Tax professionals
Tax professionals

5 talent strategies for great tax firms

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Managing talent is all about hiring talented candidates and nurturing them into valuable life-long employees, but as many tax firm owners and partners know, the devil is in the details. Each decision must help the firm move forward in its strategic plan, and every team member hired must enhance firm culture.

That’s a tall order, so how can you meet the challenge? The answer lies in the five steps outlined below.

Step 1: Focus on talent design

Talent development must be linked to the overall firm strategy. You can’t design a successful talent strategy without first stating your firm’s goals. Considering overall goals at the outset will help you evaluate your existing staff and assess new roles that will need to be filled in the future.

Next, think about talent development as creating an employee experience. The way people feel about their jobs and careers is changing, and firms need to be prepared for it. This isn’t about providing perks such as free lunches and casual Fridays, but about creating an authentic experience that helps employees feel valued, and that they work they do matters.

Step 2: Cater to your distributed workforce

If the past few months have shown us anything, it’s that professionals can be productive while working from home! Now that our profession has demonstrated that remote work is possible, don’t expect to go back to the way things were.

This isn’t just about your full-time tax and accounting staff; it also applies to gig and project-based workers who can benefit your firm, and people with experience in wealth management, marketing, human resources (HR), and other niches. Identify spaces and places in your firm where someone with a very specific talent can help without being full-time employee. This will be a terrific initiative for forward-thinking firms.

Step 3: Emphasize collaborative intelligence

With technology booming in so many sectors of the workplace, many people fear that technology will eventually replace human workers throughout the economy.

In reality, humans are vital. While technology can help us increase speed, scalability, and analysis, humans are required for leadership, teamwork, creativity, and social skills. Together, humans and technology are a winning combination!

To take full advantage of this collaborative intelligence, start looking for strategies that allow humans to augment machines, and enable machines to enhance what humans do best. Redesign your processes to support that partnership.

Step 4: Protect your strategic time

Does your team multitask? Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many people still believe that multitasking helps them be more productive. In fact, many psychologists believe that multitasking is impossible. Your attention and consciousness can only focus on one thing at a time, so trying to switch back and forth between the two actually hurts your performance.

If you really want to improve productivity, set aside time for your most important work. Make this time non-negotiable and free from distractions. Giving yourself and your team just an hour or two of laser-focused time will really skyrocket your productivity.

Also, remember that time management isn’t just about work. Make sure you build time into your schedule to unplug. This should be a firm initiative, not just a personal one. Allowing time to disconnect from work and properly recharge will ensure that when you are working, you’re making the most of your time.

Step 5: Track strategic HR metrics

Analytics will soon impact every aspect of HR, from recruiting to performance management and employee engagement. With strategic HR metrics, your firm can identify opportunities for improvement, and ensure the HR department is supporting the firm and meeting the needs of employees.

Some of the metrics great firms are now tracking include:

  • Time to hire
  • Offer acceptance rates
  • Cost per hire
  • Retention rates
  • Turnover

Start today

Following the steps above, your firm can implement smaller-scale programs quickly and cost-effectively, with the goal of growing over time. Don’t overlook the value of outside help for these types of initiatives, including a consultant or peer network. This will help you to start reaping the talents of cultivating your talent.

Editor’s note: Sandra Wiley presented this topic during “Transforming Client Success,” an Intuit® Accountants virtual conference on May 20-21, 2020. Watch the recording now.

Sandra Wiley
Sandra Wiley

Written by Sandra Wiley

Sandra Wiley, president of Boomer Consulting, Inc., is a leader in the accounting profession with a passion for helping firms grow, adapt, and thrive. For 10 years running, Accounting Today has recognized her as a Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting due to her expertise in leadership, management, collaboration, culture building, talent, and training. Sandra’s years of experience and influence as a management and strategic planning consultant make her a sought-after resource among the best and brightest firms in the country. She is regularly invited to speak at national conferences, where she empowers audiences with new ideas and a sense of humor. Find Sandra on Twitter @sandrawiley. More from Sandra Wiley

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