Accountancy recruitment: retaining and attracting talent with culture statements

Culture can sometimes be one of those words used by many but mean something different to each business and employee. 

What is ‘culture’, and what part does it play in attracting and retaining team members as part of an employee value proposition? 

Accountancy recruitment: what is organisational culture?

Organisational culture is how an accountancy firm’s values translate into the day-to-day beliefs and behaviours of everyone in the organisation.

Culture is an attitude that the business wants to encourage and is often sought at interview stage.

Historically, organisational culture would be decided by looking at models from authors such as Johnson et al., where a firm could look at the benefits of a ‘financial control’ or ‘service excellence’ cultural model, as explored by the ACCA in their whitepaper.

Like this paper from the Harvard business review, modern discussion centres around models that discuss the importance of employing cultural misfits to introduce different ideas that might push a business in a new and exciting direction or allow for cultural adaptability.

Organisational culture is now an evolving concept that moves towards being inclusive rather than exclusive.

This is undoubtedly true of accountancy job adverts, which often seek accountants that can leverage both technical and strategic-thinking skills to the benefit of the firm and their clients.

Accountancy recruitment: how does culture fit into the EVP?

Along with addressing culture, the employee value proposition (EVP) sets out how a business recognises, rewards, and supports team members.

The employee value proposition has long been used by large organisations to attract and retain the best talent in accountancy, and as the Public Practice Recruitment EVP survey showed, has increased in importance more recently. 

Accountants are now placing the values of an organisation over salary as they seek a work-life balance and look for supportive employers — and culture is central to the EVP.

Accountancy recruitment: assess the current culture

If you’re looking to assess the current culture within your accountancy firm, it’s best to send an anonymous survey to your team before you create a new cultural statement. 

Some questions you might consider are: 

What is the culture of this firm in your own words?

Why is this firm different to others you’ve worked in?

What are the characteristics you look for in team members?

Do you think the culture of the firm needs to change? If so, how and why?

Do you see culture as a key factor of your happiness at this firm?

Do you think everyone is working towards the same objectives in the firm?

Accountancy recruitment: create new culture statements

Once you have gained the opinions of the team, you’ll need to ask your senior management team some questions in order to develop a new one: 

What does the firm want to achieve with a new cultural statement? Consider attracting/retaining the right people, reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity, growing the firm’s strategic thinkers with collaboration, achieving customer service excellence, becoming more supportive and inclusive, and taking the firm in a new direction.

Are there any barriers to a new culture? Consider whether current team members fit this culture and how you can help them to adapt with courses.

How do you want the firm to be perceived externally?

What are other firms doing? Is there anything you like/dislike about their culture?

Can the firm deliver this culture in reality?

Accountancy recruitment: embed culture from the top, share, and encourage

Writing a culture statement in your firm’s employee value proposition requires five elements for success: 

  1. Embed the culture in senior management to set an example.
  2. Share the new cultural statement internally.
  3. Embed the culture in employee reviews.
  4. Encourage cultural ideals with events, development courses, and success stories.
  5. Include the cultural statement on a dedicated career section on the website and highlight the culture on all job advertisements.

For the cultural statement to start achieving its objectives, it needs to be carefully considered and embedded at every touchpoint within the accountancy firm. 

Found this interesting? Why not read the accountancy firm’s guide to employee value propositions to find out how to attract and retain talent.

Are you recruiting for an accountancy position?

If you are looking to recruit for your accountancy practice, Public Practice Recruitment Ltd can help. 

Exclusively developed for the accountancy industry, our professional accountancy recruitment team will seek the highest calibre of candidate for your role, so you’ll be confident they will actively contribute to the success of your accountancy firm.

Call Public Practice Recruitment Ltd today on 03335 777 787 to discover how we can support you. 



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