Accountants are pivotal to any business, so it can be alarming to find out yours is planning to leave.
Good accountants are in demand – and they are frequently recruited onto more significant projects or with companies who can offer better career progressions.
And as a specialist recruiter, I find that many of the accountants I deal with also cite personal reasons such as starting a family or reducing their hours as the driver for wanting to change jobs.
If your accountant is about to resign, the chances are you won’t be aware of their plans until they hand in their notice, but if you don’t want to lose your star performer, there are tell-tale signs to look out for that indicate they are about to leave.
In this article, I will look at the warning signs and at some of the ways you might be able to encourage them to stay and enable you to retain your top employees.
1. Their Performance Level Drops
One of the first vital signs that your accountant is not happy in their work is usually a drop in performance levels.
This could manifest as small inaccuracies in data production, missed deadlines or less detail in the reports they provide.
It could be that your employee is becoming unhappy in their work and thinking about looking elsewhere for a new accountancy role, or it could be they have already started actively seeking alternative employment and have mentally checked out from your business.
Either way, it’s critical if you notice this sign to talk to them. Regular check–ins, short informal reviews and one to ones should unearth any underlying problems that can be dealt with.
Discussing with your accountant what they think about their work, any problems they may have and how they are handling current projects will help them understand that they are supported and valued.
It will also prevent negative emotions from getting out of control and alleviate any small niggles before they become serious issues.
2. They Are Working Unusual Hours
Is your accountant coming in late or leaving the office early on a regular basis, or burning the midnight oil long after everyone else has gone home?
Can you sometimes not find them in the office during the day? Or perhaps they have started taking an unusual amount of sick leave?
Although it‘s common to occasionally work longer hours, if you notice an employee starts to change their hours regularly over several weeks it could be indicative that there is either a problem with their workload – or they could be attending interviews.
Your employees are not duty–bound to tell you the details of their personal lives. However, checking in to make sure everything is ok is an excellent opener to discuss any erratic and sudden changes to timekeeping.
It could be that their late arrival and early finishes are because they are unhappy at work, finding it hard to get through their tasks or becoming apathetic towards their job – in which case there are steps you can take to help.
3. They Have Become Isolated and Withdrawn
While many accountants are not necessarily known for their extravert behaviour in the office, it is still possible for an observant employer to notice when a team member has become withdrawn.
Possible reasons for withdrawal could be personal issues, stress due to an overwhelm of work, or it could be that they have become disengaged with your company and are thinking of moving on.
Talking to your accountant to see if you can help is the first step. If they have work–related issues, you can help them with this, such as by re-allocating non-essential work or helping them prioritise.
An employee who continues to be withdrawn may have other issues they are dealing with that are out of your remit to help.
Or it could be that they tell you everything is fine, but it clearly isn’t. In which case, are they telling other colleagues that they are unhappy at work and have you just not been listening?
4. They Have Voiced Their Thoughts
It’s often the case that the employee who leaves has been voicing their concerns for some time, but their manager simply hasn’t been listening or appreciated the underlying issue going on.
For example, has your accountant offered solutions to problems that have been ignored?
Maybe they voiced their concerns over filing processes and suggested new options, but nothing was ever done about it?
Employers who don’t pay attention to the needs and wellbeing of their staff are making a critical mistake.
Two-way transparent conversations are needed to ensure you keep the team onboard. And employees who are using systems every day are often the ones to spot ways to improve the process – so make sure you listen to your employee’s suggestions, concerns and ideas to make sure you know what they are thinking!
5. Their Personal Situation Has Changed
Finally, if your accountant has some life changes to deal with, there may not be much you can do.
Sometimes changes in personal circumstances may force your star accountant to re-evaluate their career options. They may not necessarily want to resign, but significant changes in their home life may make this their only solution.
If your star accountant is planning to resign, there may be ways you can avoid them leaving your organisation.
Active listening is key to avoiding the surprise resignation letter. By initiating a conversation, you can confirm if, indeed, they are seeking a new job opportunity.
If you want them to stay, you could then find ways to improve their situation at work and address any issues they may have.
By noticing and acting on the warning signs, you could empower your star accountant and help them stay in your business and thrive.
However, sometimes even when you have recognised the warning signs, you will not be able to prevent your top accountant from leaving to progress their career elsewhere.
If you need help locating talented accountants or building a talent pipeline so you always have potential candidates for future roles, get in touch with Rebus Financial Recruitment or call us on 01282 930930 today to discuss how we can help you.
About Rebus Financial Recruitment
Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from a wide variety of organisations including SME’s to large PLCs.
We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs; and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930.