Firms plan to poach rivals to boost growth

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Nick Huber
Freelance journalist
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Around one in five accounting firms are considering poaching staff and three quarters plan to increase fees, according to a Bloomsbury Professional survey.

The number of firms contemplating poaching senior staff from rivals has more than doubled in the last year as the economy grows. 

Around 22% of 40 accounting firms surveyed said they were thinking about poaching staff, compared to 8% a year earlier.

Martin Casimir, managing director of Bloomsbury, a publisher of tax and accounting information, said: “Previously, firms were cautious about poaching senior employees from rivals as this would result in higher salaries and costs, without any certainty that they would win new business as a result.

“However, as the economy begins to recover, accountancy firms are on a more stable financial footing, and are determined to build up strength in order to be first in line for the increased amounts of advisory and corporate finance work they anticipate.”

Three quarters of firms are considering increasing hourly rates and project fees, up slightly from 73% in 2012.

The possibility of more redundancies in the accountancy profession seems to be receding with 83% of firms saying that they were unlikely to cut jobs to boost profitability.


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03rd Jun 2014 11:01

The new bit here is 'planning' to poach

As far back as I can recall firms have been keen to poach experienced staff whom someone else has invested in training. This being seen as a cheaper solution than training staff in house.  

I have long believed that many of the best graduates will tend to want to train with the larger firms but will then be willing to move once qualified. It's bound to be more cost effective for smaller firms to reserve their resources to focus only on attracting and retaining that highest level post-qualification talent.

Sadly one of the costs that many firms have cut back on in recent years has been training and development. This means there is a shortage of good quality internal candidates for senior roles. The perceived solution is to 'plan' to make lateral hires.  'Hope' may be a better word as there are two common outcomes to such plans:

1 - The new recruits can interview well but the reasons they did not progress in their previous firm later become apparent;

2 - No one of sufficient calibre is willing to move to the firm that hopes to secure quality lateral hires. 

I wrote a blog post a few years ago that contains advice on a related issue that remains as true today:

Keen to recruit your first tax partner? 8 key questions




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