5 Top Tips to Retain Top Talent

Successful hiring managers in practice know how to keep their most talented accountants feeling challenged and valued.

And that’s part of the winning recipe for firms who retain top talent.

But it’s one of those flippant statements isn’t it? It’s easy to keep the best accountants loving their jobs at your firm – you just have to make sure they feel challenged and valued. But what does that really mean on a practical level in practice?

Well, of course we’re here to simplify best practice for accountancy firms so we hope you find our 5 top tips to retain top talent helpful.

1. Ensure that you treat your most talented accountants as individuals.

Every member of staff that you employ will bring unique skills and experience to the table and when you encouter an accountant who really brings a lot, you need to offer a similarly bespoke service as an employer to that accountant. So, though we absolutely understand that streamlined HR policies and procedures need to exist to ensure clear guidelines about your firm’s expectations and values as an employer, they need to be flexible enough to pivot slightly depending on the needs of your staff.

As an example, if your policy towards flexible working is completely rigid you won’t be able to retain the truly talented accountant who might need to work varied hours to accomodate a caring responsibility and that will be a loss to your practice and create additional headaches that you didn’t need. The same applies to your policies on learning and development and probably plenty of others – if you spot true talent make sure your firm has a pathway that can be adapted to nurture it into the future.

2. Ensure communication is first class.

There’s a fine line between overly inflating a talented member of staff’s ego and letting them know that they impress you and that you see a future for them in the top tiers of your firm. But it is really important to achieve the latter so make sure you’re taking the time to feedback to your talented accountants that the future of your practice has a very important place for them.

Don’t just think these thoughts, say them out loud to the accountant in question and do it regularly. The meeting where they hand in their letter of resignation is not the time to be telling them how talented you think they are – miss the boat at your peril!

3. Make sure the decision to leave is a really tough one – load up the scales with perks that outweigh the benefits of leaving. 

Imagine that a talented accountant is being tempted by an offer of employment from another firm. They may offer a good salary. But what are you offering your staff in addition to that? Your Employee Value Benefits package really matters so fill it up with as many additional perks of employment as your firm can sustain. Make your offer too good to leave.

4. Invest in the future of your firm.

Modern and talented accountants will want to work with modern and future-ready firms. Don’t underestimate the value that great staff will place on your firm’s attitude towards technology and change. They will want to see that you’re decisive and unafraid of evolving to keep up with the needs of modern clients. A firm that stays stuck in the mud and doesn’t proactively manage problems or staff issues will be one that loses committed accountants who will be future leaders.

5. Linked in to number 4 – don’t stand for dead wood. 

One of the most common causes of talented accountants jumping ship is that they are frustrated by their existing employers’ attitide towards staff that are not as skilled, future-ready or who have become bogged down or cynical about the job. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you have the energy and know-how to solve a problem or make a service better, but that you’re efforts are limited by the lack of faith or energy of those around you.

So, even if you’re offering the talented amongst your team plenty of space, support and communication to progress, if you fail to replace the accountants who are offering the exact opposite you’ll retain the ones you don’t want and lose the ones you want to keep!

‘At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we know that performance management and replacing staff who are not buying in to your firm’s values is hard. And that’s why we’re always on hand to offer a listening ear to hiring managers who don’t know how to go about addressing poor performance or attitude in their firms. We’ve supported many clients through these stages and ultimately helped them to find recruitment solutions to back fill spaces either on a permanent basis or an interim basis whilst the HR issues you need to manage are dealt with responsibly.’

Garry Howling, MD

We really hope that by applying our top 5 tips to the way you practice accountancy and employ talented accountants you’ll notice an increase in the retention of your most valued team members.

Reach out to us if you’d like to chat about the bespoke concerns and needs of your practice. We’d be delighted to offer you a listening ear and help you to brainstorm the options that are available to you.


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