A notable portion of today’s accounting curriculum in college is dedicated to teaching aspiring accountants how to use current accounting technology. When Gen Z talent head out into the real world, they have an expectation that their employers will be using—at a minimum—the tools they learned in school. And many graduates are likely looking forward to learning even more advanced technology on the job.
If your firm isn’t using the most current technology, you could find yourself at a disadvantage in the war for talent—especially if prospective staff is also looking at larger firms. By adopting the latest tax technology and offering meaningful (and, indeed, flexible) work, smaller accounting firms can compete for today’s top talent and build the next generation of accountants. This can be especially true for firms whose leaders are looking toward retirement and want someone who can be groomed to eventually take over the practice.
Why is a digital-first workplace crucial to Gen Z accounting talent?
Comprehensive tax technology offers a solid foundation for attracting quality talent. The necessity of remote work during the pandemic showcased just how well accounting firms can operate within a flexible working environment. From tax compliance to firm management to advisory tools, it’s time for accounting firms to use technology to reflect the modern tax and accounting workflow and meet the needs of staff and clients.
With a cloud-native tax and accounting solution, you can transform your practice into a digital-first workplace that attracts top Gen Z talent. Technology that combines document management, online client collaboration, and project management provides recent college grads with the flexibility to work anywhere from any device in a secure environment.
Plus, by redefining your workflow, your firm will save valuable time while gaining insights and tools to become a more trusted advisor to your clients. From consulting on new regulations to providing guidance on business expansion, you’ll expand your client relationships while demonstrating to prospective employees that the profession is more than just compliance processing. They’ll be drawn to the meaningful work that comes with deeper client relationships and you’ll benefit from the boost in revenue that consulting and advisory services produce.
Opening up the pool of Gen Z accounting talent
With the rise of automation in the reporting and regulatory side of the accounting profession, it’s important for accounting firms to look outside of the traditional new-hire box.
Recent college grads with skills or majors related to analyzing and using data are a great fit for firms that use advanced technology. These transferable skills can be just as impactful, and sometimes more so, than industry experience. You may even want to consider candidates that come from non-accounting backgrounds including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees. With the remote access afforded by today’s technology, you can even expand the candidate pool beyond your geographic area.
While your team may no longer be primarily composed of professionals with the CPA designation, that’s okay. Given the digital disruption taking place in the profession, consider opening up your recruitment processes to candidates with skill sets in:
- Business development
- Project management
- Marketing and branding
- Data analytics
- Strategic planning
- Process management
The key to competing for talent is understanding your candidates’ motivation and creating a working environment that is appealing to them. As a smaller CPA firm, you have an easier time adapting to these motivators than a large organization, so use that fact to your advantage.
How can small accounting firms gain the upper hand?
From incorporating technology to adopting more collaborative management practices, smaller accounting firms can find themselves with the upper hand in the war for Gen Z talent. From a development standpoint, firms that offer hands-on training opportunities, along with an emphasis on community involvement and cultural initiatives, may gain a competitive edge.
Further, when it comes to providing a larger sense of purpose, smaller accounting firms can offer the younger generation the ability to build niche or specialty practices, interact one-on-one with clients, and help small businesses grow. These are compelling benefits that larger firms often can’t provide.
While technology is not the only way to draw in recent college grads, it provides a foundation for what prospective employees want—more high-value work, flexible working arrangements, increased productivity, and support to grow their skills. Up-and-coming talent expect technology and automation to be in place, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to attract quality staff and solidify the success of your firm well into the future.