Finding the right, well-qualified candidate has always been a challenge. It is not easy to recruit great talent. With this in mind, it is important to note that it’s never been more pervasive in public accounting than now.
The reality is that people aren’t banging down the door to get into public accounting when they perceive a profession laden with long hours, burnout, and missing a sense of work/life balance. Perception is everything, and there are many career choices for those studying accounting in college. It’s up to us to change this perception, and in the meantime, we still need to attract the right people and skill sets to our firms.
In order for firms to thrive and move past the talent crisis in the immediate term, a shift in thinking is needed.
It’s all about perspective.
Here’s the good news. As firms move further into advisory work for clients, that work requires new and different skill sets. It’s a perfect opportunity to look outside where you normally would and expand your horizons.
Oftentimes, we as business owners, have horse blinders that reduce our field of vision and keep us focused on what we know (because it’s always been that way, right?). With horse blinders come missed opportunities. Instead we need to keep our head on a swivel and constantly be scanning. Candidates from outside of accounting have been trained differently and can think differently. A new perspective brings fresh ideas and energy, so take your blinders off, and let’s dig into the possibilities.
Diversity of skills and learning types.
Outside industries have different ways of building relationships and problem solving. Introducing new people to your firm will inspire ‘out of the box’ thinking, which is beneficial for all of us- especially in establishing a new methodology.
Having the same type of person in every role in your office means repetition of the same skills. Do you need someone with attention to detail? Yes. But you also need creativity and interpersonal skills. What if your administrative assistant also had a background in graphic design? Or if your billing manager or newest accountant had the talent and flair to design your office space to make it inviting and productive? Variety is the spice of life – even in your office space.
Intentionally creating a culture of learning, support, and empowerment gives you a joyous workplace where people want to be. Share your vision. Align your values. You’ll have a team that will go the extra mile. People vote with their feet. Do you want them to walk with you the extra mile- or out the door?
Last but not least- profitable business growth.
Building business in an advisory focused firm versus a traditional tax factory requires more skills than accounting and tax. It’s a fact that advisory engagements are more profitable, less seasonal, and provide value your clients want and need.
Searching for the ‘perfect’ candidate with specific experience treats the symptoms, not the cause. Shifting your mindset to finding the person with the right values and then teaching the needed skills means you’ll surround yourself with people who understand and believe in your mission and your vision. This, in turn, energizes your firm and drives productivity.
The benefits to hiring from outside your industry far outweigh the challenges.
If you’d like to see detailed steps on how to find someone outside the profession to fit a role in your firm, as well as the challenges to expect and how to overcome them, you can download the full eBook here.