Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Which Is It?

Another data point on staffing being the critical issue accounting firms face: A press release for the Institute of Management and Administration's Accounting Office Management & Administration Report says:
Staffing challenges are encouraging CPA firms to work smarter and more efficiently through technology improvements, and more CPA firms are moving firm administrators and other administration leaders into the executive management ranks, providing administration expertise that frees CPA firm partners to do what they do best.
What's that mean? Seems like firms are looking to redeploy their staffs so that the genuine accountants are spending more time billing and less time doing administrative chores. The IOMA also says:
Recruitment trends reported in the "Handbook" include using internships, flextime, telecommuting, and established relationships with local colleges and universities. Only 12.4% of the firms surveyed felt that offering a higher starting salary was a successful hiring tactic (my bold). CPA firms reported that flextime, greater involvement of staff in firm operations, more CPE, more social activities, and training in marketing and leadership development were the best methods for improving staff retention.
But: Contrast that with Robert Half's survey, which we reported on here, that found 37 percent of chief financial officers think compensation is the most effective incentive for attracting accounting professionals. It also found that the proportion of CFOs who cited telecommuting and flexible schedules as the biggest draw for candidates
...plummeted to just 13 percent this year, from 33 percent in 2003. Meanwhile, soaring medical costs are making the benefits package almost as important to job candidates as salary. While a mere 2 percent of CFOs named benefits as the top influence on candidates' choices in 2003, the figure jumped to 33 percent in 2008.
So, accounting firms are thinking flextime and involvement, while corporations think money and healthcare benefits. Hm. I'm wondering why the difference.

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