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Accounting firms becoming ‘takeover targets’

Accounting firms of all sizes are increasingly struggling to attract and retain talent, and turning themselves into “takeover targets” by not creating a marketable culture and office environment.

Professional Development Katarina Taurian 03 November 2016
— 1 minute read

Research is increasingly finding that accountants, particularly Millennials and Generation Y, are becoming less sticky with their employers, and further, aren’t particularly enticed by the traditional end goals of becoming a partner or owner of a firm.


Speaking to AccountantsDaily, Mike McHenry, director at Superannuation Advisors Australia, said accounting firms across Australia are increasingly turning themselves into “takeover targets” by not paying attention to the value that the new breed of accounting professionals place on culture.

Mr McHenry, who has consulting experience in change and cultural management in professional services firms, believes the culture of a firm has a direct impact on its bottom line.

“To grow your firm you need a good product, good systems and processes, and a good team who really wants to be there. That’s the only way it grows,” Mr McHenry said.

Firms that don’t understand this will struggle to hold onto staff, because other firms are becoming increasingly proactive in recruiting and being attractive to candidates, he added.

“Staff want to know what their overall role is in the company’s game plan. The team needs to know every day what they’re contributing towards, because they want to have a win as well,” he said.

“Culture starts from the top. Accounting firms and principals need to be more transparent, show staff what they are working towards. You won’t believe the difference it makes.”

Similarly, MWM Advisory recently publicly stressed the importance of creating an attractive career and environment proposition for new recruits.

“Accounting culture has always been based on getting into a big four firm and building your career, but the pathways are now completely different,” said senior accountant at MWM Advisory Eleri Charlton.

“The industry is changing and I want to be working for a company that is looking towards the future and providing a level of care clients can rely on.”

Accounting firms becoming ‘takeover targets’
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