Many firms just wrapped up another intern season, which for many is an excellent opportunity to identify the next generation of talent—or is it? As many know, the talent pipeline is currently not growing in size, diversity of thought, or experience. This can negatively impact the engagement of current employees, and deliverable quality and timeliness. As firm leaders, we can control only a few areas when solving talent shortages. Two specific areas we can directly impact are the candidates we are recruiting and the culture at our firms.
Accounting firms typically have a very structured (read: outdated) practice of hiring only accounting majors from four-year colleges with a certain GPA. As we will see, this approach can potentially hinder workforce planning efforts. As Client Advisory Services (CAS) has emerged, it has become evident relationship skills and real-life business experience are more indicative of success than a candidate’s college or GPA.
Thanks to evolving technology and abundant access to information, many leaders can teach accounting skills that open up the pipeline for candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in something other than accounting or finance. They could reasonably have an associate's degree, come from the private sector, or some other non-traditional route to public accounting with success. These non-traditional candidates may be mature in their careers and positioned to capitalize on their real-world business experience to grow the firm’s advisory offering.