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Recruitment tips for accountants in 2024

29th Jan 2024
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Bright was created in 2021 when Thesaurus Software Ltd. and Relate Software Ltd. decided to join...
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A robust recruitment and retention strategy is integral to a firm’s sustainable growth, and it’s also critical for accountants thinking about succession planning or wanting to move away from the day-to-day work to focus on business strategy. 

But most of the firms we work with – regardless of shape or size – have one thing in common: they struggle to hire and keep the right people.  

So, what can you do this year to overcome the recruitment challenge? 

Look at yourself first 

If you’re struggling to recruit or retain the right people, look at your business through a candidate or recruiter’s eyes. What does your employee value proposition look like? Do you even have one?  

Employer brand plays a big part in attracting the best talent, and it goes beyond what you pay people. It’s the mix of values, policies, and ethics your firm represents, and what potential recruits will weigh up when exploring their options. Think about what you’re offering holistically: what does the entire package look like for your team?  

This might include things like flexible working, competitive holiday allowance, private healthcare, or a bonus scheme, but it’s ultimately about the experience, type of clients, and opportunities people can expect when working with you.  

Ask your existing team for feedback 

Spending time and money hiring the right people, only to lose them a short while later, is inefficient, creates frustrating capacity issues, and can damage morale. When you’ve got a talented team, you want to keep hold of them.  

That’s why retention is even more important than recruitment: and the best way to tackle staff churn is to ask your team for open and honest feedback.  

Be transparent about wanting things to improve and consider which channels will get the best response. You could send out a whole staff survey, book focus groups, or ask people directly for suggestions. The most important thing is that you listen to the answers – even if they’re tough to hear – and show that you’re willing to act. 

Consider short-term fixes 

When you’re facing resource problems, finding time to evaluate your employer value proposition is challenging. So, consider what short-term fixes could buy some breathing space.  

Offshoring or outsourcing can be good options, but you’ll need employ them in the right way.  

Outsourcing – where you contract work to a specialist third party – can work well for isolated projects or specific services, like payroll or bookkeeping. Offshoring, with contractors based overseas, can help lower costs or boost flexibility, and works well if you’ve got high volume, low effort work that needs handling.  

The risks – like loss of control or a contrasting approach – mean you’ll need to apply this strategy carefully. It probably won’t be right for your key client accounts but could be appropriate for those you only hear from once a year, for example.  

Invest in training 

One of the best ways to close a skills gap is to invest in training and promote from within. Hiring with progression in mind and dedicating time and effort to developing people isn’t a quick fix, but it’s a great way to build loyalty, raise morale, and increase retention.  

Hiring junior staff might feel daunting, but it’s a long-term investment. By coaching your team from the ground up, they’ll learn how to apply their skills in a way that works for you – from processes to customer service – shaping a consistent culture that benefits both your firm and your clients.  

Remember, a positive attitude, willingness to learn, and ability to adapt can be more valuable long-term than years’ of specific experience.  

Lean on tech to make work meaningful  

Doing meaningful work is hugely motivating and correlates directly with job satisfaction – and leaning on tech is a good way to facilitate this.  

Ambitious new recruits won’t find the prospect of repetitive, menial tasks attractive, so it’s worth assessing where you can automate. Letting tech handle repeatable tasks means your team are free to focus on more creative or impactful work, as well as bringing consistency and efficiency to processes.  

Employees from other firms will likely have experienced a tech-led culture elsewhere – and won’t want to go back. If you don’t have a tech stack that you’re happy with, or aren’t sure where to start, empowering experienced people to introduce new ways of working can drive innovation.  

How Bright can help 

We’re big believers in using tech to solve your firm’s problems: whether that’s recruitment, inefficiency, or compliance. Our BrightPay solution makes managing payroll quick and easy, BrightManager helps with practice management and onboarding, and BrightTax is your tax and compliance software – all in the cloud. Get in touch to find out more.  

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