Three steps to take when hiring the perfect accountant
Hiring the perfect accountant is an essential decision for any business, and it's important to ensure that you find the right person for the job. Accounting is a specialized field that requires significant skills and expertise, and the right accountant can help your business succeed by managing your financial operations, identifying cost savings, and providing valuable financial insights.
"Finding the perfect candidate is like finding a needle in a haystack, but with a carefully crafted job description, a thorough screening process, and a little bit of luck, we can find the right fit for our team,” says Jeff Wright, managing partner at full-service accounting firm Draffin Tucker based in Albany, Georgia.
To find the perfect accountant for your business, you should consider three stages: defining your needs and qualifications, screening and interviewing candidates, and evaluating cultural fit.
- Define your needs and qualifications
Before you start the hiring process, it's important to define your specific needs and qualifications for the accountant you're looking to hire. Some factors to consider include:
The size of your company can affect the level of experience and expertise you need in an accountant. A small business may only require a bookkeeper or part-time accountant, while a larger company may require a more experienced professional to manage complex financial operations.
Different industries have specific accounting requirements and regulations, so it's important to find an accountant who has experience in your industry. For example, if you operate in a highly regulated industry such as healthcare or finance, you may need an accountant who is familiar with the relevant regulations.
The budget you have available to hire an accountant can also impact your decision. Consider the salary range you can afford and whether you're willing to pay for additional certifications or qualifications.
Look for candidates with relevant experience and certifications, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA) designation. Consider the level of experience you require, such as whether you need someone with senior-level experience or are willing to hire a junior accountant.
If your company uses specific accounting software or systems, ensure that the accountant you hire has experience with them. This can help ensure a smoother transition and minimize training time.
By defining your needs and qualifications, you'll be better equipped to narrow down your candidate pool and find the right accountant for your business.
- Screen and interview candidates
Once you've identified your needs and qualifications, it's time to start screening and interviewing potential candidates. Here are some tips for finding the best candidates:
Expand your reach
Use multiple channels to advertise the job. Posting job ads on job boards and social media platforms can help you reach a wider pool of candidates. You can also ask for referrals from your network or professional associations.
Review resumes and cover letters
Look for candidates who have relevant experience, certifications, and education. A well-written cover letter can also give you insight into a candidate's communication and writing skills.
Conduct pre-screening interviews
Phone or video interviews can help you narrow down your candidate pool before conducting in-person interviews. Use this opportunity to ask candidates about their accounting knowledge, experience, and problem-solving skills.
Ask hypothetical questions
During the interview process, ask candidates hypothetical questions to assess their critical thinking abilities. For example, you could ask how they would handle a specific financial challenge or how they would advise the company in a hypothetical scenario.
Ask for references and follow up with them to verify a candidate's qualifications and experience. You can also ask for feedback on the candidate's work style and communication skills.
By following these screening and interview tips, you'll be better equipped to identify top candidates who meet your needs and qualifications.
- Evaluate cultural fit
While skills and qualifications are crucial, it's also essential to find an accountant who will fit well with your company's culture and values. Consider the following factors when evaluating cultural fit:
Find an accountant who communicates well and clearly, and who can adapt their communication style to different audiences.
Look for an accountant who is hard-working and dedicated, and who takes ownership of their work. Consider their work style, such as whether they prefer working independently or collaboratively.
Look for an accountant who has a positive attitude and who is a good cultural fit for your company. Consider factors such as their sense of humor, values, and personality traits that align with your company's mission and values.
By evaluating cultural fit, you can help ensure that the accountant you hire will integrate well into your company culture and work effectively with your team.
Hiring the perfect accountant requires careful consideration of your needs and qualifications, screening and interviewing candidates, and evaluating cultural fit. By following these three stages, you'll be better equipped to find an accountant who has the skills, experience, and personality traits that align with your company's needs and values. A good accountant can help your business succeed by managing your finances effectively and providing valuable financial insights, so it's worth investing the time and effort to find the right person for the job.