CPA firms and many other companies are seeking talented workers. The competition is especially fierce among accounting firms.
I noticed an Associated Press story in my Sunday newspaper that headlined: Employers spice up benefits, offer help with pets, debt. I have heard from several firms that they have taken a serious look at their benefits in an effort to stay competitive. It seems that Millennials want more choice and customization while Baby Boomers want more certainty (good health and dental coverage).
Many employers are offering programs that monitor for identity theft, help with mortgage payments, assistance with repaying college loans and even unexpected veterinary bills. Many of these “extras” are offered and available but that doesn’t necessarily mean the firm foots the entire bill.
Here’s some information from SHRM:
Employee Benefits Have Exploded
SHRM now tracks 350 fringe benefits
20 years ago it was 60 and 10 years ago it was 219
Most increases have been in larger corporations
Smaller businesses struggle to keep up
Biggest gain was telecommuting – in 1996 it was offered by 20% and it has grown to 60%
Maybe it’s time to review your benefit package. I have found that many firms haven’t kept pace with maternity and paternity leave programs.
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
Not that many years ago, CPA firms never performed a background check before they hired an individual. I am pleased that most progressive firms now always do background checks as part of the hiring process.
Jason Quimby, Editor at BackgroundChecks.org sent me an interesting infographic to help you contemplate the disappointing fact that many people do actually falsify resumes.
If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.
There are some firms that just “get it. For several years now I have admired how Lumsden McCormick, in Buffalo, appreciates their people and goes that extra step in developing a culture of inclusiveness and career advancement.
Congratulations to two Lumsden McCormick newlyweds!
Pat & Amanda (Moses) Meyers and Robert & Jillian Torella were married on the same day – September 17!
It’s a little thing, but I bet it made these two couples feel special. Lumsden McCormick also always posts about people passing the CPA exam and other life events. Check out their Facebook page. Be sure to notice the Recruitment Open House post.
What’s your firm doing?
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Jim Collins
Everyone wants to work for a firm that “gets it.” If you can create that special culture within your CPA firm that really understands today’s current workforce, you will be a winner.
While millennials are the focus for most firms, it involves other team members, too. Experienced people will leave firms that are stuck in the past and move on to a high-profile firm with a vibrant culture.
LBMC, headquartered in Nashville, is a shining example.
Each summer (spring, fall, and winter, too), I encourage you to READ. Not just CPA stuff! Read fiction and non-fiction for enjoyment and inspiration.
I am currently reading Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones. Henson had a knack, skill, aptitude, whatever you want to call it for finding and hiring the right people. He also said, “The beauty of nature has been one of the great inspirations in my life.”
So, do three things this weekend – read, take a walk, and…. Lighten-up this weekend and enjoy The Swedish Chef making a banana split.
Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life, enjoy it.
You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you.
Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.
In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.
I work with and talk to hundreds of CPAs in public practice every year. Few, if any, started their firm this way. Few manage their firm this way now.
Sure, many firm leaders talk about “the bus” scenario and tell me “we are working on it.” In reality, inside many firms are sacred cows. People the firm is not willing to fire. Maybe fire is too harsh a word. Most people who are trouble-makers, dissenters, whiners, unwilling to change just simply need to be coached into a new position with another firm or company. It can be done gently and maybe even slowly, but don’t shy away from doing it if you want your firm to leap into the future.
Read this article, Good to Great, by Collins on his website if you haven’t read the book.
“Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Many firms use personality profile testing as part of their hiring process and also as a means to help current employees assess their own performance and identify a focus for future goal-setting activities.
The first time I took one of these profile tests it was a group activity for our entire firm (every person) after we acquired another firm. At the time our firm was much smaller. Combined, we had about 30 people. It was part of a half-day event so that everyone could get to know each other better. It was actually very helpful and a lot of fun. I really enjoyed learning more about myself!
We used the DISC profile and the results were presented at our group meeting by a trained DISC facilitator.
Of course, you have many to choose from and I have taken several types over the years…. Predictive Index, Meyers-Briggs, etc.
If you’re not familiar with the DISC, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. And even if you’ve taken a DISC assessment before, you may not have realized how powerful it can be in helping you reach your business goals.
D = Dominance
I = Influence
S = Steadiness
C = Compliance
Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
“Mentoring is easy and natural; it does not have to be just another dreaded task on your to-do list.” – Rita Keller
Thanks so much to Accounting Today and Sean McCabe for featuring many of my comments in the article, “Molding the Future of the Profession – Mentoring young staff should be a crucial part of the recruiting and retention toolkit of more accounting firms.”
Follow the link to read the entire article. And, thanks to Edi Osborne for all of her great comments in the article.
Here are some bullet point highlights:
Mentoring is just as important as salary and technology.
Mentoring requires an investment of time and money.
It is about attracting and strengthening future leaders for the profession.
Young people will buy into the vision of what it means to be a CPA and stay in the profession longer if they make a solid connection with someone who has already been down that road.
CPAs are great at teaching young people the technical skills but fail to impart knowledge about relationship-building and career-building skills.
Showing and not telling is vital to the mentor-mentee relationship.
Effective mentoring has become a strategic focus for the most progressive and successful firms.
“The future depends on what you do today.” – Gandhi
It’s a new world and if you are not keeping pace, your new hires will notice immediately.
It is also a digital world and online activities and resources are such an important part of your firm. Keep this in mind as you overhaul your orientation process. Orientation has evolved into onboarding and onboarding is a process that can last up to a year or more.
I believe that first impressions STILL make a difference in how you are perceived. I always stress this with students aiming to make accounting their career.
While a prospective employee strives to make a good first impression, the firm is also being viewed with a magnifying glass. Be aware of the first impression your firm is making with prospects. I still hear horror stories of new hires arriving on their first day and it seems like almost a surprise. Their cubicle is not ready, they have no computer, etc.
To move from orientation to onboarding, begin with automating all of the initial paperwork. Most of it can be completed online before the new hire even arrives at the office.
Next, review what a new hire experiences in their first year. How can you make it more enriching? How can you convince the new hire that their career development is a top priority? You are probably doing many of the necessary things to help them succeed but you have not formalized it and communicated it very well.
Young professionals want to know immediately what their career path will look like and what it takes to succeed at the firm.
Share the steps involved for initial training.
Explain the formal CPE they will receive during the first year.
Communicate how the Guide, Coach, Mentor, and Sponsor Program works and what it means to them during the first year.
Provide an explanation of all of the firm’s services.
Explain how they will rotate through working in many types of service areas.
Explain how they will rotate working with a variety of people – partners and managers.
Provide them job descriptions for all levels of staff at the firm.
This is just a beginning list. Determine all of the activities, assignments, and learning experiences that a new hire will experience at your firm. Now is the time to rebrand from orientation to onboarding.
Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.
Maybe you have noticed, recruiting and retaining efforts have become even more intense and complicated.
No longer are recruiting and retaining enough to guarantee that talented professionals will want to come to your firm and remain there to build their professional career.
Tom Hood, President & CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs, tells us that in this fast changing world we have moved from an environment of recruit and retain to a strategy of attract and develop.
So, keep this in mind: Recruit and Retain no longer applies, it is now Attract and Develop.
For years, I have been urging you to make your firm a talent magnet. My long-standing advice has evolved from “you should” make your firm a magnet for talent to “you must” make your firm a magnet for talent. Develop your strategy now to create an “I want to work there!” kind of firm.