How High Demand for Accountants Will Impact Firms

How High Demand for Accountants will Impact Firms

The Journal of Accountancy just released an article about the supply and demand for new talent.

Click here to read the article.  Very briefly to summarize – CPA firms in the United States hired 40,350 new accounting graduates in 2012, which is a high since 2007.

Demand for talent is HUGE right now and it will heat up even more over the next several years. What does that mean for you if you own a practice?

It means you will pay more and have to offer more to keep the best people.  When I started in public accounting  for E&Y in the 90’s,schedules were brutal, the pay was OK, and we worked that way because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to continue working.   My, how times have changed….for the better I might add.  Most owners came up in that environment so adapting to new expectations will require a different perspective for many.

Firms will either adapt or pay dearly for hanging on to old ways.  As staff require more time off and better pay and working conditions, the cost of doing business will be higher.  In my opinion, it’s about time.  Being an accountant is hard work and it should offer a very rewarding income and quality of life.

A new way of thinking will be required to run a successful practice.  Here are 4 fundamental issues that will have a major impact on a firm’s ability to attract and retain the best people:

  1. Efficiency will only take firms so far as technologies and outsourcing level the playing field.  Working efficiently will be a given.  Successful practice owners and managing partners will have to be very good at focusing on what their clients value and are willing to pay for –  so that they can afford to hire and keep the best talent.
  2. Accountants will have to charge what they are actually worth.  (Finally!)  
  3. They will have to get better at articulating their value to clients and become more focused on delivering that value.  
  4. They will have to focus on creating workplace cultures that bring out the best in their people.  

It’s simple supply and demand at work here.  Demand is high, supply is low, so prices go up.  Things could get very interesting.

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