While the rest of us may be having sugarplum dreams, accountants are seeing stacks of spreadsheets and tax forms and year end reports in their future.

For accounting professionals at firms across the country the end of the year brings the beginning of their busiest months. The long hours, routine, if important, tasks and the lack of flexibility that marks these next three months puts traditional firms at a disadvantage, says a whitepaper from Thomson Reuters.

Though the COVID pandemic may have cooled the intense talent wars of the last few years, it won’t last. “Competition is bound to only intensify,” the report says. And compensation is only part of the formula. Firms, need to “focus on more intangibles like employee engagement, and nurturing a positive and inclusive workplace culture.”

As its title says, the whitepaper details 4 Ways to Elevate Your Accounting Firm’s Talent.

The first step is to elevate the firm’s visibility among those professionals you want to hire. Recruitment marketing is as essential as marketing to attract new clients, says the report.

“Change begins with developing and raising awareness of your firm’s reputation as a place to work,” says the paper. “The visibility and awareness of your ‘employer brand’ among prospective candidates is important.”

The place to start is with the firm’s website. Think more like a candidate, than an employer when crafting the careers pages. What is it your firm offers? What makes your firm unique and a good place to work?

Most of the report focuses on building a strong culture to retain and attract talent. You do that, says the Thomson Reuters paper by emphasizing career development and learning, by focusing on engagement and developing a positive work environment.

“What is the ideal culture? For many associates, a positive corporate culture is one rich in diversity, inclusion, and flexibility. This is especially true among younger associates.”

For many diversity is associated with “a forward-thinking mindset that involves tolerance, inclusiveness, and openness to different ideas or ways of thinking.” In addition, empowering associates and providing a path to a better work/life balance through flexible work schedules, telecommuting, compressed workweek, etc. helps promote a positive workplace culture.

“Attracting and retaining top accounting firm talent is challenging for many firms. Shifts in employee expectations, greater competition from tech players, and a constricting pipeline of accounting graduates means that the job market will only intensify,” the report observes.

A competitive paycheck is important, the report concludes, but “earning the loyalty and commitment of your employees is about so much more.”

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash


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Green Key

PwC Is Again the ‘Most Prestigious Accounting Firm’

And the award for the “Most Prestigious Accounting Firm” goes to… wait for it… PwC.

It’s the 12th straight year the US branch of the international accounting and business services firm

PricewaterhouseCoopers International has placed first on the annual list of the top 50 prestigious firms.

Produced annually by careers site Vault, the rankings are based on some 10,000 surveys completed by accounting professionals. Among the questions, participants give a prestige ranking to firms other than their own.

From year to year, the firms making the top of the list haven’t varied much. This year’s rankings (for some reason Vault dates the list as 2021) are largely a repeat of last year’s with the big four accounting firms taking the top four places: 1-PwC; 2-Deloitte; 3- EY; and, 4-KPMG.

In fact, most of the firms on the list were there last year. Joining the list this year are Frazier & Deeter in 45th place; Warren Averett 47; and, Squar Milner 50.

What’s particularly striking about PwC is how it dominates Vault’s other lists:

  • #1 on the 2021 Vault Accounting 50
  • #2 on the 2021 Best Accounting Firms for Diversity
  • #1 in each of the three categories on the Best Practice Areas list.
  • Multiple rankings among the top 5 and 10 in the various categories on Vault’s 2021 Best Accounting Firms

So often rated so highly on these Vault lists that in reporting on the list released last week, the irreverent accounting blog GoingConcern suggested, “Vault might as well call it the PwC Most Prestigious Accounting Firm Award at this point.”


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Green Key