Retaining employees has become a serious challenge for accounting firms and CPAs over the last few years. According to Accountants Daily, the average employee turnover rate for accountants is 13.4%. This number is higher than the average of 9.5% across almost all other industries.
The biggest reason behind the high turnover rate in the accounting and bookkeeping industry is that firms are always on the lookout for talent. Since the focus on retention is comparatively less, most CPAs and accounting firms find it hard to retain talent. That’s why retention of positive and motivated staff is paramount.
Employee retention strategies help accounting firms, CPAs, and even fintech startups boost productivity, promote higher levels of engagement, achieve positive work culture, increase revenue, and decrease transitions and employment gaps – all of which are critical for business growth and sustainability.
But the question is how exactly to retain top accounting talent. In this blog, Finsmart Accounting – an offshore accounting firm trusted by CPAs for outsourcing to India – will share useful employee retention strategies to boost employees’ job satisfaction and hold onto valued workers in 2023.
Are you ready to learn about them? Let’s go!
#1 Get serious about training and mentoring
A lot of accounting firms and CPAs say that their staff is as important as their clients but the bleak reality is that only a few walk the talk. Many talented employees leave an organization when they feel that there are limited opportunities for learning and career advancement.
Therefore, get serious about training and mentoring your employees. By this, we don’t mean showing how you did it but rather displaying what they can do. Adopt a university-style approach to employee training.
Enable and encourage the professional growth and development of your existing employees by giving feedback, sharing experience, and providing career support. These simple actions will increase employee satisfaction and talent retention.
#2 Be transparent
Transparency is important for long-lasting business relationships but it’s equally critical for modern accountants and bookkeepers. A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity among accounting staff. According to Paychex, nearly 90% of workers believe that it is appropriate to demand transparency regarding growth and opportunities.
Therefore, accounting firms and CPAs should show the staff how their work impacts the organization. Here are ideas you can work with:
- Let them know how exactly their career path appears to be in your company.
- Hold an Ask Me Anything session once a month to let employees share questions they wouldn’t normally have a chance to ask.
- Involve them in decision-making.
When your employees will feel they are being treated fairly and honestly, they’ll stick around and go the whole nine yards for your accounting firm. Simple yet effective employee retention tip. Isn’t it?
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#3 Give regular feedback
Ken Blanchard once said, “Feedback is the breakfast for champions”. We 100% agree with this! Feedback promotes professional growth among the accounting workforce. With timely feedback sessions, employees will learn what exactly they ought to work on for company and career goals. Feedback can boost your staff’s morale and imbue a greater sense of job satisfaction in your organization.
Most accounting firms and CPAs either conduct employee surveys once a year or make the feedback practice part of their annual performance reviews. Trust us, both ways aren’t adequate to keep existing talent engaged and happy. We suggest giving regular feedback instead. Not only will it allow you to help improve employee retention in your practice but also help your team of bookkeepers address issues before they turn into a problem.
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#4 Recognize employees
Just like most workers, bookkeepers also need recognition to stay motivated, inspired, and productive. A simple way to recognize your in-house accountants and staff is to send them a handwritten THANK YOU note or candid email. A simple yet effective employee retention tactic!
Thanking an employee publicly during a meeting can also do wonders. Using this talent retention strategy, you will motivate team members who haven’t yet been recognized for their work and contributions. If you have the budget, monetary rewards are great motivators. If you don’t have a big one, then, go for performance certificates or ‘star of the month awards!
#5 Establish a great communication
One of the most important employee retention strategies for accounting firms, CPAs, and startups to consider in 2023. All of us are familiar with the discrepancy between what is said and what is heard, whether it is between colleagues or employee-manager.
Don’t believe us? Let’s say you asked your employees to turn in accounting data for a client by Friday. It may seem like an example of good communication but in reality, your workers might think that they have to deliver the data by 5.00 PM when you actually need it by 10.00 AM on Friday. This mismatch of deadlines is caused by poor communication.
Poor communication between management and its employees leads to an unpredictable work environment, weak collaboration, professional conflicts, and also low morale. Establish great communication and write out project descriptions in detail. Check-in regularly with employees and ask how things are. If there are any workplace concerns, set aside time each week and address them properly.
#6 Training and development
Since we told you to recognize your employees and provide regular feedback on their performance, it also makes sense to support them with career growth. Make arrangements to support everyone interested in attending accounting conferences and virtual events. Assign a mentor to every new team member so that they become familiar with the company ethos and work processes easily. Put simply, we are asking you to invest some time and money in their training and development.
When you help your employees grow professionally and build leadership skills, their confidence at work will be bolstered. This confidence will then translate into better company performance and a low retention rate.
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#7 Flexible work arrangements
Even though most accounting firms and CPAs have re-opened offices after the pandemic, workers have seen the practicality of the work-from-home model. Completely doing away with WFH may irk some accounting professionals. Don’t believe us? According to a survey conducted by FlexJobs, 57% of employees prefer to leave their job if their company wouldn’t offer them a remote work option.
Offering remote work options can benefit CPAs and accounting companies that want to retain top talent. Don’t want to allow your employees to work from home on a permanent basis? No problem. Try a compressed workweek and flextime. These options will help lessen the pressure on your team and boost employee retention.
Employee retention for CPAs and accounting firms
Above are some useful employee retention strategies for accounting firms, CPAs, and finance startups to consider in 2023. Always remember that an unhappy employee with jump ship at the most convenient time without considering business needs. So, it pays to work on employee engagement and well-being.
The aforementioned strategies will help you retain finance and accounting talent, create a positive workplace culture, improve manager-employee relations, and avoid a high turnover rate.
Got any queries to ask? Send them to email@example.com and have them answered by our experts.
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Mrs. Dipali Phadke is the Chief Executive Officer of Finsmart Solutions & is the back bone of the company’s operations. A qualified Chartered Accountant with more than 12 years of experience in the field of Accounting, Taxation and Audit.