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Steps to Developing Senior Tax Associates

While there may not be an easy solution to the lack of senior tax talent,
there are a few things a company can do to help alleviate the problem.

Here are a few suggestions.

Consider conducting joint training with other CPA firms of similar size. Joint training helps to spread the cost around, making it more efficient for all firms involved. Joint training can also add significant benefits or drawbacks – depending on how the firm thinks. For example:

  • Does the mixing of young talent increase the chance of switching jobs? Some firms feel that the added networking gives young workers more opportunities.
  • Perhaps we should assume that many of these staff members may already know each other. They may have attended school together or attended various CPE seminars presented by the AICPA or various State Societies. If they already know each other, joint training sessions may actually take the mystery out of working for another firm.
  • They “know” each other through the internet. These young professionals may already know each other through social media sites, such as Facebook, so attending a joint training session does not introduce them to anyone new.

Put more effort into the professional development of young talent. Young workers are ambitious. It’s important then, to pay better attention to their career ambitions, needs and wishes. Here are some of the issues that seem important to members of Generation Y:

  • They want a work life balance. While young workers are generally not afraid to work hard, they often have a balanced attitude about life in general. Working for long periods of time, spending too many hours in the office, may prevent these workers from having their desired quality of life.
  • They want to be challenged. Working their way up to new levels, new responsibilities, is important to most of these workers.
  • If they like and respect you, they will work longer and harder. Not unlike many of us, our passions often dictate our work ethic.
  • They like technology and the efficiencies it provides. If your firm is not using current technology, you will probably lose them no matter how well you train or pay them.
  • They want to feel part of something meaningful; it is just not the paycheck. Again, it’s the passion showing through.

What do you think? What other ways can the public accounting profession ensure that there is an adequate supply of senior tax associates in the pipeline? Does your firm have a solution? Are you doing something in particular to build or nurture this talent. We’d love to hear from you. Please email me and give me your feedback. Let me know if I can share it in a later newsletter.