The Future of Work

The Talent Quest: Winning Recruitment Strategies Part Two

About the Author: Katie Thomas, CPA, is a content creator, 2021 & 2022 40 under 40 CPA Practice Advisor recipient, Top 50 Women in Accounting recipient, and the owner of Leaders Online, where they help accounting professionals increase their impact, influence, and income through thought leadership and digital marketing. Feel free to visit Leaders Online or connect with her on LinkedIn to get in touch with Katie.

This is part two of our series on how firms can attract top talent in 2023. If you have yet to read Part one, you can do so here

As a refresher, in part one, we discussed a huge challenge accounting departments face when looking to attract top talent and how to overcome it. Recent research conducted by the University of Georgia and FloQast revealed many accountants are uncertain about their future in the profession. Why is this the case? Accountants are reevaluating their work’s demanding nature and seeking renewed professional fulfillment, even if it means changing careers.

To attract top talent, companies must go beyond the basics and offer growth opportunities, utilize cutting-edge technology, and prioritize fulfillment. When it comes to fulfilling careers, accountants desire:

  • meaningful work, 
  • room for growth, and 
  • flexible schedules that promote work-life balance 

Having the right technology plays a crucial role, as it’s vital in enabling growth, flexibility, and work-life balance. By investing in purpose-built tech solutions and training recruiting teams to address tech-related questions, organizations can position themselves as an attractive option to potential new hires. 

But this is just a start when it comes to attracting your next one, two, or more accounting superstars. 

What more should be done? Let’s dive in now. 

Build a Strong Brand Accountants Want to Join

When accountants are looking for jobs, we know they want them to be fulfilling. So the next thing to consider is, how well does your brand communicate that you offer fulfilling jobs? Between the Great Resignation and the decrease in new accountants entering the field, accountants have choices. Your brand can (and should) make you the clear choice.

Your brand needs:

  • an inspiring mission that excites new talent 
  • to communicate you’re a company people love to work for
  • to be consistent and cohesive across online and offline channels

Word gets around in the accounting industry, and if your brand is strong, you can be confident top talent will hear about it. 

Here are some ways to build a strong brand and attract talent in the process: 

  1. Create Engaging Content: Use videos, blogs, and social media posts to give potential employees a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work for your company.
  2. Participate in Industry Events: Attend job fairs, conferences, and other industry events. These events are great opportunities to showcase your employer brand in person and connect with potential talent.
  3. Promote Your Tech-Savvy Environment: Share the cutting-edge technology your accounting department uses and make it clear how it contributes to a streamlined, innovative, and engaging work environment. As part of this process, consider accountants’ biggest challenges and how your technology prevents them. For example, if you have software that enables them to not have to do time-consuming data entry or manually close the books, incorporate this into your brand and your messaging. Accountants want to know they will be fulfilled working in your organization, and technology is a huge piece to enabling their fulfillment. 

Of course, talent will also know which brands are unfulfilling and don’t focus on making their team happy. 

When it comes to branding, don’t overlook it. It’s important and a key piece to the recruiting puzzle. 

Think Outside the Box When Hiring

This next one is a big one for accounting departments. When hiring, we tend to put boundaries and limitations on the process. But really, there aren’t any hard or fast rules that you have to follow. You don’t have to take the traditional route for finding and acquiring candidates.

Thinking outside of the box can help you find great candidates in unexpected places.

In a recent episode of FloQast’s podcast Blood, Sweat & Balance Sheets, guest Bruce Duner offered some great advice on out-of-the-box thinking for hiring. His suggestion? Rather than hiring “from Harvard or Yale or Stanford,” look for diamonds in the rough. The key, he said, is to hire “people from the right sources in the right areas;” to look for people with the right energy and aptitude.

Because ultimately, you can train anyone to do just about anything if they have the passion and drive for the role.

I am seeing other companies take this advice and have major success. For example, I work with a company that does $30 million in revenue per year, and the owner of this business happens to be an accountant. What’s their strategy for building their accounting department? They hire employees from a popular fast food chain and train them to be accountants.

I work with another firm that hires stay-at-home mothers to do accounting. These new hires have no previous accounting experience, but the company provides the training they need to excel in their roles.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t hire accountants. But how can you get creative about hiring? Where can you find your own diamonds in the rough?

Establish an Effective Employee Referral Program

Birds of a feather flock together. There’s a good chance that your employees know other like-minded people who are hunting for a new job. 

Why not give them an incentive to refer these candidates to your business?

After all, your employees are one of your most valuable resources for attracting talent. 

Implementing an effective employee referral program can streamline the hiring process by sending qualified candidates right to your doorstep.

How do you ensure your referral program is effective?

  • Make sure employees understand the job requirements, so they can refer qualified candidates.
  • Keep employees in the loop when they make referrals. If their referred candidate doesn’t turn out to be a good fit, send the referring employee a thank you message anyway. Acknowledging their effort will make them feel appreciated and valued as an employee.
  • Offer a mix of incentives. Money talks, but that’s not the only thing your employees value. Offering experiences, like trips or vouchers, can go a long way in marketing your referral program.

If your referral program isn’t as effective as you’d hoped, ask employees for feedback. It may be that your application process is too complicated or there isn’t enough incentive for employees to make referrals.

Adjusting and improving your program over time will help employees become motivated and enthusiastic about referring new talent. 

Attracting top talent is a challenge for any business, but the current job landscape presents a new set of obstacles. 

To send the right candidates to your doorstep, you have to give accountants what they really want – flexibility, growth, and work/life balance. But you must also build a strong brand as an employer, think outside the box when hiring, and implement an effective employee referral program. 

Taking this approach will help you attract (and retain) top talent; talent that can help your business grow and thrive. 

Katie Thomas, CPA

Katie Thomas, CPA is a content creator, 2021 40 under 40 CPA Practice Advisor recipient, and the owner of Leaders Online, where they help accounting professionals increase their impact, influence, and income through thought leadership and digital marketing. To get in touch with Katie, feel free to visit Leaders Online or connect with her on LinkedIn.