Today a Principal told me of his frustrating experiences in not being able to attract talented Accountants into his firm. The longer I spoke with him the more I realized he needed help, but then it is going to be up to him to act on some suggestions I made etc.
So why don’t we shake things up a bit and suggest a way forward!
CASE SUMMARY –DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
- Typical suburban practice in a metro area
- Walking distance to public transport (buses and trains)
- 25+ year trading history of the practice
- Two partners (senior and junior)both work >50 hours per week
- Senior partner wants out in 5 years or less
- No organic growth has reached the ceiling
SO WHY CAN’T THEY ATTRACT TALENT?
No growth means no vision. No Vision means no journey for any talented prospect to “sign up for”. No prospects mean no exit strategy. Succession planning not possible for the senior partner, which means heaps of pressure on Junior Partner to buy more equity in a firm he does not want to increase risk/debt in etc.
LET’S GET REAL
I recently asked another junior partner if he would have any concerns buying out his senior partner if the firm’s profit was greater than $500K p.a. And of course, he said “no problem”.
So why do we do this to ourselves, give up on growth, stagnate, then become so entrenched in the firm that by the time we want to sell our firm really has little value to a buyer because the clients are all wedded to ourselves?
TIME TO GET A GAME PLAN FOR GROWTH
If your firm has stagnated then attracting talent is near impossible unless you get your act together and create a game plan for growth.
Growth is pretty much the answer to everything. Growth attracts talent, creates capacity and opportunities for other people rather than yourself which is the exact appeal to Accountants in 2013
ARE YOU REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT IMPROVING YOUR TEAM?
There was a time when I told myself I wanted to recruit “the best” but in truth, I was such a control freak I was not really offering opportunity back then. I wouldn’t listen to anyone and was defensive of suggestions made by employees.
TO ATTRACT TALENT YOUR FIRM MUST BECOME ATTRACTIVE FIRST
It’s important to be realistic about the current status of your firm. If your firm is not really attractive, then an accounting firm makeover might be needed.
FACE UP RATHER THAN GIVE UP
Too many accountants suffer from “excuses” and blame circumstances or others for their lackluster outcomes, rather than accept responsibility and accountability to make it better.