Recruiting and retaining employees has long been a challenge for public practice firms and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

One way to mitigate this is to welcome graduate accountants who have entered the profession from less traditional pathways.

In addition, skilled human capital is now also available 24 hours of the day, irrespective of your location. There are a number of new methods that practitioners can adopt to adequately resource their practices. Crowdsourcing, outsourcing and offshoring offer a talented workforce across different time zones. This allows you to scale up your labour force when you need it.

Firms offering flexible and positive workplaces will be best placed to attract a diverse mix of talent and to retain their best workers. Managing conflict is critical when you can’t afford to lose employees. One aspect of a culture which supports employees is supporting mobile technology solutions, allowing employees to work from home. In order to retain your quality team members you may need to consider sharing the financial success of the practice.

Download an exclusive Employer’s Manual and Staff Manual, customisable for public practitioners, comprising procedure manuals detailing employment and industrial relations legislative requirements

Tips

  • Understand what motivates graduates and use your evolving service offering to provide a career path for them
  • Understand what will make you an employer of choice
  • Be open to graduates who have entered the profession through less traditional pathways
  • Develop alternative staffing models, for example, explore the use of para-professionals
  • Embrace the needs of an ageing workforce
  • Structure the working environment so that working hours (such as flexible hours), operating models, employee mentoring programs, support of community interests and incentive arrangements are tailored to attract quality staff and to retain existing employees

Recruitment

Employees and contractors

It is important to understand the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. Simply calling someone a "contractor" does not protect a principal from liability for employment entitlements, should the person not satisfy the legal tests for an independent contractor.

Applying an incorrect label can result in significant liability, including liability for wages and entitlements, breach of award and workplace relations legislation, liability for unfair dismissal, unpaid superannuation and payroll tax.

Workplace culture

Firms offering flexible and positive workplaces will be best placed to attract a diverse mix of talent and to retain their best workers. Managing conflict is critical when you can’t afford to lose employees. One aspect of a culture which supports employees is supporting mobile technology solutions, allowing employees to work from home. In order to retain your quality team members you may need to consider sharing the financial success of the practice.

Training and mentoring

Investing in soft skills development for yourself and your team is essential to maximise your relationship with your clients, to deliver quality advice services and to keep the job interesting and challenging for your staff. These soft skills should encompass communication and presentation skills. To assist you in maximising your employees’ potential undertake an audit of their skill sets.

Staff mentoring programs will also be needed to meet regulators’ certification requirements.

Performance management

Australian Government support services