A new report by ACCA and CA ANZ, Careers in small medium-sized accountancy practices, reveals how small and medium sized accountancy firms (SMPs) can offer great career choices for professional accountants in the future, showing how digital transformation and access to a network of talent are at the core of any successful SMP.

Among the highlights, the report demonstrates how the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of business agility. A majority of SMPs with a strong digital core have been able to quickly adapt in a changed world.

The pre-existing remote working culture has facilitated SMPs to shift to a 100% virtual environment, which has been essential to most during the global lockdown. This will also have an impact on remote mentoring and on-boarding.

Other highlights include:

  • Skills and attitudes for SMPs: Adaptability and the readiness to engage in continuous learning, openness to sharing and readiness to take responsibility during the earlier career stages, comfort with technology, critical thinking and entrepreneurial mind-sets were all key for a successful career in SMPs.
  • Brand targeting recruitment is as important as the brand targeting clients: Messaging for attracting new talent to SMPs needs to be clearly communicated, which is important for SMPs who do not have recruitment resources, where screening and interviewing can be time-consuming. SMPs have compelling stories to attract talent and the use of social media is proving to be a useful tool in recruitment.
  • Evolution of recruitment techniques: Traditionally, some SMPs still use psychometric testing or profiling, while other SMPs are embracing innovative practices, such as asking candidates to submit videos of themselves instead of writing a covering letter and submitting resumes, which have proved to be valuable during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Talent development and retention: staff retention can be critical for the smaller accountancy firms. Opportunities to progress and being able to learn and develop new skills are key to retaining staff. Building a continuous learning and development culture that engages and supports the workforce to adapt in line with business’ needs is vital to SMPs.

ACCA’s report author and head of SME professional insights, Aleksandra Zaronina-Kirillova, says: ‘Now more than ever SMPs need to show their wider contribution to society, and professionals are increasingly looking for more purposeful and meaningful careers, especially during the new Covid-19 era.’

Full details for the report can be found here.