Mentoring Part of Recruiting and Retaining, Too

BY BARRY SALZBERG


Recruiting (and Retaining) the Next Generation Accountant” (April 08, page 60) intrigued me. The authors, Kent State faculty members, clearly understand the challenges involved in recruiting the next generation of accountants. They also discuss many ways in which academia and the profession can work together while young people are earning their degrees.

As important as it is for practitioners to spend time in the classroom talking about the ever-expanding opportunities in the profession, it may be even more important for us to develop personal mentoring relationships with accounting students and accounting professionals. I believe the people who stay (and excel) in our profession are the ones who have a reliable, experienced and engaged mentor. That was certainly the case for me.

The work that Kent State and other colleges and universities are doing ensures that scores of bright, well-educated students graduate from their accounting programs every year. But once these young people begin their careers, the responsibility falls on businesses and professional services organizations to keep them engaged and motivated. And that is a far greater proposition today than it was when I was starting out, 30-some years ago.

The nature of our workforce is changing, challenging our conventional ways of thinking. To meet the evolving demands of this workforce, we must understand the priorities of our newest workers—both as a group and as individuals—and develop ways to enhance their work experiences. This includes challenging them with new opportunities as well as helping them carve out individualized career paths and finding the appropriate career/life fit.

Perhaps most important of all, we must ensure that our organizations live and breathe the strong ethical values they espouse. Attracting professionals who are already aligned with our values will result in higher retention rates and better opportunities for all.

This is an exciting time to begin an accounting career. At Deloitte, our top priority is to ensure that once young people begin in the profession, they stay—and grow—with us for the long term.

Barry Salzberg, CPA
CEO, Deloitte LLP
New York   

 

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