Talent: The top barrier for accounting firms
Accountants have a clear idea on how to deliver value to their clients, but they don’t always know how to extract the most value from their own team.
Kicking off a new series focussing on ‘talent’ in the accounting profession, Ian Vacin delves deeper into this top barrier for accounting firms.
Karbon recently spoke with thousands of accounting firms from all over the world to find out their biggest challenges. We wanted to know what specific barriers they believed they need to overcome to grow.
The responses were wide-ranging, but a handful of comments kept coming up over and over again, from firms of all locations, sizes and specialties. It became clear that one barrier halts the progress and growth of accounting firms more than any other - talent.
The vast majority of accountants surveyed said talent was something their firm struggled with constantly. Common comments included “poor quality staff”, “lack of enthusiasm”, “an inability to retain the good ones” or “existing staff focus too much on compliance only”. While the exact reasons often differed, they all related to the same underlying issue.
Although partners and managers have a clear idea on how to deliver value to their clients, they don’t always know how to extract the most value from their team.
A practice of outstanding staff is essential for any accounting practice to be ultimately successful. Your customer service, output, ability to adapt to change and potential for growth are all heavily dependent on the people in your team.
And never before have the skills of your team been so pivotal. With practices shifting further into advisory work and providing higher-value services to clients, all accountants are being asked to step up and provide a better service to clients.
Skills such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and time-management are more important than ever. In fact, 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills. Which means you need to rethink the way you recruit and train your team.
Because talent is such a big issue for accounting firms, I’ll be exploring this topic further in coming articles. From writing the perfect job ad, recruitment, training and retaining your best staff, the series will delve into all aspects of building the ultimate accounting team equipped to succeed today.
If your practice can overcome this number one practice barrier, you can unlock countless benefit - increased revenue, more clients, higher fees for your services, reduced costs, more efficient servicing, a better workplace culture, the list goes on.
Overall, conquering this is perhaps the most vital step towards unleashing your firm’s potential.
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With over 25 years of experience in technology and over 15 years of leadership experience in the accounting industry at Karbon, Xero, and Intuit, Ian is passionate about helping accounting professionals be as successful as possible in order to positively impact the small businesses that they serve.