Finding Talent, Keeping Talent

George Willie, Robyn Erskine, Monica Foerster, Mats Olsson | October 3, 2016

Part I: Talent Recruitment and Retention

In this roundtable discussion, several IFAC SMP Committee members discuss the challenges firms face in terms of finding new talent and creating a corporate culture conducive to younger generations of accountants. These include meeting the expectations of young accountants and the transfer of knowledge across generations. 


Part II: SMPs Must Compete with Larger Firms to Attract, Develop, and Retain Talent

SMPs Must Compete with Larger Firms to Attract, Develop, and Retain Talent In part two of this roundtable, the panel considers reasons why young accountants are attracted to smaller firms. The benefits of smaller firms include the variety of work, work/life balance, and close advisory relationships with clients.


Part III: Setting the Tone at the Top

In part three of this roundtable, the panel discusses the importance of tone at the top in small firms. This includes how to be a good leader, how to inspire staff, and providing good mentorship. 

George Willie

George Willie became a member of the Small and Medium Practices Committee in January 2015. He was nominated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).Mr. Willie is the managing partner of Bert Smith & Co. He has over 40 years of experience specializing in the audits of healthcare, government, and not-for-profit entities.Mr. Willie has served in numerous leadership positions within the AICPA, including chair of the Private Companies Practice Section Executive Committee, member of the Board of Directors, member of the Board of Examiners, secretary of the Political Action Committee, and chair of the Minority Initiatives Committee.Mr. Willie earned an MBA from American University and a BBA in accounting from Howard University. He is a licensed CPA in the District of Columbia and US Virgin Islands, a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM). See more by George Willie

Placeholder image

Robyn Erskine

Robyn Erskine became a member of the IFAC Small and Medium Practices Committee in January 2015. She was nominated by CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.Ms. Erskine is a Partner in Brooke Bird, a Melbourne-based SMP accounting practice. She has over 25 years of experience in the accounting profession and as an insolvency practitioner.Ms. Erskine currently serves on the Victorian Divisional Council and the Victorian Public Practice Committee for CPA Australia. She is a past President of the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association, where she continues to serve as a board member.Ms. Erskine holds a bachelor of business degree. She is a Fellow of CPA Australia and a Chartered Accountant. She is an Official Liquidator or the Supreme and Federal Courts of Australia, a Registered Liquidator, and a Registered Bankruptcy Trustee.   See more by Robyn Erskine

Placeholder image

Monica Foerster


Monica Foerster became Chair of the IFAC Small and Medium Practices Committee in 2017, after serving as its Deputy Chair. A committee member since 2014, she was nominated by Conselho Federal de Contabilidade (CFC) and Instituto dos Auditores Independentes do Brasil (IBRACON).With 20 years of experience in the accountancy profession, Ms. Foerster is a partner at Confidor, an accounting, tax, and law firm with offices in Porto Alegre and São Paulo, Brazil. She is also the SMP Director of the Brazil Ibracon and coordinator of the SMP Working Group at Ibracon. She is the coordinator of the Committee of Audit Studies (“Comissão de Estudos de Auditoria”) from the Accounting Council (CRCRS).She holds an MBA in financial management, controllership and audit from the FGV – Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brazil, and a degree in accounting from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS, Brazil. See more by Monica Foerster

Mats Olsson

Partner, Adrian & Partners AB

Mats Olsson is partner and one of the founders of Adrian & Partners AB. Adrian & Partners is a medium-sized practice in Gothenburg, Sweden, that works primarily with small- and medium-sized owner-led client companies. He has higher education in accounting as well as business law. Mr. Olsson was previously the Deputy Chair of  the IFAC SMPC and chair of its Task Force for Small Business Support. See more by Mats Olsson

Thank you for your interest in our publications. These valuable works are the product of substantial time, effort and resources, which you acknowledge by accepting the following terms of use. You may not reproduce, store, transmit in any form or by any means, with the exception of non-commercial use (e.g., professional and personal reference and research work), translate, modify or create derivative works or adaptations based on such publications, or any part thereof, without the prior written permission of IFAC.

Our reproduction and translation policies, as well as our online permission request and inquiry system, are accessible on the Permissions Information web page.

For additional information, please read our website Terms of Use. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.