How to Hire an Accountant

The approach to hire an accountant is shifting rapidly. As the industry evolves, we as accountants and employers need to grow with it, or we could end up being left in the past. 

 Hubdoc previously produced an article which mentions that the 5 trends that will change accounting forever are

  1. Advisors are moving up the value train 
  2. Outsourced accounting is growing rapidly 
  3. Client relationships are taking centre stage
  4. Value or fixed-pricing is the norm 
  5. The millennial generation is on the horizon 

Accountants entering the workforce and those who have been working in the field for years need to be aware of these changes, staying ahead of the curve. 

How We Hire Accountants

We Set Realistic Expectations

When we started building our awesome team, we were in need of awesome CPAs. One of the requirements for our candidates was that they had to be working on their CPA designation or needed to have already completed it. The reason for this is that we wanted to make sure that our candidates had the knowledge and expertise we needed to offer our clients the value we promise.

We Set a Tiered Interview Process

Once the potential candidates made it past the initial resume screening we started the interviewing process which was not one, not two, but three interviews. The candidates had to pass a phone screen, and two in person interviews. On top of the in person interview there was also a Quickbooks test, a self assessment and a financial analysis test. This was necessary to ensure that the accountant we were hiring was the perfect fit for our team.

We Let our Modern Accountant Know What to Expect

The other important thing that we conveyed to our potential candidates was what they could expect from working with our team. This is something that needs to be done through the job ads as well as throughout the interview process. You need to be sure to portray your company’s culture, the benefits, and a good idea of what the candidate can expect from their desired position.

Our Advice to New Accountant Graduates and CPAs

The responsibility for new accountants entering the workforce is immense. There are no entry-level jobs in accounting anymore – get ready to hit the ground running. Data entry is a thing of the past. People entering into the accounting industry are expected to take on higher level responsibility than ever before. But this doesn’t mean more work or more pay. The slog work is just automated for you, which allows you to do more of the more enjoyable, high-value work. Yay! You will get better experience right out of the gate… so long as you were paying attention in your classes. Otherwise, it’ll be a painful learning curve as you get your knowledge up to speed quickly. From what we have learned in having to hire new accountants, our advice is the following:

Be Prepared to Be on Top of Your Learning

In order to stay up to date on everything that is going on you want to be sure you are up to date on your GAAP, IFRS and ASPE standards which is common for any position. If you are wanting to get into a tech accountant position then you need to make sure that you are familiar with the tools that are currently available and staying on track with all the new tech that is coming out. Bloomberg released an article in 2017, “ Is Your Job About To Disappear?: QuickTake”, that looked into the chances of your position being computerized. The chance of an accountant’s position becoming computerized is 94%, whereas a Financial Analyst is only 23%.

A 94% computerization chance for accountants enforces the fact that keeping up with technology is the way of the future.The great thing that technology also provides us with is the choice to pick the brains of other professionals. There are countless events, online communities, discussion forums, and helpful specialists out there ready to share from their well of knowledge.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. – Ronald E. Osborn

You Need to be Willing to Work as a Team

Especially with businesses set up like ours there is no room for competition. In a traditional accounting business environment the goal would be to work your way to the top to achieve success. However, working in a small business environment with competition can be toxic. Competition doesn’t get you very far nowadays. Accounting roles, regardless of the size of the business are more complex and require more collaboration: so be a team player – it will get you farther in your career than competitiveness

You Need Well Developed People Skills

As mentioned before in the 5 trends that will change accountants forever, accountants need to be prepared to be more client facing. Part of our CFO + Bookkeeping service is to provide our clients with Financial Planning and Analysis. The CFO Services includes a sit down meeting once a month with the accountant and client to discuss different aspects of the business, how to overcome challenges and how to meet goals that are set. We find that our clients really see the value in the time that we spend with them helping them to solve their challenges and crush their goals.

Accounting Jobs – Vancouver, Toronto

If you’re an accountant looking to work for an innovative Accounting firm in Vancouver or Accounting firm in Toronto, please check our job opening using the button on our about us page.

Our Advice to Companies

For companies that are want to hire onsite accountants, make sure that your job ad is attracting the accountants that you want. A couple things you should think about are:

  • How you are portraying your company culture
  • The benefits of your position
  • The physical set up of the position (i.e. can the accountant work from home? Are they in the most efficient location of the office?)

For companies that are looking for a third party option for their accounting you want to be sure that you are getting the best fit for what you want. This means that you get to customize your expectations and requirements and you can be a bit more choosy. Our advice is to sit down with the existing accounting team or the decision makers and highlight the main gaps or pain points that you will need this person to cover. You can then develop a great job description to share with the third party agencies.

Need help with Finance and Accounting Recruitment?

If you need to hire accountants and finance professionals, we can help you build your team. It may be best to start with our fractional CFO services to help you with your immediate needs and plan your finance team’s growth. When you’re ready to put a hiring plan together and start recruiting we’re your finance and accounting specialists recruiting services.

Helina Patience, CPA, CMA
Author: Helina Patience, Founder, CPA, CMA, BA (Hons), BEd

Helina is a CPA, CMA with over fifteen years of experience in finance & HR within multinational companies, across many industries. Also the CEO of entreflow consulting group where I help small to medium-sized businesses get organized, grow, and crush their goals. I hold vast global experience after living and working in Australia, India, the UK and Ireland. Connect on LinkedIn.

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