A NATIONAL survey designed to find the employers of choice in the accounting industry has failed to deliver any good news for local firms.
There were no West Australian accounting firms among the six winners, but the survey did provide plenty of insights into the secrets of success.
More than 2,000 employees from 54 accounting firms participated in the survey, conducted by Mustard Group, Hewitt Associates and the Australian Graduate School of Management.
Mustard Group said the survey was the first time the people management practices of the Australian accounting profession had been so closely examined.
It identified significant differences between winning firms and the rest of the industry.
The winners said ‘retaining talented people’ was the biggest issue they faced.
They also focused on differentiating their business from competitors and on changing technology.
Compared with the rest of the industry, they had much less focus on legislation, productivity and process efficiency.
The survey found that winning firms were more willing to share their results (including profits) with employees.
The leaders of winning firms were also seen as more effective communicators with their staff.
These factors contributed to a more accountable, inclusive and performance driven culture than other firms.
The employees of winning firms were found to have higher levels of ‘engagement’, manifested in their passion, commitment and drive for results.
On average, nine in 10 employees with winning firms were found to be emotionally and intellectually committed to the firm.
Mustard described this as a “simply stunning result”, given that one-third of employees of other firms felt dissatisfied with their work and indicated that it would not take a lot for them to leave.
Staff training and development was another area with significant differences.
The winning firms invested about $3,100 per employee in training and development, nearly double the amount spent by other firms.
They also used culture and values to drive performance.
For instance, they look for opportunities (birthdays, new clients, completed projects, etc) to celebrate with their employees.
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