Key Strategies for Improving Employee Retention Rates in Accounting Firms

Posted by Angelica Garcia
Jun 18, 2024
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In the past few years, employee retention strategies have been a commonly discussed topic in many business blogs and magazines. But why is it important to retain employees? 

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Imagine finding the ideal team member sitting in your meeting room this morning. After a stellar interview, you discuss how they meet all the requirements that you need for the role you’re looking to fill. 


They sign then with your company, proceed to become one of your most valuable assets in the first six months, and then climb the career ladder fast, contributing to the company culture and to the growth of your company in the long term. 


Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? It probably is. Unlike in previous decades, it has become highly unlikely that a talent will choose to stay with your company for decades. In fact, strategies to retain top talent abound the internet to address this situation. 


What We Might Not Know about Talent Retention 

Talent retention has been an ongoing issue among businesses across all verticals around the world. With a finite pool of exceptional talent, the quest to retain employees has produced a myriad of strategies to reduce turnover—but how do we separate fact from fiction? 


According to a study, replacing an employee in the UK costs businesses about £7,729 on average. This equals to a bit more than a quarter (26.1%) of what the employee earns in a year. The findings underline how expensive it can be for companies to lose their staff and how much they can save by keeping their employees. 


Aside from its impact on company revenue, losing talent can also affect employee's experience and service quality. In the long run, having high retention rates may impact your efforts in attracting new talents and delighting your existing and new clients. 


How can Accounting Firms Attract and Retain Talented Employees 

To minimise the adverse effects of employee turnover, focus on your talent retention efforts. Here are six (6) aspects of your business that you should assess:  


1. Building your firm's culture

Does your firm support employees in reaching their full potential? Are you fostering an inclusive environment that appeals to a diverse, multicultural workforce? Encouraging innovation and considering new ideas from your staff, clients, and partners are vital. Here are ways to improve: 


  1. Cultivate a Positive Workplace Culture: Never underestimate the power of a workplace where employees feel connected and valued. Team outings, volunteer days, and regular celebrations of milestones can strengthen the team bond. 


  1. Commit to Diversity and Inclusion: Ensure that your workplace embraces diversity where everyone feels they belong and can contribute. Encourage diverse viewpoints and ensure all voices are heard and respected.  


Read: The Importance of Mentorship Programs in Accounting Firms 


2. Enhancing the management

Does your management team motivate and develop your talents, or are your managers restricting the growth of your staff? Remember, people often leave managers, not companies, a fact that typically comes to light in exit interviews. You may consider implementing these: 


  1. Mentorship Opportunities: Pair less experienced team members with seasoned mentors to speed up learning and foster a supportive environment crucial for retaining talent. 


  1. Embrace the Latest Technologies: Keeping up with technological advances not only boosts efficiency but also shows your team that you are committed to innovation and their success. 


3. Having a clear sense of purpose


Do your employees understand how their role contributes to the growth of your firm? To feel connected to the firm, your workforce should be aware of how important their contribution is towards achieving your organisation’s goals.   


4. Giving credit where it is due

Reevaluate your performance management system to ensure it isn’t flawed. Employees should never feel undervalued or unappreciated. Sometimes, a simple ‘thank you’ message is all it takes to make someone feel important.  


5. Fair compensation and benefits

Does your benefits package align with the demands of the work your staff performs? Does it support flexible working conditions and professional development? If there are gaps, consider the following adjustments: 


  1. Offer Competitive Salaries: It's a straightforward concept, but one that can't be ignored. Ensure your compensation matches or exceeds standard rates in the accounting industry. If you cannot offer the best pay, explore alternatives like performance bonuses or flexible pay structures. 


  1. Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance: Advocating for a balanced life is more important than ever. Offer flexible schedules, remote work options, and generous time-off policies to help maintain your team’s health and satisfaction. 


6. Providing a clear path for growth

Are your leaders providing ample feedback and opportunities for your employees to expand their skill sets and face new challenges? To further support career progression, you may consider these: 


  1. Invest in Career Development: Show your employees you value their future by providing opportunities for professional growth. Whether it’s through continuing education, workshops, or clear pathways for advancement, support your team’s career aspirations.  


  1. Keep the Lines of Communication Open: Establishing a culture where feedback is encouraged and acted upon can nurture a strong sense of loyalty. You should maintain regular check-ins and an open-door policy to keep everyone on the same page. 


Read Next: The Top Benefits of Mentorship in the Workplace 


To increase employee engagement, you may also consider outsourcing your basic accounting functions so your staff can focus their time and attention on more engaging, higher-level accounting activities. 


When you right-size your staff, your managers will also have more time to devote to your in-house accountants, which will give them more time for training, coaching, and other up-skilling efforts. 


Developing employee retention strategies for your accounting firm need not be a complicated process. Start by reviewing the items that we have listed above, and then you can begin improving your employee engagement efforts. 


Are you looking to find a reliable accounting outsourcing partner for your firm? 

Consider D&V Philippines, a trusted choice and recognized as one of the high-growth companies by the Financial Times (FT). Our team of experienced certified public accountants (CPA) and auditors, with prior experience from the Big 4 Firms, is equipped with broad accounting expertise.


Having been in the industry for more than a decade, we have served numerous clients and partners across Australia, Asia-Pacific, Canada, Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Outsourcing your finance and accounting functions to us comes with the confidence of knowing that you are in capable hands. Schedule a free consultation with us today. 


You may also download our whitepaper on our partnerships with accounting firms to learn about building an employee retention strategy.  

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This article was first published on 31 October 2017 and updated on 16 June 2024. Edited by: Angelica Garcia   


Our Outsourcing: How to Make it Work guide explores how you can utilize accounting and finance outsourcing to drive growth to your business and add value to your processes.