LISTEN: Being ‘creative’ to retain and recruit top talent

LISTEN: Being ‘creative’ to retain and recruit top talent

The latest episode of the Lightbulb Moments podcast series considers how accountancy practices are solving talent shortages and where technology can be applied to streamline processes

Accountancy firms need to think creatively about how they attract top talent given the wage-price inflation pressures, Accountancy Age’s latest Lightbulb Moment podcast reveals.

Like many industries, the accountancy sector is dealing with a competitive talent market at the moment, exacerbated by rising wages.

In the three months to November 2022, average weekly earnings for both total and regular pay in the United Kingdom grew by 6.4%, when compared with the same period in 2021.

“We are finding it incredibly competitive,” explains Jack Moore, partner at East-Midland-based firm Page Kirk. “The wages that accountants can command right now compared with 12-18 months ago is far higher than it was.”

Moore, who was one of Accountancy Age’s 35 under 35 for 2022, urges practices to think about how they can differentiate themselves from the rest of the market as they seek to fill vacancies.

“We as a firm are conscious, we need to think of creative ways of attracting and retaining good people, whether that extends to benefits that other firms don’t offer,” Moore says.

“It’s our task now to think of ways to differentiate ourselves.”

Des O’Neill, managing director at Omnipro, says firms which have a strong brand and positive business culture will find it easier than their competitors to differentiate themselves within the UK accountancy market.

Omnipro, which has developed a series of products and services to enable accountants to streamline their processes and focus on the work that is most important to the growth of their practice, is currently assisting accountants in hiring the right people.

“We have developed a process with our member firms which we call Who Hunting, which is basically marketing to attract and retain talent,” O’Neill explains.

“It is about having a ‘red velvet robe policy’ – what is the minimum standard of people we want to work with?”

Both Moore and O’Neill noted practices could no longer rely on existing recruitment tactics – the days of putting an advert up online are long gone.

Lightbulb Moments is produced in partnership with Bright. Bright creates software for tax, compliance, practice management and payroll. They are on a mission to make a happy and efficient working life a reality for accountants and businesses through reliable software and amazing support.

The latest podcast discussion also touched upon whether digitalisation will be a catalyst for retaining talent, and why it is important to focus on the skills of the current accountant rather than focus on the ‘future accountant’.

Index:

00:00 Introduction

01:00 Sought after skill sets

04:15 A change in mindset

06:25 Outsourcing – who not how?

08:48 Replacing good talent

12:20 Creating a positive business culture

17:15 Will digitalisation be a catalyst

23:40 Concluding remarks

If you’d like to submit a question to our panellists for our final podcast in the Lightbulb Moment series, please send it to [email protected]

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