If you’re looking to grow your accounting practice, you might face several challenges: how to win business and how to fulfil new clients’ needs with an existing team.
As business owners, we have to win business and build as we go, which often leaves us with a shortage of the skills we need to support our clients and grow the business — a classic chicken and egg situation.
Compounding this is that the accountancy industry has perhaps been the most transformative in recent years, with high-powered software crunching numbers, adding convenience, and providing valuable reporting.
Indeed, business development, advisory skills, software knowledge, and analytical skillsets are now becoming as crucial as accountancy qualifications.
Accounting recruitment: ways to scale up your firm
There only a few ways for an accountancy firm to scale up quickly:
- Employ a Partner that brings fee income and specific industry or skillset.
- Merge or acquire another firm.
- Recruit skilled accountants and work hard to attract new business.
If you’re looking to scale up slowly, though, it’s worth investing in non-accountancy related courses to future proof your firm.
Whether it’s succession planning for a person who is vital to your business and is about to retire or has a plan to part ways or upskilling a team to win more business and increase your capability — these softer skills have become vital for growth.
Accounting recruitment: the changing face of accountancy practice
The accountancy profession has always been the provision of trusted advice teamed with technical expertise when it comes to accounts and taxation.
However, the advisory side of accountancy is now more prominent thanks to advanced accountancy software, which provides efficiency and valuable insights.
Software has created opportunities for accountancy firms to become an integral part of a business — often having touchpoints with strategic and operational direction, acquisition, mergers, and much more.
With great power comes great responsibility, as they say, which means that insights require analysis, reporting, client consultation, and project management to effect change.
Add to this rallying a team to work together, ensure that any legislative or regulatory rules are met, and the skills to complete any work — and you get a list of skills that are not an accountancy acronym.
Accounting recruitment: what skills should firms prioritise?
- Business development
An integral part of a qualified accountant’s role is now business development, which doesn’t always go hand in hand with out-and-out numbers people. It’s fair to assume that anyone who has to promote the practice might need a refresher sales course.
There are hundreds of courses available online, and in terms of return on investment — you’re training someone to win you more business.
A skill that might come a little more naturally for accountants is providing advice. However, the provision of advice is often learnt by being mentored. Try matching those who need a bit of guidance with Partners for a client session and watch them flourish.
- Leadership and management
A much-neglected area of training for any business is leadership and management. There are various online courses, including those provided by ICS. By placing your accountants on leadership and management training courses, you invest in a whole team — retaining talent.
- Presentation skills
You might be wondering why presentation skills have made the list, but the advent of video calls has meant that some accountants who prefer face-to-face contact create visual aids for client meetings. Software capability changes rapidly, and captivating visuals and wording can result in a happy client.
CIPD is not unfamiliar for accountants, so legislative and regulatory courses, forums, and news needs to be on any accountant’s training list.
- Analysis and reporting
Far from the reports provided by high-powered software, analysis and reporting are other areas that a mentor best teaches. Sometimes it is about learning what to ignore and what to look out for to efficiently anlalyse and quickly produce a report or conclusion; otherwise, we get lost in data.
Accountants now need to be comfortable with accounting software and spot efficiencies that new software could make for clients. Keeping an eye on up and coming software and attending training courses can be vital for a firm to stay ahead of the curve.
- Project management
Another neglected area is project management skills. Accountants often lead and plan large projects for and with clients, which is a specific skill set. There are varying levels of project management course, but even the basics will reward a firm.
- Learning and development
Those accountant’s with management responsibilities might benefit from a learning and development course so that plans can be made to support their team.
Surely marketing can’t be on an accountant’s list too? Yes, it is. Often Partners and senior team members play an active role in promoting the firm, so marketing essentials are a must.
Upskilling your team with non-accountancy related courses and mentoring will help you to achieve your business aspirations.
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.