The 5 HR Challenges Today’s Accounting Firms Must Overcome

Like all other companies, accounting firms face a wide range of challenges, particularly when it comes to the people that actually make up the business. Hiring, training, managing, and growing your in-house talent is a vital consideration, and it’s becoming more and more complicated as time goes by. Today, accounting firms face a wide range issues that must be overcome if they are to succeed and grow.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

The concept of equal pay for equal work is pretty self-explanatory. A position with your firm pays a specific amount, whether that role is filled by a male or female. Basing the salary for that job role on someone’s gender is against the law, but that does not stop it from happening. According to the Department of Labor, women earn on average 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Usually, the discrepancy between salaries of men and women performing the same jobs is explained away as, “Oh, he has more qualifications,” or “Oh, she didn’t earn the same degree.” Here’s the thing – it doesn’t matter. If they’re performing significantly comparable job duties, they should be earning the same amount of money. There is also a great deal of discrepancy between the earnings of those of different races, different religions, and different ethnic backgrounds, all of which amounts to discrimination in the workplace, and is illegal.

Departure of Baby Boomers

The Baby Boomer generation is rapidly approaching retirement age. Many Boomers have already passed that line, and are removing themselves from the workplace. This massive outflow of talent means one thing – accounting firms are going to lose key players in their businesses, and they may not have talent to replace those outgoing team members. This is particularly true for management positions, executive positions, and other key roles within accounting organizations.

Currently, 4 million Baby Boomers retire each year. That trend will only increase for the next decade and a half. While that does create a competitive job market, it means that accounting firms must do their due diligence when hiring new talent. It’s important to have the right onboarding, training and development strategy to ensure that you are bringing talent into the company that will remain within the company.

Harassment Remains Rampant

The workplace should be a professional, safe environment. However, that is too often not the case. In fact, harassment is rampant in today’s workforce across all industries, particularly where sexual harassment is concerned. As we move forward through the upheaval created by the #MeToo movement, the truth of the situation becomes more and more apparent. According to a story published by NPR, 81% of women in the workforce have experienced some form of sexual harassment. Those numbers are staggering, but there’s more. A 2018 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 46% of respondents felt that women were not believed when they claimed harassment, and that 50% of all US adults believed that men got away with sexual harassment with no repercussions.

Dealing with harassment in the workplace is a complicated topic, and not something that can be addressed through a single policy or program. Yes, your accounting firm must have a no tolerance policy for harassment, and there should be a printed harassment policy posted in your workplace. The right training programs can also make a difference.

Locking in Talent

This challenge touches on the loss of Baby Boomers from the workforce, but it also encompasses other issues. For instance, today’s workers are very concerned with ensuring that they go to work for a firm that fits their image of what a business should do in terms of corporate responsibility and being a good corporate citizen. They will often pass over higher paying jobs with less reputable companies for lower paying positions with companies that better fit with their vision of an ideal employer.

In order to ensure that your accounting firm is able to offset losses from departing Baby Boomers, as well as attract the new talent you need for success, you must ensure that your firm has a good reputation, and the means to attract top talent. There are many ways to do that, including focusing on change within your company culture to help ensure that employees love where they work. Becoming involved with the local community, sponsoring local events and sports teams, volunteering within local organizations and causes can all help boost your profile, too.

ACA Changes and Evolution

Another major hurdle for accounting firms, and one that the Trump administration is not making any simpler, is dealing with the health insurance issue. The ACA has been in place for several years at this point, but is now being eroded. Those changes can be quite problematic. They are difficult for your HR team and employees to keep up with, for one thing. It also leaves some employees without key health coverage.

In order to offset those changes and ensure that they are both attracting and retaining the right talent, and supporting their valued employees, many companies are choosing to go above the letter of the law in terms of health insurance coverage by providing protection for their employees. This may be in the form of lower deductible policies, reimbursement plans, or something else. Whatever the case, keeping up with changes to the ACA and ensuring that your firm is able to provide employees with the protection they need and deserve is crucial.

These are just a few of the key challenges facing today’s accounting firms. Large or small, new or established, accounting and finance related businesses benefit from advanced corporate training to avoid key issues that could stymie growth, profitability and success.

At Sify, we have decades of experience in helping organizations just like yours overcome HR hurdles. We invite you to connect with us today to learn more about how we can benefit your company.



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    Dina El Kharouf
    Dina Elk, Marketer at Sify eLearning

    As a leader in education, customer service, and marketing in the e-learning and EduTech industries, she has a breadth of knowledge that covers e-learning, learning management systems, instructional design, curriculum, customer service, business development, marketing and staff development.

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