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Attracting and retaining top talent


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Attracting and retaining top talent

  1. 1. 100% Cloud – Your Action Plan for Success 5© 2020 Innovation Training Limited 2017 QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Panel Discussion Attracting and Retaining Top Talent Panelists Bobby Lane, Partner, Shelley Stock Hutter Jon Dawson, Partner and head of outsourcing, Kingston Smith Alan Hemingway, Owner, Hemmingway Bailey Nathan Keeley, Partner, MHA Carpenter Box Facilitator Chris Evans, Director of Sales, Intuit UK QuickBooks Connect London 6–7March 2017
  2. 2. Copyright Copyright 2017 Intuit Ltd. All rights reserved. Trademarks © 2017 Intuit, Inc. All rights reserved. Intuit, the Intuit logo, Intuit ProLine, Lacerte, ProAdvisor, ProSeries and QuickBooks , among others, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intuit, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties’ marks are the property of their respective owners. Notice to Readers The publications distributed by Intuit, Inc. are intended to assist accounting professionals in their practices by providing current and accurate information. However, no assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a client’s particular situation. Accordingly, the information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. Intuit, Inc. does not render any accounting, legal or other professional advice, nor does it have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Intuit, Inc. cannot warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.
  3. 3. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 1 Key Industry Trends and Insights • Evolving market trends are accelerating technology and the use of data around Social channels, Machine Learning, Ecosystems, Platforms, Mobile and Security • Making Tax Digital starting in 2018 is potentially the biggest compliance event in a generation • 78% of small and medium businesses in the UK have adopted the cloud • 96% of small businesses want more advice from their accountant • By 2030 the millennial generation (digital natives) will account for 75% of workforce • 70% of start-ups last year owned by millennials • Millennials are looking to find purpose in their work so values and philanthropy are important, they want jobs where they learn and grow. We must provide regular coaching and feedback, a company-wide learning program, help them grow their careers; mentors are very popular. They are looking for flexibility in working and approach. • 35% of millennials say they value schedule flexibility over pay (Forbes) • They are known as the job-hopping generation and will hold down four jobs by their 32nd birthday (Forbes) • Stats to support this below and see the report from Deloitte deloitte/articles/millennialsurvey.html# According to Jamie Gutfreund, Intelligence Group studies of millennials have found that: • 64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place • 72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor. • 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one • 74% want flexible work schedules – moving away from 9-5, blending working from home vs. in office, and flexible working hours and holidays • 88% want “work-life integration,” which isn't the same as work-life balance, since work and life now blend together inextricably
  4. 4. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 2 Questions and Answers Q. How have the industry and market trends made you hire differently in your firm? • Alan Hemingway (AH) – Still a new company relatively but having come from an industry background rather than a practice one, recruit on potential and ability to do the job rather than just on a seniority basis. Traditional practices go down the route of junior, semi-senior, senior, etc. • Bobby Lane (BL) – It is clear from the research that job-hopping is the trend. Previously we would look at hiring people we believed would be there for the long term. You now have to accept that some may have this desire, but for many they take a much shorter-term view. So we have to keep feeding the machine and ensure that those who are out of the top are replaced by a constant stream in at the bottom. This has meant a more constant search. • Nathan Keeley (NK) – More focus on IT skills and awareness of social media. • Jon Dawson (JD) – We are recruiting more people with data analytics and technology expertise, including coding, in certain areas of the firm. Overall we look for experienced business advisers or people who have the potential to build an excellent rapport with our clients, which is a change from purely detailed technical expertise. Q. How do you identify the skills you need today and for the future in your firm? • AH – CVs are important but we always look beyond academic qualifications. Candidates obviously need a certain standard of qualifications but we are not chasing the A* pupils. We recruit on attitude, ambition and most importantly, strong communication skills and the ability to become future business leaders rather than just technical accountants. We place great emphasis on what they do away from school, and any volunteering work is always a big plus because it means they think of others and those people come with communication skills. If we have a lot of suitable candidates, we will do group interviews with presentations and a critical thinking exercise involving a Kinder Egg and financial and operational information! If we have a small band of candidates, we hold informal interviews over coffee and cake at a coffee shop to see if they would fit in with the team. No technical questions, professional qualifications tell us this; what we want to find out about is the person and how will they fit in the team. We always have one important question in the back of our minds when chatting to these people, would you want to sit in a car with them on a 3-hour car journey? We want team members who want new challenges and not just from the technical side, we want team members who will become trusted advisors, no matter what level they come in at.
  5. 5. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 3 • BL – Recognising that the entrepreneurs of tomorrow may not have as broad a skill set as their predecessors has meant identifying potential staff who can plug the skills gaps in the management teams of those businesses. We need staff who have a technical ability, that is a given, but also have the interpersonal skills and relationships with clients as the demand for advisory services grows. • NK – Not sure we do or can due to the fast pace of change. I think we just try to be flexible to the changing requirements. • JD – The main focus today is to bring in the right people to match our strategy; however, we recognize that our strategy needs to be agile and so will our future recruitment needs. The main drivers for our skills requirements are the business plans for each team and office. Q. How are you planning to meet millennials’ requirements around valuing flexibility over pay and working in collaboration and not competition? • AH – We always give all the members of the team opportunities to do new things and early responsibility is very important. Client contact happens very soon after starting and often clients do not realise how young some of the team members are when they meet them for the first time. The team soon becomes the company experts on various pieces of software and everyone has a say in the direction of the business. This is easier because we are a team of 5, but I try to not have anything hidden or secret on what the business is doing or planning. A lot of the best ideas come from the team! • BL – The firm’s policies have continued to evolve with the marketplace. The partners of practices have to recognise the desires, ambitions and dreams of millennials and accept that their way of working in the future will be different from the team and practice dynamics of the past. • NK – More open dialogue and communication internally via the use of social committees and internal group for collaboration – listening to their wants and needs (e.g. we have just recently trialed a headphone policy for staff to have one headphone in during working hours). • JD – In our experience, we’ve found that a lot of our younger team members do value pay over flexibility but as they progress, this trend reverses. It also varies between teams and services. We have started to introduce more flexibility into our benefits but there is a lot more in the pipeline too, we just need to work out how to manage it within the business so we can share experiences and collaborate more.
  6. 6. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 4 Q. If 70% of start-ups are by millennials, how are you working differently with these clients? • AH – We try wherever possible to work closely with start-ups as much as possible and answer all the questions that they will have. As Trusted Advisors, that is not just on the finance side but also on key things they need to be doing in the business, such as marketing and social media, and we try to help them as much as possible by signposting them to good contacts to help them. Obviously technology is important and we always try to show them solutions with Apps and QuickBooks Online that can benefit them. The company has a very relaxed culture and all the clients see this, so for the millennials, we are not your typical stuffy accountants and I think they appreciate that. We do not get some clients because they expect their accountants to be very stiff and proper, but we do not recruit that type of team member. The team has a lot of independence and will often make decisions as they see fit at the time and that all helps make the team feel more valued. • BL – Practices have evolved over the last 15 years and will continue to do so. Firms can no longer simply offer compliance services and this is absolutely true for the future start-ups. These business owners will need additional support and advice in areas where they do not have the relevant skills and are far more open to outsourcing than any previous generation. • NK – A different package – Skype availability or WhatsApp as communication vehicles. • JD – The main difference is how we communicate with our clients and it’s not exclusive to millennials. One key change is how we present information, we rarely now send paper copies of reports or documents. We are open for business over and above the core office hours and response times are expected to be much quicker. Q. What new roles have you created in your firm and why? • AH – None as such, but we have a very flat structure and each team member gets involved in a lot of areas of a client’s work. I suppose we are more organised as client account managers than the traditional hierarchical, functional structure of a traditional practice. • BL – The key change has been in operating the practice more as an entrepreneurial business. How can a firm advise on areas such as business growth and development if they do not have the skills themselves. So roles that are commercially focused such as assisting with forecasting, business planning and business development have been key. • NK – Head of cloud, cloud specialist, cloud technologist (not sure of a better title), aside from this, other roles such as digital marketing would also be relevant.
  7. 7. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 5 • JD – The three new areas we have focused more on are business intelligence, consultancy and our own learning and development team. We’ve had very talented business intelligence people in the team for a while but we’ve recently separated the team and are building on the capabilities. Our range of consultancy services is expanding from HR advisers to risk and strategy consultants. Separating our learning and development from HR has also provided greater emphasis on our own talent development. Q. What benefits do you offer in addition to a base salary? • AH – Flexibility! If one of the team needs to get off early to go to a sports training session (have a very sporty team) for example, no problem. Some of the team are not the best timekeepers and we do not penalise them for being 10 minutes late because we know they will make the time up. One of the team is a Girl Guide Leader and in the January she was offered the chance to go to the Maldives for 4 weeks in August. When she told me about it, my response was, “You are going, now let’s work out how we will make it work for you and the rest of the team. “ August was hard for the rest of us but you cannot deny someone that once in a lifetime opportunity. • BL – PMI, bonus, season ticket loan. • NK – Overtime, bonus – annual and Christmas, cycle to work, childcare vouchers, IT help to buy, holiday club (to purchase additional holiday days) pension; more recently, low level health insurance. • JD – We have a lot of standard benefits including a cycle to work scheme, season ticket loans and a workplace pension, but we also have a comprehensive package that includes private medical coverage, life insurance, permanent health insurance and bonuses, amongst others. Some of these apply or are enhanced with longer service. We have recently introduced more flexible benefits and last year over 200 of the team bought or sold holiday entitlement. There is a desire to offer more flexible working options but we just need to work out some of the details to make it fair for all and apply it consistently. Q. What if any incentives do you offer your staff? • AH – None as such, but we try to have regular social events and everyone knows their opinion is valued. From my days in industry, I have seen loads of situations where someone is unhappy in their job and they are given a pay rise and 2 months, they are still unhappy in their job! • BL – Business introduction incentives, sabbaticals. • NK – Commissions on new clients or cross referrals, e.g. wealth management.
  8. 8. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 6 • JD – There are incentives for our team if they recruit someone or introduce a client. We also like to celebrate any success we have across the firm and that could include passing exams to helping win a large new client. It is, however, an area we are looking to improve on and we know we can always do better! Q. What impact has the acceleration of technology had on your firm and clients? • AH – Very early on I took the view that new technology was coming and so let’s be good at using it and making it benefit our clients. All of the team have the same philosophy and for us it opens up so many possibilities. I fully understand that technology can be a driver for redundancy in the industry, but let’s embrace what good it can do for you and make sure the team are experts in using it so we will be less at risk of redundancy. • BL – A huge impact! Technology is an enabler and has meant that clients are able to spend their fees on the areas of most value to them such as forecasting and business development. Automating the processing roles has meant that we can be more efficient in terms of providing real time information that allows clients to make decisions based on facts rather than gut instinct. • NK – Increased growth for the firm and significantly increased touch points for our clients. • JD – The main changes are how we communicate and the greater level of transparency; with some technology we are always open and visible. Overall, these are great improvements for our clients and, whilst we’ve had to adopt our processes, the speed at which things happen just gets better. One of the disadvantages is the sheer volume of software and technology we now need to have an understanding of, and it feels at times that we have become software resellers. Q. How do you attract top talent? • AH – Recruiting on potential and not just on achievement or current job role. Latest recruit is AAT qualified but never had a job in accountancy, but we saw their potential and we know we can grow and develop them. Hopefully we have a good reputation in the area now and we were in the top 100 Apprentice Employers nationally in 2014 with the Skills Funding Agency, and local training providers know of how we work and we often are referred potential candidates. • BL – We are able to offer the top talent a broad role. From audit to outsourcing, the team are exposed to all types of businesses and all types of issues. From helping identify the best working capital facilities for a business to working on an acquisition, our team are trained in such a way that they would be able to work in any business, whether one of their own or for someone else.
  9. 9. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 7 • NK – Often this is difficult, especially being in multiple locations where one may have a weighting over another – we have greater success in training our existing staff and they become the ‘top talent’ – often you can see signs in people as to what skills they have and which roles they are better suited to. • JD – Across a lot of our business, we do benefit from being a top 20 firm and this puts us on the radar for our graduate trainees. The ability to work with some large clients or move between teams is another benefit they value. For more experienced hires, the flexibility we offer can really help. Q. How do you onboard new starters? • AH – Make them feel part of the team straight away and on their first lunchtime, we either all go out for lunch or have a Dominos in the office. The quicker everyone gets to know them as individuals the better, all helps them to fit in. We also give them real work as quickly as possible, no “sitting next to Nelly“ for 4 weeks whilst they understand what we do. Drop them in at the deep end with water rings! • BL – We have used new technology to automate some of the onboarding process and make integration much easier. But nothing can replace a mentor within the business and a colleague who can show someone how it is done. Our training programme is well defined, from outsourcing team taking the bookkeeping courses to audit trainees on the training program. • NK – An induction process and three monthly reviews covering training on various software packages used and internal procedures and systems. • JD – All new recruits receive a broad HR and IT induction. We then have a firm induction every 2 months where we explain more about the wide range of services and share our strategic vision. Each team has their own program depending on role. Our trainee accountants have a much more structured induction. Q. What do you do to drive engagement and motivation in your practice? • AH – Involvement in decision making and listening to their ideas, which are often much better than mine! • BL – Every team member has always felt part of the firm from day one. The nature of our recruitment process means that we hire motivated employees who want to progress but also want to build relationships with their clients. • NK – All of the above – also regular informal reviews with our staff.
  10. 10. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 8 • JD – We do ask everyone in the firm to tell us how we could do better; we have an annual staff survey with anonymous feedback. This can really help to drive how we look after our teams and clients. There is also a large investment in our IT systems, premises and brand as we want to invest in a business people are proud to work for. Q. How do you approach career development in your firm? • AH – I want all the team to progress and become future business leaders. If they do not want to do that after a while, no problem, as long as they are doing a good job, no problem for me. If one of the team has the hit the wall with regards to professional exams, no pressure from me. The important thing is they are working well for us. Sometimes after a little time out from the pressures, they go again and pass. • BL – Nobody is held back! If someone shows potential in a certain area, that potential is nurtured and developed. One of our equity partners was invited into the partnership at 28 as his talents were clearly identifiable. We work with our team to identify their ambitions and goals. Some of our most talented outsourcing team members were school leavers who have been trained and developed over the years. • NK – A career plan for each member of staff, becoming more focused as they progress. We have just introduced a new appraisal system whereby, for instance, points can be earned for doing things well and regular feedback can be delivered. • JD – Everyone has an appraisal meeting every 6 months and a lot of this is driven by a set of core competencies we have designed for every role. The competencies are published across the board so everyone can see the key areas at all levels and know what they need to do to progress. Q. What coaching and mentoring do you offer in your firm? • AH – We have done business coaching before and all the team has being involved. If there is an opportunity for them to attend an event that would benefit them, there’s no problem with them attending. Giving them responsibility is the best bit of mentoring you can do. • BL – We are part of a training organisation which works very closely with our audit trainees. All outsourcing team members work closely with a manager. CPD is encouraged and we are always identifying new courses, new technology and new developments to help develop our team. • NK – We have a budget allocated each year to be used across our qualified staff. This is a mixture of generic course, e.g. improving management skills, as well as those requested or tailored more specifically to the role of the employee.
  11. 11. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 9 • JD – We don’t have a formal coaching system in place right now, although we do have a lot of training driven by our learning and development teams. We are implementing a formal partner mentoring system which will be rolled out to other levels in due course, but for now, we have informal mentoring of our managers. Q. How do you ensure you retain the best talent? • AH – Try and keep them valued as members of the team and do not be afraid to let them grow and develop with early responsibility. No strait jackets! • BL – Sometimes you can’t! If you take someone from school and they have only ever had one job, they want to try something different. However, when you identify the rising stars, the key is always to work with them, develop them and identify a path for them. • NK – Rising stars program where we have careers paths planned for the medium terms and indicate these to those members of staff it is relevant to. • JD – Having core competencies can really drive individual development and, in turn, promotions. We do promote people to partner level frequently, with two promotion dates each year. Part of our strategy is to grow so it’s not just a case of replacing retirees; we are looking to increase headcount. We also listen to people and try to address any problems. Q. What have been some of the biggest challenges in hiring or retaining top talent? • AH – Convincing some candidates that a small practice is a better opportunity for them than a big one. Having said that, if they cannot see that, maybe not the right person for Hemingway Bailey. • BL – The challenges are different at different times. When the Big 4 are hiring they tend to swallow up as much of the talent as they can. The challenge then becomes being able to demonstrate how an entrepreneurial mid-tier firm is able to provide a broader more commercial experience working with growing businesses. That may not be for everyone! • NK – Knowing what the role would entail in say 5 years’ time in the changing business environment – sometimes gaining initial interest for the roles. • JD – The recruitment process can take a long time to find the right person and, if they are joining in a more experienced role, the notice period is often quite long. It can also be very costly! Competition is high as there are a lot of good firms looking to attract new people. We are also trying to build teams outside central London, which can be a challenge as our West End and city offices tend to be more popular.
  12. 12. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 10 Q. What advice would you give to your peers in hiring or retaining top talent? • AH – Look beyond UCCA points and hire on attitude and personality. Spot those with “nous.“ • BL – Be confident and not apologetic in what you have to offer. The next generation of accountants and business owners needs help on how to run the commercial and financial side of the business. Creatives do not always make the best strategists or financial people, so show what you have to offer. Invest time in the team and show them you are a place that is going to develop them. Above all accept that many of them do not want a job for life, but if you find the real stars of the future do everything you can to let them know. Accountants are historically bad communicators; do not let that stand in the way of telling your key staff how much they are valued. • NK – Listen to your staff and be flexible when discussing their concerns and plans for the future. • JD – You need to be aware of what your competitors are offering and it can be difficult to find this from an impartial source. You need to listen to what your potential recruits are asking for and if you do change your policies, it needs to be applied consistently across teams. Finally, don’t rush to fill a space but instead make sure you find the right person that matches your ambitions and fits well into your existing team.
  13. 13. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 11 Tips & Tricks • Look for potential • Early responsibility • Get everyone involved in opportunities away from pure accountancy. We mentor with a local children’s charity and also speak regularly in schools for example. • When hiring candidates straight from school or college, understand starting at work is a big jump for them. • Don’t be grey accountants :-) • Do not fear technology, embrace it and automate as many of the low level processes as you can. This may allow you to generate more work, showing your client what you have to offer in terms of strategic and commercial support. • If you find the stars of the future don’t be afraid to tell them that’s what they are. • Constantly feed the machine! It is inevitable that people will leave given the trends in the marketplace. Don’t get caught out, have a constant stream of new people to replace those who are not in it for the long term. • Social media can be a good source of direct recruitment but it can be time consuming. • Don’t upset the balance in a stable, well-performing team. • Make sure any recruitment is linked to meeting your strategic goal and critically assess weaknesses and gaps before filling them. • Make sure any new benefits you want to offer are what your teams will actually value.
  14. 14. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 12 Panelists Jon is an experienced consultant to entrepreneurial businesses, advising his clients on business issues from funding and attracting investors, to preparing a business for sale or discussing its future growth strategy. Jon heads up the outsourcing team and is also part of the firm’s IT strategy group. He is the resident expert in cloud accounting and business software, always looking for opportunities for the firm to use new technology to support its clients. Alan is not your traditional accountancy practice accountant having worked in manufacturing logistics before taking his accountancy qualifications. He puts great emphasis on apprenticeships and giving the team early responsibility. Alan believes training as an accountant is not just on technical skills but also on softer skills, so he helps his team become future business leaders and not just technical accountants. Hemingway Bailey was the first winner of the QuickBooks Firm of the Future in the UK in 2016. Jon Dawson Partner and Head of Outsourcing Kingston Smith @DonJawson Alan Hemingway, ACMA, CGMA, MiP Owner Hemmingway Bailey @alanacct
  15. 15. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 13 Nathan joined MHA Carpenter Box in 2001 as a trainee and progressed through the ranks to partner. He specialises in offering advice to the SME business sector by looking at both accounting and tax solutions, alongside cloud software options, to drive efficiency. Nathan heads the cloud team within the firm, and advises clients on the benefits of cloud accounting, as well as the numerous add-ons and integration opportunities now available. Bobby is a partner at Audit, Accountancy, Outsourcing, Business Advisory and Tax practice Shelley Stock Hutter, where he has overseen business growth since 2004. He is a specialist in working with start-ups, growing businesses as well as helping struggling companies get back on track both in the UK and internationally. Bobby is a regular speaker, media commentator, BBC Radio business agony uncle and expert on professional new business and marketing. Recently voted the most influential source of finance news and information on social media. Nathan Keeley Partner MHA Carpenter Box @Nathan_Keeley75 Bobby Lane Partner Shelley Stock Hutter @sshllp
  16. 16. QuickBooks Connect London 2017 Attracting and Retaining Top Talent 14 Facilitator Chris is Director of Sales, part of the UK leadership team and has been at Intuit UK for over 6 years. He is an entrepreneurial leader with 16 years’ experience of delivering results, defining and executing strategies, and building and developing high performing teams. Passionate around creating value, customer delight and thought leadership to small businesses and accounting professionals, Chris is proud to work for Intuit, which is ranked #16 in the Great Places to work in the UK for 2016. Chris Evans Director of Sales Intuit UK @chris_evansuk