retaining employees after cpa firm ownership transitionThe transition after the purchase of a CPA firm can involve many moving pieces. One of the biggest considerations is the employees and how to keep the best talent while also growing and transitioning the firm to new ownership. New owners are often faced with employees moving to new firms. However, understanding what employees are looking for can help new owners develop a firm where people want to work.

Here are five qualities from CPA firms people want to work for that can be applied to all firms:

Culture of Quality Work

Employees want to work for a CPA firm where quality work is expected. One survey of thousands of accountants found that the top quality employees look for in their firm is that quality work is a top priority. Employees are satisfied when they work for a firm that not only encourages and expects great work, but also rewards it and understands the time and dedication it takes to do great work.

Employees are Treated Like People

Many CPA firms fall into the trap of treating their people like calculators or number crunchers instead of real people. A common complaint of accountants is that they aren’t treated like actual human beings. CPA firms where people actually want to come to work have a culture that understands and appreciates each individual. Employees are encouraged to showcase their personalities, and leaders and managers take time to get to know each employee beyond just the amount of work they accomplish. Employees want the chance to build relationships with each other, have fun, and make a difference. Create a culture where employees can get involved beyond just work and where they feel accepted and valued. 

Strong Leadership

Employees want to trust the firm’s leadership and know that managers and executives are taking the firm in a positive direction. In many cases, that means that leaders are involved with their employees and have good communication. Instead of simply sitting in their corner offices, strong leaders need to be open with employees, listen to their feedback, and provide inspiration and guidance. When employees feel they can trust the leadership, they are more likely to feel confident in the firm and want to work there for a long time.

Maintaining strong leadership can be a challenge in the transition after the purchase of a CPA firm. To best reach out to employees, the new owners and any new leaders need to be transparent and personable. They need to connect with employees and share their authentic goals and vision for the future of the firm.

Rewarding Work

Employees want to see the impact of their work and know they are making a difference. The basic accounting responsibilities don’t change between firms people want to work for and firms they don’t want to work for, but the emphasis changes. When employees are engaged, they feel their work has an impact on the clients they serve. They feel they are on the cutting edge of accounting and are prepared to make positive change.

Opportunities for Growth and Development

One of the most common reasons people leave their jobs is because they don’t see the potential for future growth. Employees want to be in a position where they are constantly growing and improving instead of just staying stagnant. The best CPA firms encourage that growth by providing opportunities for career and personal development. This can take a number of forms, ranging from regular training to keep employees’ skills sharp and keep them updated on the newest regulations and practices in the industry to personal development programs like fitness and mental health initiatives. People want to work for CPA firms that have mentorship programs where they can learn from more experienced colleagues and network with other professionals. Give employees a chance to grow within the organization by adding new responsibilities throughout their careers.

These five qualities of CPA firms people actually want to work for show what matters most to employees. As you transition to new firm ownership, remember to prioritize employees and connect with them on the things that matter most. Putting in effort to develop a great employee experience can pay off with loyal employees who want to come to work every day and stay at the firm.