The research, undertaken by recruitment specialists Ford Peterson, surveyed 282 accountants to help understand why people change jobs.
The survey revealed that professional development was the top motivating factor.
"One hundred per cent of respondents rated items that were directly related to professional development and career progression as either important or very important," said Peter Kibble, director of accounting, finance and strategy at the firm.
Other factors that accountants found attractive include the type of clients the potential new employer deals with.
"Client base also scored very highly with 95 per cent of respondents rating it as either important or very important," Mr Kibble said.
"So then, to attract the best people to your firm you need to make it clear throughout the interview process that you invest in training and development, career progression and supportive management," Mr Kibble concluded.
He said the most obvious way a firm can differentiate itself from the majority of other firms is to pay for the professional qualifications upfront rather than on successful completion.
"If you consider that as too great a financial risk because people in your firm are regularly failing CA units, then it is worth looking seriously at the training and development you are actually offering employees," he said.
"If good people are leaving your firm, especially if they are going to similar businesses, it is worthwhile looking seriously at the working conditions you offer employees."