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Accountant CPD for talent retention

07 May 2024

Accounting firms around the UK are facing a huge challenge in attracting and retaining talent. The accounting sector has a shortage of applicants and respondents to accounting roles. In addition, retaining talent in your accounting firm once you've got great employees through the door is equally littered with hurdles.

The question is, what simple solutions are there to attracting and retaining accountancy talent? Whilst there are well-documented changes to your business including the adoption of hybrid or flexible working models and increased use of technology, this article focuses on continued professional development.

CPD can be huge in accountancy to address high employee turnover. Read on for more information on using CPD for talent retention.

If you are an accountant in practice or industry and would like more information about becoming a 20:20 Innovation member, why not book a free 30-minute demo with our team today.

The importance of employee retention in accountancy

Accountancy isn't the only industry facing challenges around employee retention. In fact, the employee retention rate in the UK is actually around 85% - though this fluctuates hugely depending on the industry. For accountancy specifically, the attrition rate for staff is close to 20%.

Add to that, in certain areas of the UK, and even anecdotally having spoken to 20:20 Innovation memberfirms, an accounting job advert may go totally unanswered. Areas such as Manchester and Nottingham, for example, have just two applicants on average per accountancy role. That's according to the Financial Professionals Index (FPI).

If your practice can't bring in suitable new employees, then retaining employees becomes paramount. Being able to showcase that your practice has robust training programs, cpd accreditation and opportunities for personal growth are key elements in your retention and recruitment planning.

Accountants discuss continuing professional development for retention

Job satisfaction in accounting

According to research at FloQast, accountants rate their job satisfaction with a C grade (73%), with only 5% ranking at an A+. Many responders indicated that they spent too much time on repetitive tasks and felt that they wanted a more strategic role within their organisation.

  • How can your firm ensure that your employee satisfaction is improved? Ask yourself:
  • Are my employees getting regular reviews?
  • Do accountants in my practice have the necessary skills to meet current challenges?
  • Does my practice make employees feel valued to retain top talent?
  • Is CPD important in my business?

Taking an evaluative approach is essential in order for employers like you to take more control of your employee retention. In addition, you can develop a better understanding of your current workforce and see how you can add benefits. These may include:

Delivering training for job satisfaction

In order for your employee retention to improve, your employees need to feel like a valuable asset in your practice. How can this be achieved? Well, ongoing learning opportunities through verifiable CPD training courses are a great place to start.

Training an employee gives them opportunities for professional development, career advancement and new skills. Staff turnover can be drastically reduced if you meet new challenges and market trends with CPD certified training options that upskill your employees.

20:20 Innovation offers membership from just £98 per month to help accountants and tax professionals with continuing professional development across various niche industry sectors.

Accountants discuss career opportunities

Key strategies for motivated employees

There are various ways that accountancy business owners and managing partners like you can address employee retention and satisfaction. These include:

Better onboarding for accountancy recruits

We're all aware that accountancy is a numbers game. Let's therefore consider ROI. If you're spending, in some cases, thousands to attract and recruit an employee, you don't want to lose them in the first few months. A great onboarding process with your new accountants, highlighting company culture, is a great way to ensure employees leave less frequently. Make sure you involve yourself in the process to improve employee satisfaction and make employees feel valued.

Accountant watching cpd training webinar

Employee engagement

Regular appraisals and communication with your accountancy staff will allow you to address issues quickly. Even experienced employees require regular catch ups as a key element in employee retention. Staff are far more likely to remain loyal if they feel like their issues are being heard and addressed.

Training and development for accountants

As the title of the article suggest, training and development for accountants is huge. Your staff will see more value in staying up to date with industry trends and expanding their knowledge base through ongoing learning.

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Continuing professional development (CPD) for accountants

UK accountants, whether newly qualified or experience employees, are required to undertake CPD training as part of an annual number of CPD hours set by professional bodies.

If you are a partner in a firm you may need to consider your firmwide CPD obligations. With further CPD monitoring set to be announced by ICAEW in the coming months, your firm's CPD training obligations will be looked at in more detail.

The benefits of CPD training for employee retention

So, in addition to being a great way to improve employee retention in the accountancy space, CPD is part of your practice management and compliance. Other benefits of CPD training include:

Create a positive work environment

Organisations who train staff in their current role with a view to future development will benefit from a positive work environment. Increased knowledge improves competency and efficiency, which can help with reduced stress and a better work-life balance.

New employer explains cpd importance

Promote lifelong learning

Promoting lifelong learning and placing an emphasis on education and professional development is a great way to show your commitment to employee retention. Telling an employee that you are training and upskilling them for long term leadership positions and career advancement is an excellent mantra for retaining top talent.

Support professional growth

In an industry like accountancy, where technology is becoming more commonplace and the landscape is fast-changing, the most fluid and adaptable firms will thrive. Accountants who are trained well have better professional growth opportunities and your bottom line will grow with them.

Interview with accountant

Improve your workplace training program

A great CPD training program is a valuable asset for your accountancy business. As well as standard training options for an employee to learn their role, CPD training exposes your staff to a wide range of options that can help them plot a career advancement path and support lifelong learning.

Meet the requirements of the professional bodies

Professional accountancy bodies in the UK include:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
  • Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
  • Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)

Accountants like you should familiarise yourselves with the CPD requirements of your professional body.

Can CPD training courses be outsourced?

In short, yes, absolutely! Online learning and CPD courses are a popular alternative to in-house or face-to-face training. They tend to be more cost effective for employers, but also offer flexibility and convenience to accountants who can access CPD training and resources at convenient times.

New accountant recruit gets added benefit of cpd training

Can 20:20 Innovation help with CPD training?

20:20 Innovation are the UK's premier training provider for accountants and tax professionals with over 1,200 members. We can help your firm embrace CPD training for employee retention and by outlining that your current and prospective employees have access to hundreds of webinars and resources to improve their skillset is a massive benefit.

If you would like more information about joining 20:20 Innovation why not book a free 30-minute demo with our team today or call us on +44 (0) 121 314 2020.

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