When you have an accounting position to staff, you can grab the nearest new grad with a four year degree and a nice-looking face, or you can sign on the niece or nephew of a professional contact in order to return a past favor. You can also contact former coworkers to ask for recommendations, or simply head to the nearest university job fair and interview the first five candidates who show interest in your company. After all, a certain percentage of hiring success will always be controlled by luck and gut instinct, so it’s fine to just roll the dice and hope for the best…right?
Wrong. A generation ago, entry level accounting positions were built around basic skill sets and candidates either had these skill sets or they didn't. Applicants who had passed the CPA exam and completed a four year degree were essentially equally qualified, and the field offered a specific and narrow path to advancement. But the financial hiring landscape has changed, and at this point, you’ll need to consider each of the following factors before you finalize your decision.
1. Ambition and plans
Since the recent economic downturn, financial regulations have increased and demand is surging for accountants who can help companies stay compliant. In the meantime, business growth is on the rebound and even small companies are developing global reach, which means a high demand for accountants with knowledge of international markets. The accounting field is becoming specialized, and a successful career means different things to different people, so make sure your candidate’s vision for the next five years aligns with your plans for the company.
The ability to lead, follow, teach, take instruction, work with a team, resolve conflict, and see the big picture are all essential skills for modern accounting professionals. Will your candidate be able to fit in and adapt to your workplace culture? Will she establish a personality match with your clients?
3. Tech skills
Accounting skills and tech skills are steadily overlapping in the modern marketplace. Your candidate should be familiar with the most current accounting apps and should be ready to adapt to new ones as they appear on the landscape.
4. Personal integrity
The most promising accounting candidates take their work, their oath, and their personal integrity seriously. If you can trust your candidate to make ethical decisions even under weak oversight or while working independently, then you’re on the right track.
For more on the factors that contribute to a smart financial staffing decision, reach out to the staffing experts at Cordia.