Winning the War on Talent: Recap of the Closing Session at the Financial Strategic Leadership Conference by Guest Blogger Mark Goldman, CPA

On May 10, I was honored to be on the panel at the Financial Strategic Leadership Conference hosted by TXCPA San Antonio and the TXCPA CPE Foundation, speaking on the topic of “Winning the War on Talent.” Recruiting experts Nancy Ozuna and Anna-Marie Parker from BKD joined in, as well.

One of the items speakers hope for at such an event is an engaged audience and we certainly were fortunate in that respect. The audience chimed in on several of the topics that were discussed and in fact, directed the conversation in many ways.

I wanted to write this follow-up as a way to both continue the conversation and bring some closure. It was a very productive session, but the audience was so engaged that we actually ran out of time to finish the discussion!

With respect to the top item that candidates look for during the interviewing process, the most discussed request was “flexibility.” To state it in even more basic terms, they look for a position that will fit in with the rest of their lives.

We all have other aspects of our lives that need our attention. Most commonly, family needs are cited, but our other interests, such as maintaining relationships with friends or continuing hobbies we enjoy, are also very important.

Job applicants in today’s market are looking for flexibility to be able to do an excellent job for their employer, but not have to sacrifice too much of their other interests in order to do so. While we want to be productive, it should not be at the expense of other important areas of our lives. We want balance.

Flexibility was, by far, the most discussed issue of the session, but many more were mentioned, including:

  • Remote work capability;
  • Faster growth and promotion opportunities;
  • Dress code that makes sense for the work day;
  • An understanding of expectations;
  • Meaningful work;
  • Feedback on performance, along with active coaching and mentorship;
  • And of course, competitive pay and benefits.

If I had to summarize all of this in one short statement, it would be that employees in today’s workplace expect transparency in how everyone is treated and in what it takes to be successful.

It’s no longer acceptable to be expected to act in a certain way simply because that was the historical expectation. We need to understand why something is handled the way it is and if it doesn’t make sense any longer, then we expect our organizations to be proactive about changing it.

I’m curious what you think about the list above. Is there anything you would add or alter? Please comment or start a conversation on the TXCPA Exchange. We would love, love, love to hear from you!

Mark Goldman, CPA

Mark Goldman is a CPA and the founder of MGR Accounting Recruiters and Where Accountants Go, and the author of the book “49 Tips for a Successful Accounting Career.”

Goldman graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. He worked in public accounting handling tax and general business consulting, and then entered the recruiting industry in 1993. In late 2006, he started MGR Accounting Recruiters, a locally focused recruiting firm specializing solely in accounting placement, and then 10 years later in 2016, he founded, a career website for accountants. In conjunction with that effort, he hosts the weekly “Life in Accounting” podcast.

He has served on the local board of directors for TXCPA San Antonio in several positions, including being a past-president, as well as on the state-level TXCPA board. In addition, he has been involved at both the committee level and board level in other accounting-related organizations, such as the Institute of Management Accountants, Financial Executives International and the American Payroll Association. He has also led the career transition ministry at his church.

On a personal level, Goldman was fortunate enough to be able to marry his high school sweetheart, Sayuki, and they are blessed to have a daughter.


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