White Paper Overview: CPA Firms Lack Formal Staffing Programs

Few certified public accounting (CPA) firms have formal, documented programs for attracting and retaining qualified staff members a recent survey conducted by the Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Survey results appear in the white paper Best Practices in Recruiting and Retaining Talented Staff.

“Unfortunately, many firms believe that they lack the resources to implement a formal program. However, there are some basic principles that we feel can be effectively adapted by firms with fewer resources,” James Metzler, AICPA Vice President – Small Firm Interestsm states in a prepared statement about the white paper.

According to the survey, the percentage of firms without formal programs varied between 75 and 99 percent depending on the program. The survey asked 500 CPA firms asked whether they had documented programs addressing issues such as leadership development, generational differences and compensation alternatives for those not on the partner track. Questions were also asked regarding business development programs for managers and partners and the alignment of compensation policies with strategic initiatives.

“Smaller practices are in an excellent position to offer a congenial atmosphere and a high level of personal attention to career issues,” Metzler said in the statement. “Staff accountants at smaller firms get a lot of exposure to clients and often have the option of flexible work hours. Small firms should use these factors as a selling point in attracting and retaining talented staff.”

Best Practices in Recruiting and Retaining Talented Staff can be downloaded from the PCPS section of the AICPA web site.

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