The need for accounting talent continues to top the list of accounting firm challenges, despite warnings that the profession will be soon be replaced by AI. Last summer at AICPA Engage, Jody Padar and Liz Gold talked to Cheryl Burke, Partner and Chief Operating Officer at DiCicco Gulman & Company about how that firm manages staffing challenges. The podcast covered a number of topics related to staffing, including how to attract new staff and how to keep them happy. Here’s what she said:
Recruiting is a year-round commitment
“You start with the commitment that it’s a year round commitment. It’s not something that just happens in September when the new recruiting season starts or after April when people start changing firms. You really work to try to keep your name out there, keep people looking for you. On the staffing side, we just really try to provide an environment in which we can serve our clients well and an environment where our employees thrive.”
Retain staff by staying close to them
“I think the first step is to stay as close to them as you can. We have a formal coaching program. We have a formal mentoring program. Every year we do a skills survey in which we ask the staff, ‘What did you work on?’ As well as ‘What do you like and what don’t you like?’ ‘What would you like more of? What do you feel you need more training in?’ We also come hard at the question ‘How happy are you here, and what could we do better?’ And we take those results and we start at the highest level. Our executive management team sees them. Our practice leaders see them. And because of the survey, we’re able to target people and say, ‘Hey, how are you doing today? What can we do more of?’”
Improve employee satisfaction by focusing on what matters
“Back in 2010 we introduced a results-only work environment. And that’s pretty much the concept of work when you want where you want as long as the work gets done. And what that does is that takes flexibility to a new level. It takes it to a cultural level. And we’ll say you don’t need all these rules around flexibility. If you want to leave at three you’ve got to email scheduling but you can do it. It really puts the responsibility on the professional to manage their schedule, to know what work they have and go from there.”
To learn more about how technology impacts staffing challenges, listen to the full podcast below and download the whitepaper, “Technology and Talent; Are You a Future-Ready Firm,” by Jody Padar.