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A couple of years ago, Forbes asked accounting grads at top firms to rate the quality of their training programs and employers. Unsurprisingly, the companies that came out well were the ones that carried the most prestige, offering the most lucrative, high-profile contracts and the most challenging, rewarding work. 

That’s a given. 

It applies to any one of the well-known names. 

In fact, as the researchers put it: “Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young are all nearly equal when it comes to perceived prestige… This year, less than a tenth of a point separates these three in that category.” 

What separated the ones at the very top was actually more specific – and less predictable. 

“I have all the flexibility I need to manage both my work and home life successfully. I look forward to going to work every day,” explained a grad employee at Ernst & Young, the accountancy services firm rated number one in the survey. 

“The hours are long [but] there are unlimited learning opportunities,” said another. 

And, even more tellingly: “It’s Big 4 experience without the Big 4 negatives.” 

Quality of life. Flexibility. Learning and networking opportunities. These are the differentiators that are making up top talent’s minds. 

And these are the areas that you can really compete on – even without the budgets of “Big 4” firms. 

How? By using smart, cloud-based technologies that streamline workloads, free up remote working opportunities and improve communication – and collaboration – throughout the organisation. 

Remote-working platforms and 365 Cloud Solutions appeal to digital native millennials because they suggest a better way of working. More productivity. Fewer frustrations. Effective logistics that means more of their time will be spent getting stuff done and making the connections they need to prosper – not wading through stuffy admin tasks that could be automated or simplified with better technology. 

They mean more opportunities for BYOD policies and offsite working. They mean simpler ways to keep track of workloads and manage data. They mean staying in the loop with company-wide developments and enriching their CVs with new technical and IT skills. 

They whisper at the idea of a better work-life balance, a more exciting professional environment, and the chance to learn from more experienced colleagues, even when they’re widely dispersed. 

These are all things that help you separate yourself from the competition when it comes to grad recruitment drives. All things that will capture the imaginations of the best and brightest stars. 

And, even better, they allow you to do all of this while saving you money and providing extensive business benefits across the organisation. 

You get to reap the benefits of a flexible, always-on workforce – and you have the chance to slash your infrastructure budget, cutting down IT costs related to maintenance and capital expenditure. You can provide faster, better service to your clients and add an extra layer of security to all of your internally-held IP. 

There’s a reason why the sharpest applicants are impressed by better technology: they can sense the difference it will make to your firm, both as employer and a service provider. They can see that the firms willing to invest in cloud systems are innovative and forward-thinking enough to future-proof their business. And who wouldn’t want to work for a company like that?  

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