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What Drives Employee Retention in Accountancy?

July 6, 2020

Did you know that the average employee turnover rate for accountants is 13.4%, compared to just 9.5% across all other industries?

The highly-competitive and dynamic nature of accounting means it can be difficult for organisations to hold on to top talent and maintain a competitive edge over rivals. Whether you’re an established firm looking to win the loyalty of up-and-coming talent or a small firm requiring experienced partners, building a company culture that attracts highly-skilled professionals can be the difference between success and failure.

Join us as we explore what steps your organisation can take to boost employee retention and build a dedicated team who can drive your accountancy business into the future.

Why is Employee Retention So Important in Accountancy?

With unemployment in the accountancy sector hitting a record low of 1.4% in the final quarter of 2019, qualified accountants are in high demand. Holding onto your best employees is crucial to avoid them looking elsewhere for a better option.

Let’s take a closer look at why maintaining a consistent workforce is particularly important in the accountancy sector.

Improve Audit Quality

Retaining employees is a key component of delivering consistent and systematic audits to clients. If different employees are constantly jumping on and off audit projects, they will struggle to maintain a consistent approach.

Every client presents a unique set of challenges that must be understood inside-out by the auditor. Retaining talent allows your firm to build binding client relationships as your team members have the opportunity to develop a deep-rooted understanding of each client.

Avoid Errors

Maintaining a consistent workforce is a sure-fire way to reduce the margin for error across your organisation. Every accountancy firm will require new recruits to undergo a steep learning curve to get up to speed with internal systems and client protocols.

While today’s workforce is much more adept to rapid change than previous generations, the process of re-training dramatically increases the likelihood of both internal and client-facing errors. It’s important to build a loyal workforce who are comfortable with how things work and know exactly what steps to take to diffuse difficult situations.

Provide a High-Quality Service to Clients

One of the biggest challenges for accountancy firms is striking a balance between low employee turnover rates and attracting top talent. While it might be possible to boost retention by hiring sub-par personnel, all accountancy firms should strive to attract the best talent who can deliver a premium service to clients.

Naturally, high-performing and highly-qualified accountants will be more likely to look further afield to find the best next step to accelerate their career. Employers must recognise this trend and do everything they can to attract these individuals and boost company-wide performance.

What Drives Employee Retention?

Here at INAA, we’ve identified three core employee retention strategies to help your organisation build a cohesive team of professionals that will stick around for the long haul.

Reward Success

If your people are working around the clock to help your organisation grow, it’s important to give back and provide words of positive affirmation to acknowledge their role in your success.

People respond positively to those who show appreciation and go out of their way to reward them for their efforts. Whether it’s offering bonus checks for special achievements or something as simple as hosting team drinks to celebrate a recent win, rewarding success is key to retain top talent.

Equip Employees With the Right Tools

A common reason for high employee turnover in accountancy firms is a failure to provide team members with the resources they need to carry out their role. As a new cohort of tech-savvy professionals works its way up the career ladder, investing in the appropriate tools is vital to create an engaging workplace.

Many recently-qualified professionals will look for organisations that can facilitate their desire to work with the latest accounting systems and build experience with professional-grade software packages. Failure to equip employees with the right tools for the job could force them to look elsewhere.

Nurture Your People

Possibly the most important employee retention strategy is to create a supportive company culture that promotes individual growth and career progression.

Nobody wants to feel like they’re stuck in a dead-end job. Providing learning opportunities through training courses and mentorship programmes is an effective way to secure employee loyalties and promote internal progression within your company.

The best employers will take the time to understand the career goals of each team member and map out a clear road map to help them realise their ambitions. Nurturing talent and facilitating a safe space to grow is a mutually beneficial way of both retaining highly-skilled professionals and giving back to your people.

Join the Accountancy Firms of Tomorrow With INAA

INAA was created around a shared vision to make global business personal and take personal business global.

We believe in connecting accounting firms who share a steadfast commitment to nurturing talented professionals and fostering forward-thinking company cultures to shape the future of accountancy.

Register today to join our international network.