How to get ahead in the war for talent


Accountancy regularly tops the polls listing the most popular careers for graduates and school-leavers. It is a career choice that opens many doors, whether in private practice or industry.

That does mean, however, that finding and keeping good people is a challenge. For firms, such as Kreston Reeves, that operate across London and the south east, that challenge is amplified; it is highly competitive, particularly in comparison with the global giants.

Accountancy firms need to think differently, looking to alternative ways to train and bring along talented people.

In 2017, Kreston Reeves achieved ‘Employee Training Provider’ status for its graduate and non-graduate training programme.  We are one of around 200 employers in the UK to hold this coveted status, and just one of three accountancy firms (the others being Deloitte and EY).

Every year, we recruit 35 graduates and non-graduates, and this status recognises the quality and success of the firm’s broad training programme. With a retention rate of 95%, staff embarking on their career clearly value the support the firm delivers.

The objective of our training programme, whether joining straight from school with A-levels or from university, is to take our 35 trainees through to qualification. 95% of our trainees achieve that on their first attempt.

We have shaped an independently verified training programme that is delivered by our own team and specialist suppliers. Elements of our training programme have also been accredited by the Institute of Leadership Management.

This training extends to technical updates and CPD, management and business development, personal development programmes, client seminars, and client training programmes.

Partners and senior staff play an important, focused, and supportive role in the development of our trainees throughout their career, as does our interactive and collaborative training programmes.

Furthermore, we seek to equip our staff with the full range of skills needed to deliver consistently high quality and professional advice. This will include commercial and the softer human skills required in the environment in which we operate.

From day one, trainees will work closely with clients alongside senior staff.  As training progresses, the opportunities to specialise are provided.

Applications for the Kreston Reeves training programme are high, allowing us to choose from the very best across London and the south east. 12 months after qualification, 80% of our trainees choose to stay with us, and a third of all of our partners are home grown.

This success has recently resulted in the opening of our new, dedicated training facility, Aspire, which is central to all our office locations.

There are many ways for accountancy firms to differentiate themselves, and one way is through the recruitment, training, and retention of talent.


Karen Thompson can be reached by email:

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