Tips to Hiring Accountants for a Small Business

Hiring accountants for your small business can be a big task. Here’s what you need to look for in a hire.

When you own a small business, you’re bound to wear more hats than Imelda Marcos wears shoes. Who’s the head of marketing and sales? You are. Who delivers the product and educates your customers on the services you offer? You do. And quite possibly, at least in the initial start-up phase of your business, you are also looking after the books.

As your business evolves, however, you’ll have to look at hiring accountants to support your various other departments. The bigger your company grows, the more important accounting and finance will be for driving value: even if your business already has an accountant on staff, you may have to start looking at adding another. Here, then, are four valuable tips for hiring accountants for your small business.

Look for candidates who’ve “seen it all”

When you’re hiring accountants for your small business, you want to look for someone who has seen the entire accounting cycle. This includes both month-end and year-end. Someone who has experienced the accounting cycle in its entirety will have a comprehensive understanding of the filings for which your business is responsible.

Ideally, your hire will have direct experience of completing these filings themselves, and have been accountable for them in the past; that will ensure better turnaround and a higher degree of accuracy for your own business’ filings. Let’s be honest: the less involved you have to be in the accounting, the more time you have to focus on other aspects of the business.

…the less involved you have to be, the more time you have to focus on other aspects of the business.

Privilege accountants from similar environments

Hiring accountants who have already worked in similar, small business environments is key to landing a successful hire for your company. You want someone who is familiar with the unique demands and pressures of accounting for a small business.

By contrast, a candidate from a larger, more corporate environment has probably been responsible only for a specific component of the accounting process. And while they may be perfectly capable in regards to that particular process, they could lack the more holistic experience and knowledge necessary to drive value for your operation; there’s a strong chance they may not be able to deliver everything your small business needs.

Hire someone to help you grow your business

When people first launch their business, they typically begin by hiring a bookkeeper. As the business grows, however, so do its accounting needs. The next step is to hire a controller – someone with a more analytical skillset. Many entrepreneurs operate on a set of firm assumptions about the nature of their businesses. A controller with a sharp analytical mind can test those assumptions and correct the course of a business where necessary, which will increase efficiency and drive value.

As the business grows…so do its accounting needs.

Examine the trajectory of your company

Identify the trajectory of your business, and determine if it is growing steadily or quickly. Assess whether your revenues are stable, have flatlined, or are declining.

The needs of your small business will differ depending on the state of your business. For example, a fast-growing start-up will require an individual with the skillset and experience to take the company to the next level. By contrast, if your business is enjoying steady growth, consider someone who can help to automate your processes, which will reduce inefficiencies and minimize errors.

Hiring accountants for your small business requires that you have an idea of what exactly it needs. At the end of the day, you want someone who will add value to your operation – a business partner who can advise you on making your company more successful, and allow you to minimize your involvement in the accounting duties.

Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!