Friday, January 24th, 2014

Keeping Your CPA Firm Competitive – Being More Generous With PTO

John SmithSometimes I am puzzled by CPA firms. I know, you are probably laughing out loud right now! After so many years working with CPA firms you would think I would have a complete understanding of what makes CPA leaders tick. I guess it could be described this way: I know how they think and what they think but sometimes it amazes me WHY they think the way they do.

Once again I will stress to CPAs – the Talent Wars are here again. Your firm becomes who you hire and who you retain. These people help form your culture and your brand in your marketplace.

I frequently hear CPA firm administrators and HR Directors talk about their various personnel policies. PTO is often a topic. What I am CURRENTLY hearing is that many firms are very frugal with their PTO. Here is where I ask WHY?

Maybe to justify, I need to give you real life experience. At the CPA firm where I worked for so many years, SIX years ago when I left we were offering starting salaries that are very much in line with what I am hearing TODAY – 2014.

Probably about 8 to 10 years ago our PTO policy was extremely generous – 2 weeks PTO to new college grads the day they walked in the door. Upon the arrival of May 1st (the beginning of our “vacation” year), all accounting staff with 0-2 years of service received 15 days. Staff with 3-5 years received 20 days and all staff with 6+ years received 25 days.

I am still hearing that new hires, in many firms, become eligible for  PTO (or vacation) after one year of service and maybe 10 years before they get 3 weeks and never for 5 weeks.

Why was our firm generous, why did we keep in-tune with market trends and attempt to hire the best talent?

Simple answer and one you should heed: Our competition was doing it!

  • "A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking."
  • Earl Wilson

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