Is your firm able to hire and retain talented remote accountants?
Finding the best accountants for your firm can be challenging, especially because the available talent pool for accounting is usually incredibly small. Most accountants are employed, but that doesn’t mean finding the right candidates for your firm is an impossible task.
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Gusto, along with our partners at CPA Academy, presented an informative webinar about hiring and managing remote employees titled “The Top 5 Critical Things to Manage a Remote and Global Workforce.”
In addition to this webinar article, Part Three, you can also check out Part One and Part Two, which are about managing and communicating with your remote staff. You can also watch the full webinar here.
The webinar featured Nicholas Sinclair, the founder of The Outsourced Accountant (TOA) Global. TOA helps accounting firms find the best remote candidates to expand their businesses. Nicholas’ experience finding quality remote candidates made him an exceptionally knowledgeable presenter for the webinar.
In this article, you’ll learn all about why now is the best time to hire remote accountants, how to attract and retain quality hires, and what your firm can do to add more value to your employees’ careers.
Now is the time to hire remote accountants
The accounting profession ordinarily has an incredibly low unemployment rate, making it difficult for firms to find quality candidates. Nicholas Sinclair observed that there are currently many more accountants seeking employment than usual:
“I think now is some of the best times … [to] attract the best people. … Six months ago … we were getting 50 applicants [for accounting jobs]. [Now] we got over 280 applicants and some extremely highly skilled people.”– Nicholas Sinclair
More qualified accountants seek employment during economic recessions because major accounting firms downsize during economic downturns:
“If we look back in history, … what has happened in all the major downturns? … The big four [accounting firms] are going to cut staff.”– Nicholas Sinclair
Because major accounting firms downsize accountants during times of economic difficulty, the accounting talent pool increases:
“The positive that I saw in that … is [it] gives a significant talent pool to accounting firms that typically couldn’t get access to that talent pool because that talent pool wanted to work at one of the larger firms.”– Nicholas Sinclair
Smaller accounting firms gain access to more accountants during economic crises. Numerous accountants began their careers wanting to work at major firms, but were then fired during a recession. The accountants then join the talent pool and become available for smaller firms. Now is a critical moment to hire quality accountants because there are more available than there will be in the future:
“There [are] really strong people in the market that want a job. … And you’re able to get them and ingrain them into your culture. And you will keep them long-term. … Globally, we’ve been able to retain our workforce during difficult times. And in fact, we’ve been able to grow our workforce significantly.”– Nicholas Sinclair
The low unemployment rate for accountants makes hiring quality candidates incredibly difficult, so hiring during economic recessions will increase your likelihood of finding the best accountants for your firm.
Attracting and retaining remote employees
When your firm is looking to hire remote accountants, it’s critical that you’re able to draw in quality candidates and retain them long-term. Your firm needs to be able to serve its accountants and help them become better people:
“People are your biggest asset. What are you doing … to attract, manage, and then retain the best people and know that you’re making them better people? … What attracts someone to work for your business? … And it comes back to, … ‘What does your business do to serve your team members?'”– Nicholas Sinclair
Your firm is only as good as the accountants you hire, so you need to focus on serving the needs of your employees. Nicholas noted that many of your accountants will more than likely leave your firm before retirement, but you should still help them become better accountants and better people:
“I know that for some of our team members, their journey with us may only be a couple of years. … My mantra has always been, ‘How do I ensure that when someone leaves our business, that they’re leaving a better person?’ Not just a better technician or professional at what they do but a better person overall.”– Nicholas Sinclair
One important way that you can retain employees is by helping them with their career development and by providing them with professional opportunities they can’t get from other accounting firms:
“How do you help fast-track their career? How do you provide them [with] opportunities that [they] are not getting at [their] current business?”– Nicholas Sinclair
You’ll be able to draw in better quality candidates if you can offer accountants desirable opportunities that will help advance their careers. When you focus on serving your accountants’ needs, you’ll make your firm more appealing to job seekers, and you’ll increase your likelihood of retaining employees long-term.
Adding value to your employees’ careers
Offering your accountants opportunities for developing their professional skill sets and advancing their careers will increase your likelihood of retaining their employment long term. Nicholas’ company, The Outsourced Accountant (TOA), works with many accounting firms that are developing their employees’ careers by offering them more valuable work experiences:
“[Accountants] don’t have to do the work that they shouldn’t be doing, which is the low-value work. They come in, [and] they learn [how to] manage the team. … They learn it so that they understand it technically, and then they move into the next role. So a typical firm, instead of taking seven years to get to a manager [position], they may get there in two or three years. It fast-tracks that person.”– Nicholas Sinclair
Many of TOA’s accounting firm clients focus on supplying their accountants with management experience, which fast-tracks their careers. Talented accountants will be more likely to join your firm and stay long-term if you offer a faster path to a management position. If you’re unable to provide valuable work experiences to your new accountants, they’ll be less inclined to stay at your firm. Nicholas observed that everyone working at your firm should be gaining beneficial work experience that advances their careers:
“The big question that I’ll ask you is, ‘Is every single person within your business doing the right work that’s adding value at their level?'”– Nicholas Sinclair
If your accountants are stuck doing busywork or menial tasks, they’ll have difficulty advancing professionally, and they won’t have as much time to address your clients’ needs:
“Partners, owners, [and] directors of businesses should not be sitting in front of their computer screens responding to emails. If that is where you’re spending six hours plus of your time, you need to look at the effectiveness of what you’re doing to serve your clients.”– Nicholas Sinclair
Your firm needs to focus more on advising and serving your clients’ needs rather than busywork. Nicholas noted that a major benefit that many of his accounting firm clients are experiencing experienced is an increase in the amount of time they have consulting with clients:
“The biggest benefit that our [accounting] clients have is that they’ve actually been able to focus on serving their clients rather than having to worry about the day-to-day work, … which has ensured that … [they] had the ability to serve their clients as much as they need[ed] to. … [They] counsel and have the conversations on the phone with their clients.”– Nicholas Sinclair
A great way that you can provide valuable work experiences to your accountants is by having them advise clients. You’ll both benefit your accountants’ careers, and you’ll also offer your clients more valuable accounting services.
Learn more about hiring the best remote talent
You need to attract valuable hires by offering useful work experiences and ways to fast-track accountants’ careers. A critical way to add more value to your accountants’ work experiences is to have them advise your clients.
One great way you can start offering your clients more value and fast-track your accountants’ careers is by joining Gusto’s partner program. When you join the program, you immediately gain access to our People Advisory Certification Program, which trains accountants in various people-based advising services, like HR, payroll, and benefits, that you can begin offering to your clients. Gusto’s partner program also features helpful workflow automation tools so that your firm can reduce its busy work and focus on serving your clients’ needs. Gusto’s partner program will enable your accountants to have more time to consult with clients and gain invaluable work experiences. If you’re ready to join our partner program, click here.