Accounting leaders talk strategy for recruiting and retaining talent

Accounting leaders talk strategy for recruiting and retaining talent

2022-09-09T11:02:48-04:00September 9th, 2022|Economy, Nashville, Professional Services|

Writer: Ryan Gandolfo

2 min read September 2022 — Accounting firms need to redouble their efforts to retain and hire workers amid a nationwide talent crunch.

According to a recent poll from Deloitte’s Center for Controllership, 73.7% of private company hiring managers say they are facing challenges to retain and attract talent, with the greatest need for “more headcount in existing areas where workloads are increasing.”

Invest: spoke with industry leaders in the Nashville market to learn more about their hiring and retention strategies in the region.

Mike Arthur, Assurance Office Managing Partner, Nashville BDO

We do everything we can to retain the people we already have by making sure our benefits package is competitive with the market. We re-evaluate that more frequently now. It used to be evaluated yearly but now it is much more frequent. There is such competition here in Nashville, so we are expanding our reach by looking in other cities. We recently hired someone who relocated from Detroit and someone from Louisville, Kentucky. Nashville is very attractive to someone looking to advance their professional career. Comparing Nashville to where they are, generally, we come out in a better spot. We are also looking at people who are already in our Southeast region, such as those from Knoxville. Also, we work with schools and advisory boards to find more people. We have a few potential employees who could work remotely, although most of our new hires are people who want to come to Nashville. We need to continue to bring in strong, qualified people to support our growth. 

Sarah Hardee, President, Patterson Hardee & Ballentine

We are changing where we are looking for new employees. Typically, we would do the standard ads. There are a few new websites that we have tried. We have not had a lot of luck from those sources like we used to. We are turning more toward recruiters. They are having a hard time finding people to put in front of the firms. I especially think that this past tax season is a great example of why we do not end up with more young people and women in public accounting. I am a bit insulated from that because my husband is a stay-at-home dad. The long hours in tax season make that work particularly difficult on single parents and women. 


Cathy Werthan, Office Managing Partner, Marcum LLP – Nashville

There are so many great opportunities presented by the accounting profession and we are working hard to convey that message. Even in academic settings, there isn’t an understanding of the shift to the consultative nature of our profession and it is up to us to promote the possibilities. In addition, our industry is working hard to increase diversity among our professionals. Marcum has a robust diversity, equity and inclusion program with a full-time director and we are highly focused on recruiting and retaining diverse talent of all kinds at all levels.  

At Marcum, we are reaching out to both college students and high-school students for workshops and internships, implementing programs for developing young leaders, offering the ability to become an expert in an area of their choice and incubating ideas to keep everyone across the board engaged. Our young professionals will be able to do consultative work much sooner in their professional life cycles than ever before. 

Vic Alexander, Chief Manager, KraftCPAs

We are doing a number of things. We are getting people in the early stage just like everyone else is trying to do. We have a summer leadership conference. This brings in 25 interns a year. We can hire 17 or 18 people out of that pool. We meet others during campus recruiting. We have two dedicated recruiters. We are also offering incentives to our already existing team members. Working through friends of friends has also been productive. At this point, we are trying just about everything we can.

We have so many dedicated specialties within the firm. We are looking for a special set of skills for each sector. This includes specific backgrounds and training. It is a challenge to find those types of people, especially technology people.

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