Three ways to keep ambitious accountancy and finance professionals

Karen Young, Director and recruiting expert at Hays UK Accountancy & Finance recently wrote an insightful article about how we can retain our most ambitious finance and accountancy professionals.

"Driven and ambitious employees are an important part of any organisation to help them achieve success. It is therefore encouraging that our "What Workers Want Report" found over three-quarters (76%) of accountancy and finance professionals consider themselves to be ambitious.

However, 37% say they are dissatisfied or indifferent to their current role, which could be a sign that employee movement is inevitable if ambitions are not being met."  So, what can accountancy and finance employers do to ensure they attract and retain the most ambitious individuals?

1. Be clear on promotion timelines

Accountancy and finance professionals are aiming for the top jobs, with 28% hoping to reach C-suite positions such as CEO or CFO, and a further 40% wishing to reach a senior management position. Despite this, promotion timelines are not always clear – over half (55%) expect to be promoted within two years in a new role, but only 47% of employers agree.

Make sure you put clear career progression and promotion plans in place with your team to keep them motivated. Interviews also provide the opportunity for you to showcase examples of people doing well in your organisation to help potential new recruits to visualise what success looks like.

2. Recognise accomplishments

However promotions alone are not enough. On their way to reaching the top jobs, accountancy and finance professionals want to be recognised for their successes, with 44% saying the most important part of a promotion outside of pay is the recognition and respect it brings. You can help employees to build their professional brand within your organisation by regularly recognising and rewarding achievements, such as through incentive days or team lunches. It does not always have to cost money, internal promotion through team announcements is another great way of recognising successes.

3. Don’t forget the training

Training is an important consideration for accountancy and finance professionals, as it enables them to move up the ranks by gaining extra skills and experience. 44% say that professional qualifications bring added credibility which is the most important way they support their career development, taking priority over such factors as allowing them to earn more (important to only 10% of respondents).

There are many ways employers can provide training support to their employees, be this through external training towards professional qualifications, on-the-job training or mentoring. Be sure to offer these development opportunities wherever possible.

By attracting and retaining ambitious workers, your organisation can enjoy the benefits outlined in our report, including a workforce that works harder and smarter and ultimately get better results.

Clear communication with your team is key, and recognising successes and supporting with training can help ensure your accountancy and finance team is motivated to achieve their best, and so choose to remain with your organisation.


Source: Young, K. (2017). Three ways to keep ambitious accountancy and finance professionals. [Blog post.]  Retrieved from: