Seventy-six percent of the 120 firms in attendance at the Forum for Women in Accounting, a three-day confab in its second year, have a strategic plan in place.
However, only about half the participants indicated that those plans are shared with everyone in the firm. "If you can show your strategic plan to recruits, you will retain them longer," said Gary Boomer (pictured) of Boomer Consulting in Manhattan, Kan. His associate, Sandra Wiley, added that the plan should be introduced to employees at orientation.
Using an interactive audience response system through a handheld "clicker," members of the firms represented at the conference were able to respond to a series of questions from Boomer. The answers revealed some characteristics of those attending the conference - a majority of whom come from the top 125 firms in the U.S. Twenty-seven percent of the attending firms earned between $11 million and $20 million in revenue, with the next highest-ranking split between $6 million to $10 million and $21 million to $50 million in revenue.
Forty-nine percent of audience members in the session were at the partner level, while 32 percent clocked in as managers. Sixty-three percent of attendees work between 2,081 and 2,500 hours, with 3 percent of the population working between 1,001 and 1,500 hours. Fifty-two percent of attendees described 2007 as "a good year," as opposed to "our best year ever," experiencing upwards of 20 percent in growth. Fifty-seven percent of the crowd indicated they anticipate the same level of growth in 2008.
Boomer suggested employee reviews be done every 90 days because "people make a lot more progress if they are held accountable." Forty-six percent of audience members, however, reported that they conducted employee reviews semi-annually.
Ninety-seven percent of firms represented at the session said they belonged to associations, and 59 percent pointed to retention and attraction of people as their biggest challenge. Forty-three percent of firms reported that their turnover rate last year was less than 10 percent, while 38 percent of attendees said it was between 10 and 20 percent.
Alternative career path offerings were divided among this session's audience members. Fifty-one percent revealed they didn't encourage alternative career paths, while 49 percent of firms did.
On a related subject, 64 percent said their firms didn't have part-time partners, but 75 percent have full-time human resources professionals who focus a majority of their time on compliance, retention and attraction.
Thirty percent of the audience agreed that the staffing shortage would ease over the next three years, while 47 percent disagreed with this assessment. Boomer predicted the shortage would get worse. "There will be more people leaving than coming," he said. "This is not just in the U.S., but all over the world."
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