Attracting and retaining Accounting talent

  • 29-11-18
  • David Landau

We all know that being a fantastic place to work plays a major role in attracting and retaining Accounting talent, but what do candidates actually look for when considering their next move? Whilst salary might be the defining factor for some, we’ve found that more often than not, it comes down to the working environment.

However, becoming an employer of choice doesn’t just happen by chance – there’s a science to it. Here’s what you need to know to ensure that your organisation is a place that will attract quality candidates.


There are two types of motivators that drive employees: intrinsic and extrinsic. The former are intangible, emotional rewards, that employees feel, just for doing their job e.g. through personal gratification or a sense of achievement. The latter are tangible company benefits that really boost the day-to-day enjoyment of the role.

For instance, some employees are intrinsically motivated because they enjoy their work and doing it well makes them feel accomplished and satisfied. Company engagement and retention are often linked to this type of measure, as the employee is gratified by the job itself and therefore is more likely to continue investing in it and the organisation in the future. It might be recognition for your efforts (even a simple thank you!) or coming together and celebrating the collective success of the team. When it comes to holding onto top talent, intrinsic motivators tend to be a critical part of the equation.

However, this doesn’t diminish the importance of extrinsic motivators such as salary, bonuses and other financial rewards. No matter how satisfying a job may be, at the end of the day, employees still want to be rewarded appropriately. The best approach to attracting Accounting professionals and holding onto them for the long term is to find the right balance between the two.

Communicating the goals and plans of the business plays a big part too. It’s critical to your organisation's success that employees understand the bigger picture, and that they know their part in helping to achieve these goals. After all, people will be much more likely to engage in something they helped to create!


Being a great place to work is dependent on a combination of factors, and it’s important to be constantly looking for ways to improve.  A useful place to start is to get insight into the company experience from both current and past employees and analyse all aspects of the existing workplace to identify opportunities to improve.


First, assess what the company culture is like for those already in the team. This is a vital part of the employee experience and also shapes the way people perceive a business from the outside. Does the current culture promote open communication? Is it a collaborative place to work? Is feedback encouraged and good performance recognised and rewarded? Your employees are the lifeblood of the company culture and will generally be able to tell you if anything needs improvement. Employee satisfaction surveys can be a useful tool here (providing you plan on addressing the feedback, both positive and negative).   


When it comes to marketing yourself, your own employees are valuable ambassadors and one of the most effective ways of strengthening your external reputation. Historically, it was quite difficult to gauge from the outside, but through social media and websites like Glassdoor and Indeed, it has become so much easier to gain insight into potential employers. Use these channels and showcase why people should be excited about joining.


Take a look at engagement levels. Do your employees care about their work and believe they are making a real contribution? Do they feel valued and are they proud of where they work? If not, it’s important to find out why and how it can be fixed.


We spend a large amount of time at work and most people want to be in an environment that is enjoyable. It also plays a key part in the first impression people get of the company. Does the office function well? Does it encourage communication and collaborative working? Are teams in the right place and are the right people and personalities working together?


Are your employees aware of the company's purpose and do they understand the role that they play in the bigger picture? Are processes in place that enable employees to do their roles efficiently? How can these processes be improved? It’s important for employees to feel that the work they do, individually, has an impact on the team and the business. This is where management plays a key role in fostering employees’ sense of involvement and value in the business – any mismanagement could hinder people’s motivation.


Career development and growth opportunities are important to candidates and employees, so be sure to review the training and development opportunities that are in place. It is possible to provide them without breaking the bank, such as offering coaching and mentoring or the chance to work on special projects. Can any improvements be made, or do the opportunities need to be advertised better internally?


Once you have a reputation for being a great place to work, the rest will often take care of itself. If employees love where they work and what they do, they will spread the word and help attract other top talent. Make the most of this by constantly looking for ways to improve, and you’ll be able to foster a team that is more motivated and committed to the business than you could ever achieve with remuneration alone.

To learn more about how we can help you reach the best Sydney talent, contact the Accounting Recruitment specialists at Richard Lloyd.

Further Information:

How To Motivate Your Team To Perform