Big Four Accounting Firm Scales Workforce With Virtual Bench

About the Client 

Changing The Way We View the World

This Big Four accounting firm has been at the forefront of changing how companies work and perceive the world. With a network of offices and employees spanning the world over, it works hard to understand clients' geographic, economic, and market contexts to deliver strategic value. But it all starts with focusing on developing its people to be the best they can be to affect positive change.

The Situation

Getting More Out of Independent Talent 

It's no secret that companies have been dealing with acute shortages for quite some time, particularly regarding subject matter expertise.

This firm was no different. 

But rather than let it impact the business, the firm took a page out of its own playbook. It worked to understand the work preferences of key talent.  

A pattern emerged. Skilled professionals were increasingly joining the independent workforce for greater control over the kind of work they took on and where they worked. So the firm decided to figure out a way to leverage this growing network — deciding to invest in building a hybrid workforce force. 

This workforce ecosystem would include full-time and independent consultants that would empower the company to respond to an ever-evolving business environment rapidly. It's this forward-thinking approach that led it to become familiar with Graphite. 

As a platform that enables companies to access independent talent on demand, Graphite enabled the firm to develop a flexible and agile workforce that could: 

  1. Accelerate speed to market 
  2. Address capacity and capability gaps
  3. Scale its workforce based on demand 
  4. Gain access to top-tier talent globally 

And the move to invest in on-demand talent paid off. In the post-pandemic recovery, when workers joined the Great Resignation in large numbers, the firm had an agile workforce that it could rely on to quickly respond to the unfolding situation. 

It enabled them to deliver on client expectations as demand for consulting services surged amid a tight labor market.

Ever the market leader, the firm wanted to push the boundaries of what's possible with its independent workforce. 

How could it expedite the onboarding process of independent talent and launch projects even faster? 

The Solution

Creating a Tailored Solution 

Having worked with Graphite over the years to quickly onboard independent talent to mission-critical roles, the firm posed the question to its customer success manager. 

It soon became evident that building a virtual bench of pre-vetted independent experts that the company could rely upon as needed was the answer. 

The customer success manager started by attempting to understand the biggest talent gaps the firm was facing. It soon became apparent that the firm didn't have a deep enough bench in-house to keep up with the surge in demand for M&A and human capital consulting projects.

More importantly, they didn't have the time to undergo the onboarding process with Graphite for each project — especially if the firm was planning on using the same crop of consultants each time. 

By working closely with the respective practice managers, the virtual bench was created. But what does this virtual bench program look like? And how does it work?


Obtaining flexibility and agility with a virtual bench 

The customer success manager and chief human resource officer (CHRO) at the firm worked together to create a governance structure. This operating model would serve as the basis for how the virtual bench program would work for the firm. 

During this process, the talent engagement manager and the CHRO worked to: 

  • Identify key points of contact in its Human Capital and M&A practices areas. 
  • Develop a meeting cadence that would be used to proactively fill the bench with the talent needed for future engagements 
  • Create the process for posting the project and engaging/onboarding experts 
  • Establish expected outcomes from undertaking this initiative.

Since implementing the virtual bench program, the firm has completed 58 projects, using the same 15 experts on its bench to build high-performing teams to deliver the greatest impact quickly. 

Given the success of the virtual bench program, the Big Four accounting firm has decided to make Graphite its partner of choice for all things independent workforce. Together they've been able to transform their workforce with agility at its heart.