounting profession will face in the years ahead with regard to bolstering and maintaining its talent pool.

Among the challenges cited by the personnel conglomerate were dealing with the attitudes of Generation Y workers, as well as helping develop global business skills in today’s “world is flat” economy and becoming familiar with the ever-changing financial reporting models.

The paper emphasized that employees — particularly the younger ones — need to receive more in the way of career guidance and get assigned projects that help break up the routine – and often tedious – auditing and compliance work.

Again, not exactly “Holy Spit” practice management theories, but I’m sure you’d be surprised at how many CPA firms either overlook these basic tenets, or continue to operate their recruiting and HR functions like those of past generations.

And while on the subject of recruiting, RHI recommended “widening the recruiting net” and beginning to look outside the parameters of the U.S for talent. Other potential strategies include raising referral bonuses, and working to boost the image of the accounting profession both in the media and on college campuses. To its credit, the profession has been working diligently on that front since the spate of accounting scandals at the turn of the century.

But CPA firms, or any businesses, can read all the hiring and retention reports they want. If you’re having chronic trouble with recruiting and retention, it should be clear that a change in strategy is called for.

Rest assured your competitors won’t be slow to react.

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