The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) recently released a report titled, Firm Culture and Its Impact on the Future of the Firm. The report shares the findings of a 2014 study of 1,000 Pennsylvania CPAs on career trends and what role firm culture has on attracting and retaining talent in the public accounting industry, as well as generational and gender breakdowns regarding values, career goals, motivators, and ideal benefits.

The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA)recently released a report titled, Firm Culture and Its Impact on the Future of the Firm. The report shares the findings of a 2014 study of 1,000 Pennsylvania CPAs on career trends and what role firm culture has on attracting and retaining talent in the public accounting industry, as well as generational and gender breakdowns regarding values, career goals, motivators, and ideal benefits.

“We conducted this research to help our members and their firms adjust and adapt as expectations change in the workplace,” stated Michael Colgan, PICPA’s CEO and executive director. “With the looming retirement of the baby boomers, it is critical that firms continue to attract and retain the best and the brightest to maintain the level of service expected in the marketplace.”

PICPA's results found little-to-no generational or gender divide on a number of issues. Most respondents indicated that they highly value standard benefits: compensation, vacation time, and health care. Regardless of age or gender, most surveyed also indicated that having strong leaders within a firm is important. Professional values and belief systems that were universally identified as qualities of a highly effective leader included honesty, integrity, and perceptive to future trends.

The generations, however, do sharply diverge when it comes to career goals and fringe benefits (potential incentives to recruit and retain talent.)

Those who are considered upper management or partners within a firm were most likely to respond that they planned on retiring with their current firm (70 percent). Younger staff members—those under 40—who indicated that becoming a partner at their current firm was important to them came in at 40 percent, while a strong subsection (20 percent of those under 40, 30 percent of those under 30) rejected the idea of working toward the partner track in public accounting. With potentially 1 in 5 senior-level employees planning to leave their current positions with a public accounting firm, the possibility of a staffing gap looms.

The vast majority (80 percent) of respondents under 40 said the ability to telecommute and receive overtime compensation was important to them. Illustrating a sharp divide in thinking among the generations, the majority of respondents 41 and older either said these benefits were only moderately valuable or not at all valuable to them. Across the board, respondents valued recognition for a job well-done and an open door leadership policy. 

For the full survey, head to PICPA's site here