Technology is driving a once-in-a-generation shift in the accounting industry. It’s sparking a level of change which means firms of all sizes are having to determine how to keep up with the new expectations being placed on them by clients.
A key element of that transition, which accounting firms need to consider, is how to cultivate
the next set of leaders in their operations. Especially as technology continues to extend the boundaries of how many clients firms can help and broadens the types of services they can offer.
Here are a few ways to bolster your firm’s leadership bench so you’re ready for the transformations that are already starting to happen in the accounting industry.
Look a little wider. Cloud accounting software is automating many of the paper-shuffling tasks which once ate away at an accountant’s time. This means accounting firms are increasingly able to take on advisory roles within the small businesses they service. Because of this, you should have employees who not only understand the numbers and accounting compliance practices, but also general business growth principles and how technology can enable the process. Investing in “digital natives” can help you build out those strategic advisory services. If coming out of school, look for recruits who may come from a family business background or worked in small businesses through school.
Be more flexible. Offering flexible working arrangements, whether it’s allowing employees to work from home or on the run, can improve the tenure of your team. It can also ensure good leaders aren’t pushed out because their job gets in the way of their life.
Be open to new ideas - no matter where they come from. Be willing to listen to the ideas your employees have. Your youngest staffer will likely have a completely different view on how things should be done to you. It can give you a fresh set of ideas on your firm and help you flag future leaders.
Create an inviting workspace. Taking a technology company approach and making your office a beautiful and enjoyable place to be can help attract the next generation of leaders. While you don’t have to do everything Google does, it’s a great model to look at when establishing your own work environment.
Build a purpose. The next generation of leaders want to feel like they’ve got a purpose and are working towards a meaningful goal. Be clear when you communicate your vision with them and link what they’re doing with that bigger picture.
Building in future talent can add tremendous value to your firm. Thinking about it now, will help you invest in the right areas and people, to ensure you can tackle an industry in flux.