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Small and medium sized practices must ‘offer the whole package’ says global study


14 Nov 2017


Euro & Finance
Social Europe & Jobs

Ambitious young professionals working in small and medium sized practices (SMPs) are seeking out professional development opportunities and greater career progression, according to a global study from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

ACCA’s Generation Next – Managing Talent in Small and Medium Practices (SMPs) uncovered:

  • 88% are focussed on attaining a more senior position in their next move or later on
  • 63% expect they will have to move outside their current organisation to achieve this.
  • 47% see a lack of available roles as the largest barrier to their career progression.

The research takes a closer look at the aspirations of younger finance professionals working in SMPs and builds on ACCA’s Generation Next survey, which polled close to 19,000 professionals under the age of 36.

Across the profession, opportunities for growth and development are top attraction and retention factors; however these are perceived to be limited in the SMP sector, indicating a potential risk for talent deficit in the long-run.

Ben Baruch, Head of SME Policy, said: ‘These trends clearly have implications and place new pressures on SMPs to rethink how they attract, develop, and retain young talent. Employers must acknowledge that this goes beyond the pay cheque; it’s the whole package that matters.

‘For Generation Next, the key to retention is development: 93% agree that the availability of opportunities to learn and develop skills is key to remaining with an employer. They are nearly split on whether those development opportunities are available at their SMP: 41% say their employer does not have enough roles available to allow for career progression, and 34% say their employer offers insufficient opportunity to achieve career goals.’

‘The aspirations of younger professionals working in SMPs are focused on gaining more seniority and leading a team within finance. 83% of Generation Next professionals working in SMPs believe that a finance career background will be valuable for business leaders in future’ concluded Baruch. ‘On-the-job training and mentoring are seen as the most effective learning activities. If employers are to retain the best and brightest, they must look to develop effective talent management strategies that are suited for a generation with ambition.’

Looking long-term, technology is reinventing the SMP service offering and is expected to be a game changer for the profession. Unsurprisingly, half of respondents agree that technology will replace many entry level roles from the profession. 38% of young professionals in the sector see technology as an opportunity to focus on higher-value activity.

Generation Next – Managing Talent in Small and Medium Practices (SMPs) is the second of a four-part series of reports that brings deeper talent insights into specific sectors across the profession, offering guidance to attract, engage and retain future finance talent around the world.


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For media enquiries, contact:

Monique McKenzie, ACCA Newsroom
T: +44 (0)20 7059 5030
M: +44 (0)7725 613 447
Twitter @ACCANews


About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 198,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centres and 7,291 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. More information is here: