How Accounting Firms Can Attract Young Talent

How Accounting Firms Can Attract Young Talent 2000 1533 Balance Point Team

how cpas can attract young talentCPAs from the Baby Boomer generation are getting ready to retire soon.

If you’re not quite at the retirement stage yet, you’d probably like to retire at some point and should start thinking about who’s going to fill your shoes when the time comes.

You might be a growing firm looking for more help in the office. Whatever the reason, attracting and retaining young talent for a CPA firm can be difficult.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) reported that college students enrolled as accounting majors was at an all time high. With the older generation exiting the workforce and the new generation seeking employment, there are certainly many positions that will need to be filled with a gap of people with the knowledge to fill it.

The conversation between generational issues are commonly discussed. However, don’t let the fear of hiring Millennials stop your firm from achieving success.

If you’re an accounting firm looking to attract young talent, here’s how you can do it.

Start Early

If you’re looking to recruit young talent, starting early is never a bad thing. Having a young professional in the office with little or no experience can seem like it’s more work than it really is. But if you’re able to recruit someone at an early age, the opportunity to mold them into the kind of employee you want is a big payoff.

Start offering an internship program to high school seniors. If you partner with any local colleges or universities, offer internships to those who have been offered early decision acceptance.

If you’re not partnered with a school, that doesn’t mean you can’t recruit students on your own. Many students are now trying to earn college credits, or attend a vocational school for credits towards their degree.

Offering real life experience gives students a huge opportunity to get their foot in the door, gain knowledge outside of the classroom, and prepare for when they’re ready to graduate.

That being said, if you’re not involved in a college community, you should start. Build relationships with student groups. If possible set up a table in the student center with information about your firm. Show students why your firm is different, thinks out of the box, and would make them interested in talking to you.

Maybe offer coffee and a donut to those who stop by.

Attend career fairs whenever possible and make note of students (if any) who repeatedly drop by your setup. Use the in-person opportunities to give some insight to your company culture.

Company Culture

Most companies have established a company culture and you may think you’ve got a good thing going, but it can’t hurt to reevaluate the atmosphere in your office and how it appeals to younger talent.

The Millennial generation is looking for a work/life balance. Firms that offer flexibility and comfortable work environments can use that to their advantage when seeking out younger employees.

There are a few things you can do to create a positive working environment:

  1. Have an open door policy between employees and management. Keeping the lines of communication open is important and encouraging employees to interact with their superiors and with each other creates a positive and equal working environment.
  2. Have a business casual dress code. When employees are comfortable they are more productive.
  3. Show appreciation for your staff other than salary advances. Keep the office fridge stocked with waters and drinks, give an employee off for their birthday, organize team events like a charity walk.
  4. Offer flexible work hours. This gives the indication that you care about your employee’s life outside of the office, not just while they’re on the clock.

The interview process can also be extremely telling for a potential hire. It’s a good idea to have the person you’re interviewing speak to different levels of staff so they can get a feel for the kind of working environment you’ve created.


If you’re a small firm, you might have gotten away with a lot of manual processes. However we’re in the year 2016, it’s time to make sure your firm is keeping up technology trends. It’s beneficial to you, your staff, and your clients.

Having technology that helps keep the staff more efficient and organized is a good thing. It also shows that you’re growing with the times and your firm isn’t falling behind in industry trends. Young talent wants to thrive in a company with a future, not a company that’ll be out of business in 5 years.

Individual Growth Plans

Millennials have a high expectation of professional development and typically care about their own advancement first and foremost. When you onboard a new hire, training programs are put in place, however Millennials feel as though their training should be customized to their own career development.

Creating a mentoring program between the younger talent and an experienced superior in your firm will allow for the new hire to have hands on, interactive training.

Millennials prefer to learn while doing. They like to understand how their work affects the company.  They think they are above sitting behind a desk and crunching numbers without seeing the direct effects and results they are contributing to. The younger generation wants their voice to be heard and ideas communicated to management for possible implementation.

There are a few ways to create this kind of working environment that best suits everyone.

Allow employees to work with different colleagues in different areas of the firm. This will help the employee understand all aspects of the organization and what’s needed for each department to be successful.

This does two things:

  1. Allows the employee to learn multiple roles.
  2. Retain the attention of the employee.

Having a well rounded employee who’s experienced in multiple functional roles can be quite an asset to your company. The employee will feel like they are apart of making the company successful and will take on as a part of their job continuing to make it so.

Build Your A-Team with Ease

Talent acquisition is more than getting people on the roster. It’s about building a championship-level team. The secrets to building yours can be found in our free resource The Ultimate Guide to Talent Acquisition. Get your free copy here >>

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