Voices

Recruiting and retaining accountants in the current labor market

Over the past decade, technology has drastically changed the ways candidates find jobs and the ways employers find candidates. More recently, the tight labor market has also become a factor in the recruitment process and re-emphasized the importance of actively retaining current employees who are constantly bombarded with other opportunities. Knowing that a new wave of freshly graduated accountants will be making their way into the job market this summer, accounting firms should take the opportunity now to evaluate and improve the ways they recruit and retain top talent.

The current low rate of unemployment means that CPA job seekers have many options. It’s important that an organization’s open positions stand out from the pack, and to achieve that you must be ready to actively promote your firm. In the war for talent, firms have to work harder at selling themselves. Years ago, job hunting was a deliberate act, but today through social media and online job boards candidates and employees are always being presented with job opportunities. You must promote your firm externally to ensure your job listings are getting in front of the right candidates. And you should do some internal self-promotion to retain current employees against incoming offers.

In addition to new job-hunting channels, candidates and employees also have a new set of expectations for their employers. You are required by federal and state laws to provide some benefits — such as paid family leave, paid sick leave and health care to name a few — and you can choose whether to offer some other benefits, such as paid time off or retirement plans. Perks such as reduced rates for health club memberships or flexible scheduling are also important to potential new hires. It’s a good practice to continually monitor the perks today’s employees value so you can decide which of those make the most sense for your firm to offer current and potential personnel.

Remember that recruiting doesn’t stop when you’ve hired someone. Once a candidate has signed on the dotted line, you must still work to get them engaged with your company. Onboarding plays an important role in getting employees started on the right foot with your firm. Develop a 30-, 60- and 90-day onboarding plan for employees so that they can efficiently learn the ropes and become an integrated, productive, lasting member of your organization.

Today’s tight labor market does not make it easy for any industry to hire, but accounting firms have found themselves in an especially difficult position finding good candidates with the right background and credentials. With a higher ratio of jobs to qualified candidates, accounting firms must work harder than ever to recruit and retain employees and the daunting task can be overwhelming for HR and hiring managers. A staffing firm with strong expertise in the accounting and finance industry can help connect you with the right candidates for your open positions and help streamline the recruiting process for your company.