Why Hiring Accounting and Finance Professionals Is So Hard

“Hiring accountants is the easiest thing in the world” – said no one ever. But follow these tips, and you can make it a snap for yourself.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – hiring quality accounting and finance professionals can be a challenge. If you’re in HR or internal recruitment, you’re probably all too painfully aware of some of the difficulties posed by the hiring process. Among other things, it’s not always easy to know what qualifications and characteristics potentially indicate a strong accounting and finance hire.

For example, if you don’t have a finance background, how are you supposed to be able to differentiate between the different accounting designations? How would you know, for example, the advantages of hiring a Certified General Accountant (CGA) over the benefits of adding a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) to your finance team? How do you measure competence and success in a candidate’s career? What tools are you using to judge fit? What time constraints are you operating under?

Undoubtedly, hiring accounting and finance professionals is a challenging thing to do. Lucky for you, there are things you can look for to make the job of filling a vacancy that much easier.

Background

Whether you’re a loyal soldier – e.g., in HR – or the commander-in-chief – the head of the company, or perhaps the founder of a start-up – there’s a good chance you don’t have the accounting background necessary to judge competence among accounting and finance professionals. After all, you haven’t worked in the finance and accounting industry – so how would you know what a successful finance and accounting candidate looks like?

Hiring accounting and finance professionals is difficult precisely for this reason. Those of us who aren’t accountants by trade don’t necessarily understand how to measure success among candidates – what milestones a potential hire should have achieved at a particular stage in their career to suggest they would be successful in the role we’re hiring for. It’s like you’re trying to study for a test on the night before – without really knowing what subject you’re taking!

One way to deal with this is to talk to the key stakeholders involved in the hiring process. They can tell you what they consider the skills and qualities a candidate absolutely must have in order to succeed in the position. At the very least, you can put together a checklist, streamlining the resume selection and interviewing process.

After all, you haven’t worked in the finance and accounting industry – so how would you know what a successful finance and accounting candidate looks like?

Accounting designations

We hear this routinely: the different accounting designations are confusing. And with merger talks continuing, the landscape of the profession has grown even more complex. Still, it’s important to appreciate the distinctions between that the various accounting designations, and how each fosters specific competencies and areas of expertise.

Each of the designations emphasizes their own curriculums – leading to different specializations. A CGA, for example, is an accountant’s accountant, gifted in their grasp of the nuts and bolts of the discipline. With their training on strategic thinking and alignment with the MBA, CMAs are natural-born business partners. Last but not least, CAs are typically are strong auditors, capable of refining processes and driving efficiency.

Assessing fit

One of the biggest challenges in hiring accounting and finance professionals is assessing them for fit. Even with so many different ways to evaluate candidates – from personality profiling to testing – at your disposal, it’s not easy to ensure that a hire possesses the right makeup for your organization.

But hiring for fit is far from impossible. Firstly, consider the core values of the company. Candidates who share similar values will be committed and loyal to the organization’s vision. Secondly, if you’re hiring an accounting and finance professional you need to also consider team fit. Ideally, you want to hire someone whose natural working style will mesh seamlessly with the folks you already have on your finance team.

Each of the designations emphasizes their own curriculums – leading to different specializations.

Time

Conducting due diligence takes time – a rare and precious commodity for employers, hiring managers, and HR professionals. Unfortunately, tight schedules and timelines are often an unavoidable reality in the hiring process. Ask yourself honestly how much time you actually have to spend reviewing candidates. Is there is a way for you to accelerate the process? Taking some time to develop more efficient processes at the outset can save you valuable time at the back end. Maybe you need help – in which case you should consider partnering with a recruiting agency that specializes in this area.

There’s no doubt that hiring accounting and finance professionals can be challenging. But you can make it easier on yourself by paying attention to these considerations – ensuring that you make the right hire for your team and organization.

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!