Once again, Ron Baker and Michelle Golden are challenging us to “think outside the box” for solutions to creating (or recreating) the CPA firm of the future.
In their latest posts (see Stopping the Leak and CPE/CLE of the Century), they discuss the alarming rates at which young professionals are leaving CPA firms (and it is even worse in the legal profession). I think the word “alarm” is appropriate, and it is time to sound the alarm and wake up to the brutal facts of our reality.
In our work with our Leadership Academy participants and young professionals, we have found that we are on the proverbial thin ice due to several major forces and trends in business and the profession:
The most important leadership group in our profession right now is the group that is in the shortest supply — our manager / senior manager positions. These young professionals are, for the most part, members of Generation X. They are sandwiched between the partners (who are mostly matures and boomers) and the staff accountants and recent college grads (who are millennials). They are carrying the bulk of the workload and feeling frustrated with their current state.
Over the last few weeks of this summer, I have been working with several CPA firms, catching up on research about the talent shortage and working with young professionals (our own NYPN group and the Louisiana Society of CPAs‘ Young CPA Leadership Group), and I wanted to share my thoughts about how we can “solve” this talent shortage.
Bring your managers in today and get them talking about what they see going on and what they would recommend. They will surprise you.
You can start by sending a couple of your young professionals to Ron Baker’s latest conference for young professionals, The Future is Already Here … It’s Just Unequally Distributed. He will actually have a few young professionals who are living examples of cutting-edge professional services firms. When your young professionals return, have them do a debrief and discuss what they saw that could be started in your own firm.
As I said in the beginning: “Something’s gotta give. Don’t let it be your best people!”
Here are some examples of training programs we are running in CPA firms to address several of these critical areas, courtesy of our Business Learning Institute:
Contact our Customized Training manger, Pam Devine, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.