In Pursuit of Profit
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So, what can you do to prepare yourself for the wave of turnover that may be coming?
When they hear about this trend most employers will go into “fix it” mode and ask what they can do to keep their accountants from bolting soon. Unfortunately, at this point there’s probably very little that can be done to keep them long-term. If the year-end bonus they just got wasn’t enough persuasion, any sort of incentive you throw at them is likely just going to delay the inevitable. (Plus, the quality of work they do and passion they bring to the role is only going to suffer further if they already have one foot out the door.) Instead, your best bet is to get ready for what’s coming next. Take the steps now to be prepared in case your accountant leaves so that you’re not scrambling during tax season to find and onboard someone new.
Companies that post salary ranges may choose to do so voluntarily, in the name of equity and transparency, or be required to do so by law. The idea is that by sharing salary bands job applicants are given a range of earnings to expect, eliminating the disparity that can occur when some groups of candidates are less likely to negotiate for a higher salary. Salary ranges should promote fairness and ensure employees are compensated appropriately for the value they bring to their employer.
So, why are employers and job seekers alike in an uproar about salary ranges? Let’s look at what has gone wrong and how both employers and job seekers can respond to position themselves well in today’s job market.
Of course, you need to find the right technical skills, industry relevancy and appropriate experience level or education. But there are soft skills to consider too, such as communication, creativity, emotional intelligence, maturity in their experience, and career goals. These soft skills are every bit as important because they can play a critical role in a potential employee’s ability to succeed.
Research increasingly shows that hiring people for “cultural fit” (seeking out individuals who align with your company’s unique culture and values) is an essential part of effective strategic hiring. My own recruiting experience backs this premise. Over my 45 years in the recruiting industry, I’ve found that the most important factor in hiring isn’t technical skills.
There is skepticism around whether special skills are required to recruit well, how much experience plays a part in the process, and if the benefit justifies the cost.
I’ve seen many clients struggle to find accounting help over the last two years across all employment levels – from bookkeeper all the way through CFO. I’ve seen new hires simply not show up for their first day without any notice. I’ve seen new employees resign less than a month after starting for other opportunities or just to leave a work culture they don’t like. Workforce expectations have shifted dramatically over the past five years and employers are struggling to fill open positions amid these changes. In fact, Manpower surveys indicate that 75% of employers report difficulty in finding skilled accounting talent.
I wager many of you have gone through this scenario: You find a job that sounds great and start the interview process. Before you know it, you’re multiple interview rounds in (possibly even to the offer stage) and then you find out that the compensation isn’t a fit. You’ve wasted your time, and the company has wasted theirs.
Scenarios like this are why it is imperative to get clear on compensation expectations and details early and often in a job seeking process to avoid wasting time. So, how should you think about money in your job search?
I discovered many parts of the HR world matched my interests, so I wanted to be a finance leader who had some real HR knowledge. I pursued an SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) designation, which required studying materials and taking an exam. As time passed, I realized recruiting was the part of HR I really liked because I am a lifetime connector. Fast forward to today and I have spent most of the past 20 years as a recruiter.
One topic that is a continual area of consternation within the recruiting world is job titles. Job seekers and hiring companies alike struggle with accounting and finance job titles. I’ll tell you why and what you can do about it when looking for or posting an accounting job:
Employers need to realize that they may not find an accountant that checks every one of their “nice-to-have” boxes, but if they work with an experienced accounting recruiter, they will find someone that fits their “must-have” needs. And, the sooner they can figure this out, the better because having an open role costs an average of $98/day, and rehiring an accounting employee after letting go of a bad hire costs over $50,000 on average! Therefore, to minimize hiring costs employers need to rethink their expectations around work flexibility, compensation, accounting improvements, and training when looking to fill a role.
Using a company with a niche financial recruiting focus ensures that they will understand the specifics of what you are looking for and have a pipeline of qualified job seekers to tap into. Furthermore, accounting and finance recruiters are more likely to have access to the right kind of connections to approach candidates that are not necessarily actively looking for a new role but would be open to the possibility of making a change.
That figure is staggering but let's focus on your individual calculation. There are many different ways to calculate Cost of Vacancy (COV), but it’s not just the dollars and cents of salaries and benefits that need to be considered (although that is certainly at the forefront of hiring managers’ minds). You can also put real numbers behind morale, burnout, turnover, overtime, and the overall attitude of an accounting or finance department.