The other day I got a call from a friend that I had placed in his first industry job back in my Big Four days. (Yes, I’ve been doing CPA recruiting that long. Though back then, it was a “favour” when we did this and now we employ people to assist every day!)

He talked to me about a new opportunity as he had received a call from one of our competitors doing CPA recruiting. Our conversation went like this:

Friend: “It turns out you were right. I can’t take a job for a work-life balance. The work always finds me.”

Me: “So you’ve discovered the problem is you and not the job?

Friend: “Yes, I didn’t believe you when you said that industry would be as busy as an audit. It is. I can always find more to do and ways to add value. Now that I realize it’s me, I can make the most of it. I can find time for the family without setting unreasonable expectations that end up in disappointment.”

According to many studies, a significant number of you or your staff are considering a job change. These two articles discuss the upcoming trend:

I tell the story above because many of those considering a job change are searching for something;

  • work-life balance
  • work-life flexibility

Or more specifically;

  • fewer hours
  • less stress
  • more connection
  • remote work opportunities
  • hybrid work opportunities
  • more training and development
  • career advancement

I will give you three tips or thoughts to consider as an employer and three to consider a professional looking for a change.

Employers:

You are leading teams and you have a risk. Studies show that some of your best employees are getting ready to change careers post-COVID. Here are three things you can do as a business leader to get ahead of this.

1.Take a hard look at the ability to offer remote and hybrid work.

We are a “remote work from client” office at Amplify. Amplify has been researching and living in a hybrid office culture since our start. We even wrote some tips in this blog.

The two best ways in a pandemic to keep culture strong if you proceed with remote and hybrid options are:

(1) bringing people together face to face on occasion

(2) leveraging a collaboration software such as Teams or Slack.

The pandemic likely gave you a head start on number 2, and if it didn’t, start a strategy now to get ahead of the opportunity.

2. Don’t Leave People Behind (and often that means women)

COVID has had a big impact on women in areas of career. I’ve written about this personally if you check out my LinkedIn articles (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamielsmithcpa/).

As you look at how you set up your post-pandemic work, be sure to consider if the options you give have consequences, unintended or not.

For example, if you offer remote work, hybrid work, and in-office work, it’s usually only women that take you up on the modern and new choices so what do you plan to do to ensure that they don’t get left behind?

How do you offset the risk that familiarity, water cooler time, ad hoc happy hour or lunch, or just physical presence doesn’t influence your next promotion decision?

Or worse… your next layoff choice?

When you give choices or make changes to your work structure, there’s a risk. Identify those and mitigate them but don’t deny them.

I’m on a panel for CPA’s called The One that addresses this and how such changes can include Choices such as fractional, outsourcing, gig, and other modern hires. Check out The One for this topic and more.

3. Training & Development

I get it…spending more time on screens when you and your whole team are COVIDeo’d out is not that appealing.

Similarly, spending money on training and then having to do it over video while people

  • multi-task
  • get distracted
  • don’t engage or participate

can feel wasteful. You lose the chance to make training a networking or connection event for the team members too. It can feel like money flushed down the toilet.

However rational the decisions not to spend on training and development seem, it could now have a cost; the risk to retention and engagement is even more expensive.

 

Our Amplify Team enjoying some patio time together

 

Connect with our epic Team!

 

If you are looking for team training then bite the bullet and plan the expenditure.

We can help find you great facilitators; our connections work over video or live and adjust on the fly based on restrictions and regulations. We are also prepared to help you and have Amplify courses that might be a fit for your team.

If team training isn’t going to work, don’t let that stop you from seeking other options:

  • The One, which I discuss above, is on sale now and it’s got a great agenda for 2021
  • We host Aha with Amplify and the upcoming sessions are super inspiring. Your team can sign up here and attend on the third Tuesday of most months

  • We also have CFO Readiness coming for CPAs looking to advance in their career. If you or a team member wants to join a network learning course that will span one year, you can sign up for the waitlist here. We will address areas of development that we see when we do CPA recruiting. We know what CPAs need to move to the next level. This isn’t helpful for COVID though as it’s being launched as a post-pandemic opportunity with live sessions only.
  • I can’t speak more highly of Business Made Simple University. It has something for every business leader, including, but not limited to:
    • negotiations
    • personality
    • communication
    • productivity
    • leadership and more

The BMSU videos are well done, and the structure is the best I’ve seen. The cost is an incredible value. You could spend very little and show a true investment in a potential leader by buying them a subscription to this option.

Don’t deny you are facing a challenge.

As an employer, the stats are clear that you risk losing people as soon as this crisis is over. Get ahead of that risk and mitigate it.

  • Consider how you plan to structure work and start to collaborate or communicate about it
  • Step up for the ones at risk in the new structure and work with them to ensure they don’t get left behind
  • And offer training today!

Professional:

Now let’s talk about three tips and considerations to consider as a professional looking for a change.

“I’m retiring from being an accountant.”

“I want to get more into business and strategy.”

I hear this from my CPA friends all the time. And I feel the same way too! (My successor will be the CFO at my client by 2022. I’m hanging up my calculator for a complete immersion into Chief Experience Officer here at Amplify. Accountant roles are behind me soon, which is frightening!)

Whether you are a fellow CPA or a Business Leader outside the numbers, how realistic is this?

How likely is it you will move from being a department or function leader into the big picture and strategy like you say you want?

Moving from an engineer (or marketer or CPA or human resources) into the C-Suite isn’t easy. Getting a role on a senior leadership team when you come from a team lead job can be tough.

I’m going to focus my tips and thoughts on this. It is one of the critical areas driving the desire to leave for new opportunities.

1. Imagination

Maybe you have a lack of imagination? Or perhaps it’s just nice not to have to use it?

If you feel that you are just a “cog in the wheel”, chances are you are struggling to draw the line from what you do in your “silo” of a large organization and what the organization does to make a difference in the world.

 

Your “whys” aren’t aligned. (Or, more likely, they have aligned it just takes too much imagination and effort to see it).

 

When you work in small and medium businesses, this isn’t the case. It’s evident:

  • how you impact your community, including employment for others
  • how your role contributes to the purpose of the organization
  • where you fit in the culture and goals of the team

 

So if you are looking for a change and the ability to impact, you might find it helps to join a smaller entity. You’ll also be more likely to get a seat at the table outside your function. So as an accountant, for example, you’ll find yourself at the senior management or executive meetings discussing much more than numbers.

 

2. Strategy and Leadership

I’m about to get very, very candid here. I hope it is radical candor and you know I care personally. I also hope I’ve earned the trust to be this blunt.

If you want to move up, what have you done to earn this?

 

Sorry, but it is true. Leaders read.

The good news is that you can ‘read’ by absorbing in many ways in today’s modern world.

The bad news is if you don’t have time to make this investment, then you probably don’t compete for the job.

For example, as a Co-Founder and a CxO, I struggle with CPA recruiting because I can not hire you as a fractional CFO or a senior leader on my team if you don’t have strategy experience or training.

Other business owners will share these feelings about you as a finance leader or a business leader.

Nearly every client we have is dedicated to personal learning and development. They won’t empathize with your lack of time to read and learn. Business leaders have kids too so that’s not an excuse. These founders and business owners are busy with community, sports, volunteering, and more, just like you.

If you want to sit at their table, you will need to get educated on strategy and leadership. You need to make the time.

So, how do you get this done?

Podcasts and Audible – the listening medium allows ‘multi-tasking’!

  • Walk and listen
    • use the opportunity to take the dog and get some steps in!
  • Drive and listen
    • if you still can commute or taxi the kids around, then put it on while you transport!
  • Road trip
    • on vacation or a quick trip to the mountains to get away, listen with your spouse and chat about it!

Great Choices

There are so many great books it is hard to limit our recommendations. We anchor the strategy work that we do within Amplify and with clients on these three:

In addition, to help you educate on leadership and strategy, you can also take a look at my earlier list for training. Signing up for our Aha with Amplify could be an easy way to kick-start your learning. Business Made Simple University is also a great option to be a subscriber and learn. Or, join me at The One this year.

In fact, at the time of this writing, we are planning May 2021 Aha with Amplify and the topic is strategy! So if you register today, you’ll be one step ahead.

3. Call Ryan

You should call a recruiter that you trust confidentially. Understand the job market and get your name on their candidate list.

 

Within Amplify, Ryan can assist you if you are a CPA looking for a change. He can keep your interest confidential, and he can let you know what we see in your space. He takes resumes through the “Apply” link here: CPA Recruiting Services | Amplify Advisors™

If you are not a CPA, some recruiters can help you too. We can help connect.

Reach out to your trusted network too. Your friends and even your ‘weak connections’ can help you understand the market and where they see an opportunity for you. Learn more about how to leverage your ‘weak ties’ and how much value they can hold here.

So you are ready for a change?

You are not alone, which means it will be competitive in our post-crisis world.

If you are an employee considering change you can get ahead by:

  • Considering opportunities in the small and medium business
    • (Imagination not required)
  • Investing in your learning by reading or absorbing content and training on strategy and leadership
  • Contacting Ryan, an alternative recruiter, your network, and your weak ties to get started

And if you are a team leader worried that your employee is one of those primed for a change, you can take action too.

  • You can start planning how you set up your work post-crisis and how you will make it inclusive
  • Invest in development and training to mitigate the risks of losing the best people

People are about to be on the MOVE in their careers. For those of us in CPA recruiting, we are calling it the Post-COVID Churn.