grow an accounting firm

Growing an Accounting Firm Amidst Staffing Shortages: Strategies for Success

How to Grow an Accounting Firm Despite the Ongoing Staffing Shortage.

Are you as an accounting firm dealing with the increasing difficulty of finding enough staff?

Hiring and keeping employees has become really hard, leading to a shortage of accountants across the industry. Several things are responsible for this issue.

The accounting profession is growing quickly. Experts say the accounting market is set to expand at a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% through 2030. This growth is faster than the economy as a whole, meaning there’s more demand for accounting services but fewer qualified people available. To make matters worse, many experienced accountants are leaving their jobs because they’re exhausted, with turnover rates in smaller firms as high as 15% to 20%. The problem has become worse since the COVID-19 pandemic started.  Also, there are fewer students finishing bachelor’s degrees in accounting than there used to be. This decline makes it harder to bring in new talent and develop future leaders within accounting firms.

As these challenges continue, accounting firms are facing a tough situation when it comes to finding and keeping staff. They need to come up with new ideas and take action to not just get by, but to do well in these uncertain times.

So, how can your firm gain sustainability?

Here are some suggestions for accounting firms to take to help them overcome the accountant shortage without overworking current employees.

Table of Content

  1. Use Technology
  2. Practice Smart Client Management
  3. Train and Develop
  4. Attract Younger Talent
  5. Switch to Outsourced Accountants
  6. Conclusion

Use Technology

All of us now know that technology plays a very important role in improving operations within accounting firms. Utilizing advanced accounting software and automation tools allows firms to enhance a significant amount of efficiency in a very little time. These tools reduce errors and increase overall productivity by automating routine tasks such as data entry and reconciliations. This helps the staff to dedicate more time to client support and innovation, rather than getting tired by doing manual processes.

Also, technology improves the accuracy of financial reports and facilitates quick data analysis. This capability empowers firms to make informed decisions at the right time, based on real-time insights into financial performance and client needs.

Practice Smart Client Management

Accounting firms have traditionally pursued any client available to increase revenue, particularly during tax season, which has contributed to today’s staffing challenges. However, this approach often leads to overburdened employees and high turnover rates. Smart Client Management offers a new perspective by focusing on fewer, ideal clients who align with the firm’s goals for financial stability and comprehensive service. This strategy advocates for diversifying service offerings beyond tax preparation throughout the year, reducing the strain of seasonal peaks and promoting better work-life balance among staff.

Implementing Smart Client Management involves strategic planning to expand services wisely, ensuring a steady revenue stream across the calendar. By using data analytics, firms can identify clients who may be resource-intensive or not aligned with the firm’s values and goals. This data-driven approach empowers firms to make informed decisions about client retention, prioritizing those who contribute positively to the firm’s growth and culture.

Moreover, this shift not only enhances client satisfaction but also fosters a healthier and more sustainable work environment for employees.

Train and Develop

As an accounting firm, you should continuously spend money  in training and developing your current resources as it is another very important tool for navigating staffing limitations effectively. By focusing on upskilling, your team can expand their capabilities to manage a wider array of services with efficiency. This is particularly necessary when facing manpower constraints, as skilled employees can handle more responsibilities and tasks effectively. For instance, providing training on the latest accounting software or specialized knowledge in complex tax laws can substantially increase productivity within your firm.

Moreover, enhancing training and development initiatives not only addresses staffing shortages but also improves job satisfaction and retention rates among employees. When staff members feel supported and equipped with the necessary skills to excel in their roles, they are more likely to remain engaged and committed to the firm. Offering growth opportunities through training fosters a positive work environment where employees feel valued and empowered, contributing to long-term stability and success for your accounting firm.

Attract Younger Talent

To attract and retain younger accountants, you must update your work culture and practices. Outdated technology and long hours can be a big turnoff for young professionals looking for work-life balance. While salary matters, a recent Thomson Reuters survey showed that young accountants seek self-fulfillment and respectful treatment above just about any other incentive for staying in a job. Granted, those are somewhat ambiguous concepts, but they can have concrete applications. Statements such as, “I can be myself at work” and “I am treated with fairness and respect” were among the most popular drivers of satisfaction for young accountants.

Firms should engage openly with young accountants to understand their career aspirations. Introduce initiatives like Smart Client Management because it demonstrates a commitment to innovation and employee satisfaction. It can help make a culture that values personal growth and meaningful contribution.

Switch to Outsourced Accountants

With staffing shortages becoming increasingly challenging, turning to outsourced accounting services can be a strategic move. This approach not only addresses staffing gaps but also enhances operational efficiency. By partnering with firms that specialize in outsourced accounting and bookkeeping services, you can focus on core business activities while outsourcing routine tasks. Research indicates that firms utilizing outsourcing can save up to 50% on costs compared to traditional in-house teams.

Expertise Accelerated is an outsourcing firm that provides top-tier accounting services. Our specialized experts do your accounting tasks, ensuring high-quality results. Our experts are equipped to handle peak loads without the need for additional hiring, ensuring your business goes smoothly. During busy periods, such as tax season or financial year-end, you can rely on us to maintain accuracy and timeliness without compromising on quality.

By using our advanced skills and experience, your firm can significantly boost its operational capabilities and overall performance.

Expertise Accelerated