On Monday, Jeff Phillips, CEO of accounting careers website Accountingfly, addressed GroPro 2014 on how to best handle modern-day recruiting for the accounting profession. His presentation, entitled "Recruit Like the Big Four," emphasized a larger focus on investing in technology and retaining talent in the hiring of top candidates.

Phillips pointed out that the race for talent is tightening, as more partners retire and more regulations constrict the profession. However, "high performers" in the profession still exist and are always looking for new opportunities. “One of the places they can start looking,” he said, “is at your firm.”

Phillips noted that “high performers” want to work in a "next generation" firm, and that investing in a myriad of aspects will lock in the next generation of professionals. These factors include work/life flexibility, team cohesion, collaboration, a tech-forward firm, and attractive office space.

And while demand for accounting students is at an all-time high, Phillips said, with Big 4 firms hiring over 1/3 of all accounting undergrads per year, there is still a large rate of turnover amongst the elite (namely, 70% across a 3-year span). This, Phillips stated, implies that what worked in the past is already obsolete in the modern age, and that new strategies must be implemented.

He shared three strategies for employers to improve hiring results immediately:

  • Focus on talent, not geography.
  • Focus on building candidate networks.
  • Keep recruiting your best talent.

Phillips also reiterated that there's never been a better time to recruit via technology, pointing to networking sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and his own site as a way of bypassing recruiters and directly seeking candidates that represent a perfect fit for an employer.
Should an employer reach out to a candidate online, Phillips stated that every communication must answer the following questions:

  • Why work in our size firm?
  • What does our firm stand for?
  • Why should you trust your career to our firm?
  • What will your future look like if you’re effective?
  • What is our culture like?

For more information on Accountingfly, head to their website here.