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What’s next for firms struggling to find people

Written on Mar 23, 2023

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

As firms feel the talent squeeze, many are leaning into better communication, upskilling and more to ensure their sustainability long-term.  

“There has to be a shift,” said Alyson Fieldman, owner of consultancy firm Rock It Results. “The question is, how is the shift going to happen? And with the current generation retiring, and firms, in many cases, lacking strong succession plans, there's going to be a huge crisis. And I think the firms that address that crisis creatively, and proactively are the ones that are going to succeed.”  

 Fieldman has spent more than 20 years working in the accounting profession as a strategic marketer and said the evolution she’s seen in recent years is nothing like she’s ever experienced. Marketing teams are shifting from marketing for new business to marketing for new staff because there are simply not enough people for all the work that needs to be done.   

OSCPA spoke with Fieldman and other accounting pros in the latest episode of The State of Business podcast this week, part of a new series focused on workforce development. Along with searching for new talent, firms are working harder than ever before to retain and upskill their current staff. Steve Black, HR manager at Brixey & Meyer, said his firm has worked on embracing a coaching culture and creating an environment where employees can feel comfortable asking questions as they learn new things and grow in their careers.  

“What we really believe is that if you can instill this coaching culture where you're having proactive discussions on a regular basis with employees, you're going to create this safer place where it becomes an expectation for you to raise your hand and ask questions,” he said.  

He mentioned that firms can sometimes get “shiny ball syndrome” and begin chasing the trendy skills over what will be meaningful long term. And while it’s important to keep an eye on trends, jumping from one area to the next won’t be sustainable in the long term.  

“The companies that are taking a holistic approach are going to win,” he said. “And the ones that are just talking about trying the new flavor of the week, they're going to exhaust themselves.”   

Listen to last week’s episode on what workforce development and the talent crisis mean for the profession.  

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