A Message From Our President
It’s hard to believe that summer is already ending, signaling a return to school. It’s the time of year when we all become a bit more reflective here at Rudler. We review and refine processes, look for ways to expand upon or review initiatives that impact our unique culture, introduce initiatives from our strategic plan and, oftentimes, welcome new co-ops to the team.
Our firm continues to focus on innovative ways to tap into the pool of future accountants. We recently spoke with Nancy Spivey, host of the Northern Kentucky Chamber’s Workforce podcast, about the incredible culture we’ve created here that has, again, landed us on Accounting Today’s list of Best Firms to Work For. Landing on that list each year helps reiterate that we’re doing something right here for potential employees. But while culture is important, professional development and planning for the future is the key to long-term success in our industry.
Class is in Session
We recently wrapped up our firm’s very first Leadership Day. This was an opportunity for college students interested in accounting to meet with our leadership team and co-ops to learn more about what we do at Rudler. I attended, along with John Wood, one of our newest shareholders. John and I both began our career journeys at Rudler as co-ops and feel that if we can spark interest in the profession early on and showcase the rapid path for professional development we create, we may be able to better recruit in the future. We were very impressed with the group of students who joined us and feel hopeful about the next generation.
We also continue to look for ways to keep current employees engaged and open to growth within the firm. We’ve partnered with an outsourced talent and professional development group focused on helping accounting firms attract and retain top talent to increase avenues for development within the firm. We also launched a new learning and development program focused on providing junior staff with the tools and support needed to evolve into open roles we have at Rudler. Many of our younger staff members are eager to step up and take on new responsibilities and challenges. It’s amazing to see how invested the next generation is and it reminds me of my own professional journey.
The industry is also working hard to make accounting more attractive and attainable for younger generations. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) recently introduced changes to the CPA exam. The exam has evolved to better align with a digital-driven marketplace by placing a greater emphasis on technology and analytical skills. They’re also encouraging firms to modernize. As a mid-sized, independent accounting firm, Rudler has been fortunate enough to stay ahead of many of the large firms in this regard.
Fostering a More Attainable Environment for Learning
We have begun rolling out initiatives from our strategic plan, which members of the team across all levels and lines of services were part of creating. We’ll be deeply focused for the next year on taking a very intentional, focused approach to training and onboarding staff to improve the employee experience. We know that improved employee processes funnel into improvements in the client experience and we’re excited to see how that evolves.
Many staff members are passionate about continuing to build on our unique culture and feel invested in making an impact. Some of these employees recently approached me about creating a Women’s Initiative Committee at Rudler to provide additional opportunities to celebrate and elevate women within our firm. Others started a book club where members share recommendations for personal and professional books they’re interested in reading.
At the end of the day, all of these changes really benefit our clients because it pushes us all to grow and provide better and more innovative services.
Some Lessons for the Future
While talks of a recession have eased up, the banking crisis and how that might impact our industry and clients has become a topic of discussion. Work for many is not slowing down and finding the people to do the work is now the biggest concern for many of our clients. We’re having a lot of conversations with them about how to get creative to maintain profitability.
Our firm has always been focused on being a step ahead of our clients' needs. One way that we’ve been fortunate to do this is by innovating our services to support clients through rapid growth and supplement needs when hiring poses a challenge. Our Client Accounting Services (CAS) has been received well because we’ve been able to fill CFO, bookkeeper and accountant roles within organizations to support businesses temporarily or sometimes permanently. For some of our smaller clients, outsourcing these roles reduces costs around employee benefits.
Our team has also been discussing AI and how that will impact us and our clients. After all, ChatGPT did pass the CPA exam. While AI will never replace the relationship-building and strategic thinking that are critical pieces of what we do, there are some potential opportunities to leverage AI to supplement certain aspects of the work to help solve some of the staffing problems many are facing. Automating some aspects of the more analytical parts of our industry could provide us with more tools to deliver a higher level of service for clients.
With so many new things happening here at Rudler and in our industry, I’m excited to see what the end of 2023 will bring. We look forward to continuing to evolve as professionals and work with our clients to innovate and progress together for continued growth and success.