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Former CPA president offers staff retention advice

Miranda Brownlee
13 August 2015 — 1 minute read

Smaller SMSF practices may struggle to compete with large companies on salary, but they can still retain good staff by offering flexibility and specialist training tailored to individuals, says a former CPA president.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, former president for the NSW division of CPA Australia, Peter Knight of Knight Partners said smaller SMSF firms that are positioned in the market as boutique or niche tend to be able to provide more specialised training.

“They provide specialist training to the staff member so that they can provide the services of the firm, so this allows [the staff member] to become a little bit more niche and specialist from the training rather than [receiving] the standard training that all accountants get,” said Mr Knight.


Smaller firms can also enjoy an advantage over larger ones since the training can be more “personalised and more closely tied to the aspirations of the staff member” and the workplace can offer greater flexibility, according to Mr Knight.

“If a staff member has children in school and they need to have time off to go to canteen duty or sports carnivals and things like that, I know that large firms struggle to give some of that flexibility,” he said.

Kim Payne, managing director of 9rok Consulting, said practice principals can sometimes mistakenly gain the impression that money is the only motivator.

“People typically don’t move just because of money, unless it’s an absolutely absurd difference in the amount they’re going to earn,” said Ms Payne.

“If you’ve got staff that are looked after, they’re invested in, they’ve got a chance to do meaningful work and a future career in front of them, and it’s meeting all their emotional and psychological needs, then even if someone came to them with a better financial deal, they’re typically not going to accept it.”

Ms Payne said practice principals need to spend time considering exactly why their staff get out of bed every morning to come to the office.

Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee


Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.

Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years. 

Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.

You can email Miranda on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Former CPA president offers staff retention advice
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