The competition for talented accountants is stiff. With all the regulations, changes in tax law, and the emergence of big data, financial experts are needed more than ever.
Unfortunately, most of the expertise seems to be locked up in big firms. As a small business person, what can you do to find a kicka** accountant to keep your finances in line?
It may not necessarily be easy. However, if you know where to look, you might be able to snag someone with loads of experience to benefit your company without breaking the bank.
Seek Accountants of a Certain Age
Many accounting firms hold to a somewhat outdated notion that 60 years old is beyond prime time for professional work. Mandated retirement at a relatively early age is leaving some practitioners with time on their hands.
Most are not ready to stop working and have built extensive networks of contacts throughout their careers. They have handled taxes and audits for decades amid continually changing rules. The fact they don’t need training is an added bonus. They can hit the ground running, ready to leverage their hard-earned skills on your behalf.
Christopher Petermann, a partner at PKF O’Connor Davies LLP, a New York-based accounting firm, told Bloomberg.com that he finds partners of some of the largest accounting companies—he locates people there who are facing mandatory retirement and hires them.
Petermann states, “The older people we are hiring are vibrant, with expertise in areas that can help us grow—plus they are helping train younger employees.”
“The older people we are hiring are vibrant, with expertise in areas that can help us grow—plus they are helping train younger employees.” – Christopher Petermann, PKF O’Connor Davies LLP
Search LinkedIn for accountants with the big firms liked Ernst and Young, PwC (Price-Waterhouse-Cooper) or Deloitte who may have retired, yet are still interested in continuing to contribute to others.
The benefits of mature accountants
Besides bringing a wealth of experience, mature accountants have confidence you won’t find in a new college graduate or younger employee. They have been in the workforce and understand how things are.
Many are not interested in climbing the ladder; they’ve been there and done that. They are reliable and loyal. Now, they are ready to use their skills to give others a leg up.
- They have numerous contacts throughout the industry.
- Their experience allows them to make decisions faster.
- The training they provide for younger workers is invaluable.
- Low absenteeism is the norm for this age group.
In return for such experienced assistance, employers should begin thinking about how to retain such superstars. For mature employees, pay and benefits are not the top concerns.
What mature workers want
Just like younger employees, a mature worker is seeking opportunities for development and learning. However, they have moved beyond the beginning training courses and opportunities many employers tend to provide.
Consider workshops and advanced training to help them stay at the top of their game.
Mature employees also require provisions for employment security and predictability. Layoffs are not the worry; they fear the skills they have may not age well. Like all of us, they want to know they are employable.
Workers who have been with the same firm for many years may find some of their skills need updating. Helping them acquire those skills benefits both of you.
Bottom line: if you need a kicka** accountant for your small business, you have a resource where you may not have thought to look. Retired accounting partners seeking a way to continue contributing to the business world are out there looking for work.
Competition is still stiff, but if you recognize their value, you could have an industry heavyweight working for you.