Page 38 - BusinessWest May 13, 2024
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 accounting, getting Fridays off during the summer, or at least Friday afternoons, has become the norm as firms’ staffs look to recover after a long, seemingly never-ending tax season.
Overall, the biggest change is in how people communicate and
a resulting faster pace to the work, said Amy Royal, founder and principal with the Springfield-based Royal Law Firm. She noted that, when she broke into the field in 2000, most correspondence was still by mail. Now, the postage machine sees less use seemingly
aging partner of the Springfield-based law firm Bacon Wilson, and, increasingly, they’re doing just that.
Meanwhile, there have been other changes in these fields, including consolidation, especially in accounting, said Patrick Leary, a principal with the Springfield-based firm MP CPAs, noting that many of the smaller firms doing business in the ’80s, ’90s, and earlier this century have been merged into larger firms, a reflection of a broader trend in business.
 “For a long time, I resisted putting my cell phone on my business card. Post-COVID, that became a necessity, and now people will just call me on my cell or text because they know they can get me.”
every month, and very little is actually done by mail.
Instead, much more is being done by email and phone, specifi-
cally the cellphone.
Indeed, Royal remembers walking into the office once maybe 15
years ago, and noting, with alarm, how infrequently the office phone had been ringing of late.
“I said to my office manager, ‘do we have a problem? — our office phone isn’t ringing as much,’” she recalled, noting that, after some perspective, she was simply recognizing a trend — people were find- ing other ways to reach out. And they were doing so at seemingly all hours of the day and night.
Indeed, modern communications technology allows people to reach their accountant or lawyer at any hour, said Jeff Fialky, man-
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There are several reasons for this, including the ris- ing costs of technology and retiring Baby Boomers, he noted, but one of the biggest is something that prob- ably couldn’t have been imagined in 1984 — the deep- ening challenge of finding and retaining talent.
Accounting was never a ‘sexy’ profession, and mod- ern technology has only made it slightly more so, said Leary, adding that this reality, coupled with the fact that a fifth year of college is now required to become a CPA, is leaving fewer people interested in entering the field, at the same when most Baby Boomers are on the doorstep of retirement, if not there already. This has led to firms boosting salaries and sending more work overseas.
Efforts to recruit more students into the field have become a topic of conversation and concern among
CPAs and industry groups, said D’Agostino, and greater reliance on internship programs as feeder initiatives.
It’s the same with clerking programs in the legal profession, said Fialky, adding that, overall, law-school enrollment is down, and many firms face challenges with keeping talent in the pipeline.
Case in Point
It’s not exactly what you would call a pressing matter — not like some of those other challenges mentioned above — but one of the
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                  38 MAY 13, 2024 << 4OTH ANNIVERSARY >>

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