Challenges facing accountancy firms

Accountancy firms around the UK, whether technology-savvy or more traditional, face the same challenges when it comes to their team, technology and business partners.

Advertise, use a recruitment partner or grow your own talent?

As an accountancy firm, you’ll choose to either recruit staff yourself, use a dedicated accountancy recruitment service, grow your own talent or a combination of these.

Recruiting new team members yourself can often present more challenges than results. For instance, there is the time-consuming job of advertising, filtering through CVs, interviewing, checking references and then finally offering the correct package to tempt the candidate to move to your business. There can often seem to be slim pickings of available talent to suit your business’s needs too.

Perhaps that’s why some of the most successful accountancy firms rarely recruit themselves, opting for a dedicated accountancy recruiter and business partner, who will look to headhunt talent to find the best people for the role, have access to major job websites, LinkedIn and also have their own database of candidates looking for roles in the accountancy field.

Whether you’re looking for an audit and accounts person or manager, a Semi Senior or Senior Accountant or a tax professional, once you’ve taken the time into account to sift through CVs and interview, it pays to use a Public Practice Recruitment professional.

A recruiter will look for new talent that extends your offering to your clients, boosts your kudos as a business and is technologically minded, which can open up business opportunities.

Perhaps homegrown talent is the best idea? This takes time and quite often homegrown talent will be tempted to leave your business, which is extremely frustrating as it’s lost time and money.

How do the big brands retain staff?

So, once you’ve decided how to recruit your team, how do you keep them?

Have you heard of employer branding? It’s the reputation that your company builds or loses with regard to the way you are seen as an employer.
Recognising that your workforce plays a key role in your competitive edge as a business is essential in today’s tech-savvy world. The CIPD defines employer branding as “…a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that makes an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those people who will thrive and perform best in its culture.”

Garry Howling, Managing Director, Public Practice Recruitment Ltd commented: “Today’s accountancy firms would benefit from taking into consideration that candidates will research a prospective employer, which will include the experience of both clients, current and previous employees. Candidates are looking to work for established, progressive and approachable employers.”

Big brands develop their Employer Value Proposition (EVP), which ensures that they are clear about what they will seek to offer their employees regarding both company values and benefits.

Communication with a personal touch goes a long way. From using the intranet, emails or simply ensuring there’s an open-door policy for challenges – communication and praise is essential.

Everyone in the business must live and breathe the EVP to retain team members.

Technology, automation and GDPR

Technology, automation and even GDPR represents huge opportunities for the accountancy industry, although they might seem challenging; quite simply, those that keep up will not only have a competitive edge but will have their pick of talent too.

As a business that is embracing technology, encouraging meaningful and compliant communications with your marketing and saving resource through self-service and automation, you are ahead of the curve when it comes to competition.

Clients are more likely to use your services if you tick compliance boxes and make their life easier. In accountancy, there are those clients that only like to hear from your annually, and those that embrace your talents and request guidance to help their business to succeed. But one thing both types of clients will like is anything that saves time and instils trust.

Candidates are also more likely to join a firm of accountants that is progressive and compliant when it comes to technology. There is a trend at present of employing young talent that can offer technology experience, which enhances the services provided by accountancy firms.

The lost time of employees

If you’re a business owner, then one of the most difficult challenges to address can be lost time. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), an estimated 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK in 2016. The ONS has provided the top three reasons given for not being able to work:

• 24.8% coughs and colds.
• 22.4% back pain, neck and upper limb problems.
• 11.5% mental health problems.

Coughs and colds in the UK are commonplace; however, good ventilation, a cleaning schedule that includes keyboards and desktops and good hand hygiene can reduce the spread of illness. Back pain, in some cases, can be helped by the correct seating and screen position.

Looking after your team’s mental health in the workplace is extremely important. It may not seem like an employer’s responsibility but keeping communication channels open, providing support when you can see that they need it and knowing support numbers can help.

Is your agency letting you down?

One of the biggest challenges can often be selecting the correct recruitment agency to work with. Finding a recruitment agency who can get to know your business and act on your behalf can often result in a better relationship through understanding, which often means less work for you and a better-quality candidate pool.

Working with a dedicated accountancy recruitment partner can ensure that only the best talent is put forward and that package expectations can be met. There is nothing more frustrating than taking the time to go through rounds of interviews only to find that expectations aren’t aligned.

Public Practice Recruitment Ltd is an established and experienced business that specialises in finding the most suitable candidates within the accountancy field. For more information, you can visit our website, call us on 0333 5777 787 or email


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