Recently I went for a global CFO meet where I got the opportunity to interact with CFOs across the globe. Every person I spoke to said, staff retention is the biggest challenge they are facing right now. This got me thinking that “The Great Resignation” tidal wave is hitting everyone hard, irrespective of the industry sector. This mass exodus is being felt both inside and outside of the accounting sphere.
You could argue that employee turnover is normal and retirement is a natural part of life. But the data tells a different story. In November 2021 alone, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in all 20.2 million employees have walked away during May – September 2021. And, over 73% of US employers are having difficulty retaining and attracting new staff. That is a serious issue!
With a large percentage of accountants retiring, it is creating a great void in the industry. Besides, the cumulative cost to businesses facing The Great Resignation is huge. But why is this happening? And can anything be done about it? Here’s my take!
Owing to the growing regulatory requirements and stringent compliances, there is increased pressure on the accounting staff more than ever. Accountants all over the globe are struggling with overwork and burnout in the busy tax and audit season. Moreover, during the pandemic, people got access to alternative jobs with the “Remote Work” culture where they could balance personal and professional life. So your employees had a choice between being an overworked accountant vs remote worker where they were not bound to geographies and could work for companies in any part of the world. These alternatives created a great challenge for CPA and accounting firms.
1. Create Hybrid Work Format: As an accounting firm, a lot of collaboration is required between a Bookkeeper, an Accountant and a Partner. However, it might not be possible for them to physically meet every time. So ideally if CPA firms can create a hybrid work format, say for example 3 days in office and 2 days WFH, it can help accountants to balance professional and personal life and they will get the needed time and space. And remember, a happy employee equals a productive and motivated employee.
2. Implement Collaborative Tools and Technology: Adequate technology and automation tools in the accounting field can help deal with great resignation. It’s time that you understand the need to automate your accounting function and embrace advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, Blockchain, etc. Use the latest tools and technologies like Zoom, Google Meet, etc. for meetings. Make use of Accounting Practice Management Softwares like Karbon, Financial Cents for managing client deadlines and work. Use Project Management Tools like Monday.com, Asana to keep client work and priorities organised.
3. Switch to Outsourcing: You can outsource accounting and bookkeeping services to a third party and get experienced and expert professionals looking after your accounting and finance function. Cross border or offshore outsourcing to a country like India can add significant value to small and medium businesses in the form of reduced costs, time zone advantage, access to specialized expertise and more.
You can easily scale up their services in the busy season and free your in-house staff for more productive tasks. This will not only bring more satisfaction to your employees but will also keep them motivated. An outsourced partner can help you streamline your processes and workflows to achieve greater efficiency. Additionally, they can assist you to smoothly automate or transform your finance function in order to achieve maximum value. One can refer to our blog that was written earlier on technology transformation . https://finsmart.co.in/technology-transformation-for-your-accounting-process-finsmart/
4. Seasonal Incentives: Tax season can be really exhausting for accountants. They are naturally overworked, and hence during such times, burnout rates can be high. You may ease their stress and keep them happy during tax season by incentivising them over and above their compensation package. Everyone loves a bonus system that rewards their performance. Consider offering employees a one-time bonus, special incentives, gift cards, extra allowances like offering food-based rewards in the form of pizza coupons, happy hours, etc. Rewards can be individual, team-based, or be a joint effort to meet an office-wide goal. This added benefit will help them remain motivated during this tough season and build loyalty towards their company.
Act Fast, Act Now!
We don’t know how the great resignation will impact us but being prepared is the key to surviving it. So take action now! There can’t be any perfect solution to The Great Resignation but some of the above solutions can help CPA and Accounting Firms to combat the situation. Employee Retention is a constant process and one has to invest in terms of time and energy in creating a great working relationship and culture of trust and bonding within the teams.
The article is written by Maanoj Shah – Director Growth Strategy & Alliances at Electronica Finsmart Solutions Pvt. Ltd. www.finsmart.co.in Finsmart is a leader in accounting outsourcing with 15+ years of experience in catering 150+ clients in outsourcing of payroll, bookkeeping and management accounting services for large multinational corporations as well as SMEs globally. The Accounting Seat™ offering by Finsmart is specially designed for global CPA firms. It offers bookkeepers on subscription helping CPA firms to reduce their workload, help them to provide scalability with bookkeepers and enhance efficiency and profitability of the firm.