A year ago, the accounting and business technology firm Sage confirmed what accountants felt was happening: the nature of the profession was transforming.

Driven by clients, regulatory demands, generational change and the marketplace, accounting was changing, said Sage’s Practice of Now report, from a transactional profession to one focused on partnership and consultancy.

What no one could have foreseen was a pandemic that would force upon firms some of the key changes detailed in the report.

Now, the leader of an accounting and management advisory firm and the CEO of a management technology company have teamed up to describe what a post-COVID accounting practice will look like. Writing in Accounting Today, Steve Templeton and Robert Wells say that what firm leaders “originally thought was unthinkable has made its way onto the partner priority list.”

“Remote workers are here to stay,” they declare. With workers permanently or occasionally working from home, it will trigger a cascade of changes – if it hasn’t already.

Workers will convert the savings in commute time to productive hours. Offices will shrink, while investment in technology will grow. Emerging firm leaders will be those with the technical know-how to match their accounting skills.

Remote working will prompt a rethinking of physical offices. With fewer people in the office, firms could adopt a “hoteling” approach where workspaces are not permanently assigned. Individual offices and cubicles will downsize, saving on space rent and equipment. At the same time, conference rooms will be enlarged for the occasional “all hands” and in-person client meetings.

Technology is front and center in the authors’ discussion, as it is technology that made possible remote work and opened the door to the culture change griping the profession.

Progressive firm leaders will embrace cloud technology and recognize that “data is the new currency,“ the authors insist. “Firms that embrace change will gain control over data and make better, more informed decisions.”

Those that pull together their scattered data “will reduce the need for multiple disparate technology systems.”

Technology to automate routine tasks will reduce errors and improve efficiency, say Templeton and Wells. Smart bots and “digital touchpoints” will give the firm a 24/7 workforce.

As the Practice of Now survey observed in a different context, grasping the cultural changes will be essential for a firm to thrive in the post-COVID economy.

“We need a renewed focus on our culture, our people and their capabilities,” Templeton and Wells say. Agility and adaptability must be baked into the culture to be ready for the next crisis, the next challenge and the competition.

“To survive in this new economy, firm leaders must work with the speed and agility necessary to advance business transformation post-crisis.”

Image by Wynn Pointaux


Companies Are Finding Virtual Recruiting to Be More Efficient

It takes a little getting used to, but companies are finding that recruiting executives remotely offers more than enough benefits to make up for the lack of in-person meetings.

“There are many ways where the virtual recruitment is more efficient than what we did before,” said Jacqueline Welch, chief human resources officer and chief diversity officer at mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac.

She told The Wall Street Journal that Freddie Mac has remotely onboarded 250 employees since mid-March when the government sponsored home loan company closed down its offices and had employees work from home.

Just this month, Welch said, the company hired a new CFO, also virtually.

In another example cited by The Journal, Nielsen Global Connect, a part of the US research company Nielsen Holdings PLC, hired a new CFO with all but a single in-person meeting with the CEO.

“I will admit that, in the end, it felt a bit odd to hire a CFO who I had never met,” CEO David Rawlinson told The Journal. “So we met at my house and talked briefly through masks, properly distanced in the backyard.”

The Boston Business Journal described how Massachusetts tech startup Drift, Inc. hired a new chief revenue officer to lead its 100-person sales team entirely remotely. The publication described the month-long interview process as being conducted via phone calls, video chats, emails, WhatsApp and text messages.

“In the back of my mind, and the rest of our minds, we expected that at some point we would meet him and then we would probably be going back to normal,” Drift CEO David Cancel said. “That just never turned out to be the case.”

Virtual recruiting offers several advantages, executive search recruiters explained. Besides the substantial savings on flights, hotels and meals and avoiding travel hassles and scheduling conflicts, remote hiring is quicker.

Cathy Logue, an executive recruiter who leads the CFO practice, said a recent search for a senior executive was completed in three months. “If you had asked me in January if this was possible I would have said, ‘Absolutely not,’ in no uncertain terms.”

There’s another, less obvious, benefit to remote interviewing.

“So often, when you meet someone in person and you spend time with them, there’s a lot of things beyond the communication happening … and some of that can bias you in the decision-making process,” Cancel said. “This let us focus more on the actual substance of the conversation.”

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash


Green Key Unlocked: Why Green Key?

“We are always inviting new, innovative ideas,” says Brooke Stemen, Director of Talent Acquisition at Green Key. As the person responsible for interviewing and onboarding new recruiters at the agency, Brooke has several reasons why someone should want to work and grow here. If you are looking for a different recruiting experience, or simply trying to switch career paths entirely, Brooke has provided a handful of motivating reasons to consider Green Key Resources. 

1. Commission structure 

The industry standard for commission structures is 5%, but at Green Key, *it typically starts* 12%. As this is more than double, the earning potential is unmatched. We also have zero threshold to earning commission, meaning you will make commission on your very first placement. You will never have to hit a spread quota or achieve a number of placements before unlocking strong earning potential. In addition to a competitive commission structure, Green Key also promotes from within. “We push our management teams to develop their internal teams,” says Brooke. “We are very growth-focused and invested in the success of our recruiters.” With a tech-focused mission and access to industry leading sourcing techniques, employees at Green Key have unlimited opportunities to succeed

2. Flexibility 

Green Key was founded on empathetic leadership, where you are treated like an adult and granted full autonomy to build your own day and optimize your time. Brooke reiterates, “We are not driven by arbitrary numbers, like how many calls you make. We’re a results driven firm and focused on net and production, which is a system that cultivates efficiency.” Green Key is also a give and take environment. Remote and hybrid schedules allow for a trusting relationship and higher productivity. We are always centered on quality of work over quantity. 

3. Mentorship 

Because Green Key promotes from within, managers across the organization are more motivated to mentor their recruiters and facilitate growth. Hierarchies tend to break down in these relationships and promote open communication. Mentorship within various teams is a unique aspect that makes Green Key successful. The opportunity to trust and learn from seasoned recruiters leads to goals being met and a healthy work environment.  

4. Diversity & inclusion 

“Prior to Green Key, I didn’t really see myself represented in leadership,” Brooke mentions. “As a woman who wants children one day, I was thrilled to see so many mothers holding leadership positions here.” Brooke emphasizes that Green Key is a place where you can make a substantial life for yourself, both professionally and personally. If you have to attend to personal matters outside of work, that will never hinder your success or growth here. “All we ask is that when you’re here, be present and try your hardest. At the end of the day, Green Key is an agency made by recruiters for recruiters.” 

Contact us 

If you’re considering a career change, do not hesitate to connect with Brooke on LinkedIn or visit our Join the Green Key Team page. With so many opportunities for growth and advancement, this just might be the perfect place for you!