Best Practices For Training and Retaining Staff
Finding and retaining highly skilled staff members is a significant challenge for many audit firms. It’s one of the major challenges currently facing the accounting industry today as the older generation ages out and new accountants join the workforce. Losing staff members results in less consistency, high recruiting costs, and more onboarding time where staff members are not yet fully productive.
Additionally, to keep productivity humming, it’s essential to help staff members of all levels build their skill sets to grow with the firm over time. That’s why Bourke says Withum invests significant time and energy in training:
“We spend a ton of time and effort keeping our staff engaged, even our young staff. We train from day one with onboarding training that includes everything from audit to tax to technology…You must train staff in order to retain staff.”
When retaining staff, it’s necessary to create a positive environment that empowers people to reach their career goals. That’s why many forward-thinking firms train staff to be equipped for niche engagements and teach them about the unique issues facing that industry. Another best practice is conducting ongoing lunch-and-learns and making training available on-demand over the web so staff can refer back to it as necessary.
Standardize and Automate End-to-End Workflow
Another habit that goes hand-in-hand with staff training is standardization. Standardizing your binder and workpaper templates for each industry group ahead of time helps provide consistency across the firm as well as with the onboarding of new staff. Bourke explains, “A standardized binder ensures that the audit team doesn’t miss something specific to an industry.”
It’s also essential to maximize software automation capabilities to drive quality and efficiency. Jim Bourke and his team at Withum trust Wolters Kluwer’s Integrated Audit Approach for their audits. The technology pieces adopted by the firm include: CCH® ProSystem fx® Knowledge Coach, CCH® ProSystem fx® Engagement, TeamMate® Analytics, and CCH® Accounting Research Manager®
Read “6 Habits of Highly Effective Audit Teams” to learn more.
Read the white paper in its entirety to learn the six habits that serve as the foundation of audit consistency, quality and efficiency. Find out how Withum uses technology to complement those habits, not take their place.