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Mastering Talent: Top Strategies for Recruitment and Retention in Accounting

Finding and retaining talent in accounting firms is increasingly challenging. To stay competitive, leaders must adapt to best practices and market trends. 


Here are eleven essential strategies: 


1. Highlight the Positive 

Accountants should stop sharing war stories with potential recruits. While veterans take pride in surviving tax seasons and passing the CPA exam, these tales don't appeal to high school and college students or interns. This is especially important as firms engage younger potential accountants. 


2. Diversify Your Talent Pool 

Recruit beyond traditional accounting students. Consider candidates with skills in client relations, project management, or industry expertise. Utilize offshoring and outsourcing where applicable. 


3. Make Recruitment a Team Effort 

Everyone should play a role in recruiting. Partners can attend job fairs, marketing teams can promote the firm, and social media should target young job seekers. Offer referral bonuses to encourage participation. 


4. Stay Ahead of the Curve 

Interview candidates even without specific openings to be prepared for future needs. This proactive approach ensures a pipeline of top talent. 


5. Discover Your ‘Wow’ Factor 

Identify unique benefits that set your firm apart, such as flexible career paths, no overtime, or seasonal work arrangements. 


6. Embrace Flexibility 

Offer hybrid work environments to appeal to Gen Z and millennials who value flexibility and choice in their work settings. 


7. Highlight Meaningful Work 

Showcase opportunities to make a difference, such as helping clients achieve goals, working with nonprofits, and supporting environmental, social and governance initiatives. 


8. Essential Benefits and Retention Tools 

Provide competitive salaries, work-life balance policies, wellness programs, free food during busy seasons, and social opportunities for all staff, including remote employees. 


9. Innovate to Stand Out 

Stay ahead by offering unique benefits like expanded parental leave, daily reading periods, pet insurance, and sabbaticals for long-term staff. 


10. Invest in Career Development 

Support employees' career paths with mentorship, training, and personalized development plans, even if eventually it leads them away from your firm. 


11. Prioritize Regular Communication 

Maintain open communication through blogs, small group meetings, "stay" interviews, town hall meetings, and regular surveys. Act on feedback to foster a supportive environment. 


It’s clear the tide has turned in hiring accountants; the power is equally in the hands of the candidates. They are evaluating potential employers and are likely to receive multiple offers. To stand out, it's crucial to not only implement the strategies mentioned but also to effectively communicate them to candidates. Showcase your firm's strengths and make it clear why they should choose to work with you. 

A great starting point for determining which strategies will work best for your firm is to ask your existing team what matters most to them. This approach not only aids in recruiting new employees but also helps retain your current staff by addressing their needs and preferences. 


Adapted from the article: 

By: Juliette Gaudemer and Daniel Hood 


Want to see if Accountests will work for your firm? Click on the button for a FREE trial test - use it on a candidate or get one of your staff to give it a go and see what they think.  
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Donna Roughan  |  With 22 years of expertise in accounting and business advisory, Donna has held pivotal roles, notably as a Director at PwC, and has executive experience in both finance and operations.

Accountests  |  Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical skills, ability and personality tests designed by and for accountants and bookkeepers. 
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