How to hire an Accountant: Your finance recruitment guide 🤝
Wondering how to hire an Accountant for your business? Follow our step-by-step guide…
Do you need a team or a one-time hire? What kind of accountant to hire for your business?
The first step in your Accountant hiring process is to establish what level of vacancy you need to recruit for, the number of roles to hire for, and what type of Accountant is needed for your business.
Here are some good questions to discuss with your HR and internal hiring teams when establishing what Accountant(s) to hire:
- What day-to-day financial tasks need to be completed and what is the complexity of these tasks?
- What upcoming finance projects do we have?
- Are there any financial areas being neglected?
- What is the scale of the workload that needs to be completed?
- What is our budget for finance team hires?
- Is there enough work for a full-term contact or is it best to hire for specific projects?
Once you’ve discussed this with your HR and hiring teams, only then can you clearly see the level you need to hire for and how many hires to make.
Types of Accountants to hire
Here’s a breakdown of the main types of Accountants:
Project Accountants are typically hired to work on specific projects.
They can be brought in on a long-term employee or a contractor brought in specifically to manage one specific project. Accountancy recruitment agencies often have experience hiring for both situations.
Project Accountants oversee anything from preparing invoices, approving expenses, planning and maintaining projects budgets, and helping ensure that projects are completed by deadlines.
Financial Accountants are the most common and typical type of Accountants, responsible for keeping track of a company’s financial transitions.
They focus on the bookkeeping side of accountancy: tracking the company’s financial position, monitoring its share value, and making statements of stockholders’ equity.
Finance recruitment agencies are particularly adept at hiring Financial Accountants due to their broader knowledge of finance skills.
Similar to Financial Accountants, Management Accountants track the company’s financial position but differ by providing reports to be used internally.
Management Accountants provide the financial information that managers need to make informed business decisions.
At higher levels, Management Accountants can make business recommendations or even be part of a company’s senior management team.
If you’re hiring an Accountant to do your taxes, a Tax Accountant is clearly the best type.
Tax Accountants deal with an organisation’s tax liabilities, track all the transactions that affect how much tax a company pays, and calculate how much tax is due.
These Accountants will also try to find ways to reduce the tax your business pays and complete all the HMRC forms to ensure the correct amount is paid.
If you need an Accountant to detect fraud and embezzlement, you should hire a Forensic Accountant.
These types of Accountants analyse financial evidence and accounting techniques to detect fraud and suspicious activity.
As part of our complete finance recruitment services, we can help you find forensic accountants.
We’ll work closely with you to design a hiring plan that suits your business’ unique goals.
You’ll be helped in deciding on the type of finance role to hire for and the number of vacancies to recruit for, ultimately working towards your short-term and long-term business goals.
A crucial step when hiring an Accountant is first knowing what makes a good Accountant and the key qualities to look for in potential candidates.
When talking to people who are working out how to hire accountant, we’re often faced with similar questions:
- Is hiring an Accountant worth it?
- How much does it cost to hire an Accountant?
- What are the best recruitment agencies for finance or specifically for Accountants?
- How much to hire an accountant for small business?
These all have to be dealt with separately, but the first thing we remind people is to know what you’re looking for.
Whilst the skills and qualities will vary slightly depending on the level you’re hiring for and the type of Accountant, there are some essential skills required for all Accountancy roles.
We’ve compiled the key skills, qualities, and things to be wary of when hiring for Accountant.
Ensure candidates hold the required qualifications
It’s important to ensure potential candidates have the necessary accounting qualifications for the role. Make sure that you’re aware of what qualifications to look for before you hire an Accountant.
The AAT qualification is typically the minimum level expected of an Accountant, but if you’re looking to hire a chartered Accountant, candidates must hold ACCA, ACA, or CIMA qualifications.
Meticulous attention to detail
The smallest error in figures can skew the accuracy of data, so it’s crucial that candidates are thorough with even the smallest of details to ensure accuracy and minimal mistakes.
You want to look for candidates who are highly analytical and rigorous.
Excellent communication and relationship abilities
When hiring Accountants, it’s important not only focus on the technical and analytical skills, but also prioritise soft skills.
Accountants will not only deal with numbers, but clients as well.
So, it’s essential they have strong communication skills and the ability to build great relationships with clients and colleagues.
Look for candidates who easily build rapport in the interview and have experience sustaining strong professional relationships.
Great time management skills
Accountants will often have multiple projects to balance at one time and have to keep the figures, financial data, and paperwork in check, often to tight deadlines.
It’s important to look for candidates who know how to prioritise tasks and possess excellent time-management and project-management abilities.
Able to think creatively and produce new ideas
Creativity may be a skill you don’t heavily associate with Accountants or financial recruitment in general.
However, Accountants will often need to think outside the box and produce new ideas to overcome unique client issues. Look for candidates who are ready to offer fresh new solutions and aren’t afraid to try new techniques.
At Give A Grad A Go, we screen all our candidates at least twice, meaning not only will we see if they hold the right qualifications for your role, but also if they possess the right skills and personality to perfectly match your company.
This is just one of the many ways we can add exceptional banking and finance candidates to your business, visit our blog for more of the ways we can help you find talent.
Find out what software the Accountant has used
If you’re hiring for a more experienced Accountant role, you will need the candidate to have a good deal of experience with accountancy software.
Many Accountants have their own preferred software that they’re used to.
This can be a problem if your company uses a different software, with sharing data being time-consuming and can cause errors.
Try to find an Accountant who’s using the same software, or is willing to learn.
A good solution is to use a collaborative, cloud-based software with encryption built in so you don’t have to worry about the risks of data exchanging.
Sell the opportunity to a candidate
If you’re looking to hire talented Accountants, it’s vital you list more than just the salary on your job description.
Our 2019 graduate employment statistics revealed that graduates listed salary third when ranking ‘what is most important in a job?’, with growth opportunities and development ranking higher in importance.
Show candidates how you can add value to their career, show they can grow with your company and have a great work-life balance at your company compared to other Accountancy positions.
Have a diverse workforce
When hiring an accountant, it’s important to remember to take into consideration diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
A diverse workforce has significant benefits for your company and your employees.
For more information, visit our blog on what is diversity in the workplace and download our Diversity and Inclusion 2020 report to see how Give a Grad a Go stand in terms of candidate diversity.
The key to attracting the right candidates to your role and company is writing an engaging and accurate Accountant job description.
You want to excite the candidate about your opportunity whilst allowing a candidate to determine if they have the required skill set to carry out the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of the role.
Here’s our 5 key sections of an Accounting job description:
1. Company profile
This is your opportunity to show off!
Demonstrate why a candidate would want to be a part of your company. Include any other vital or exciting information; try to paint a clear picture of who you are. Consider these points:
- What is the company’s USP?
- What exciting clients do you work with?
- What has spurred on your recent expansion?
- What’s the working environment like? Corporate, co-working space, start-up vibe?
- Where are the offices located?
- What has the company already achieved?
- Where is the company headed? What are your goals and plans for the future?
2. Job description
This section should be a brief summary of the role.
Be clear about which type of Accountant you are looking to hire.
List examples of the accountancy software you require and any previous experience.
Using lots of keywords throughout will not only be useful for potential candidates to understand the role, but key phrases and terms are also good for SEO, ensuring the job description is visible online and seen by as many great candidates as possible.
3. Key responsibilities
Give a breakdown of the day-to-day tasks of the job and use bullet points to outline the main responsibilities of the role.
Try and be as transparent as possible and include the following information:
- A snapshot of what their day-to-day tasks will be.
- What areas will they be managing or responsible for?
- What relevant experience do they need – Google Analytics, Social Media?
- What team will they be working within? Who will they be working alongside?
- Detail any exciting projects they will be working on and scope for other areas to get involved in.
4. Job requirements
This is where you list what applicants will need to be considered for this role, helping to streamline your search.
It’s important to be specific about what is required of the candidate, whilst also being open minded at the same time.
As well as candidates needing to understand what the job entails when they apply, they also need to be confident that they are the right individual for the role.
- Do they need certain qualifications? A particular degree subject?
- Which key skills are required? What soft skills and which technical skills are most important?
- Any relevant experience or competence in certain tools?
- Do they need to have an interest in the industry?
- Are looking to hire a team player for a short term project, or someone who is comfortable working independently on a long term project?
5. Benefits of the job
This section can be bullet points to outline the advantages and perks of working at the company. Key areas to think about include:
- Training and development opportunities?
- It is a good idea to indicate what the company culture is like – is there a buzz in the office, work socials?
- Is there room for progression within the company?
- Will the role include commission, any targets or monetary bonuses? Will there be regular salary reviews?
- Are the offices in the heart of London?
- Do you have a pension scheme? What about a cycle-to-work scheme?
- Any other perks like free breakfast? Table tennis table?
It’s okay if you still find yourself stuck on how to recruit Accountants. Hiring can appear complicated.
Whether you’re hiring an Accountant for a small business or you’re a large global company, we can help.
As one of the UK’s leading finance recruiting agencies with over 10+ years experience, we can turn a complicated problem into a simple one.
Here are some of our expert finance recruitment techniques and reasons why you should use a recruitment agency:
1. You’ll have a designated industry expert Account Manager
At Give a Grad a Go, we know every business is different with its own unique ways of working and goals. From the outset, you will be assigned an Account Manager who will be an expert in the finance industry.
They will meet with you regularly to get to know the in-depth needs of your business, which of our services will be the best fit and the exact type of candidate/s you are looking for.
If you’re a start-up looking to make your first hire, you might be interested in our ‘temp-to-perm’ hiring solutions whereby candidates have a short 1-6 month trial period.
2. We’ll save you time to focus on important areas of your business
Working with recruitment agencies saves time and allows you to focus on other areas of your business, by taking away the hassle of screening CVs, conducting telephone interviews, and communicating with candidates.
At Give a Grad a Go, our average time to fill a job role is 23 working days (almost half of the industry average).
3. We have a database of over 300,000 exceptional candidates
At Give a Grad a Go, we have a plethora of talented graduates ready to go, with 84% of candidates we work with achieving a 1st, a 2.1 or a Masters degree at University.
With a database of over 300,000 we match the perfect graduates to a range of job roles every day, no matter how niche or specific the role is.
Find out more about our recruitment benefits and the many ways we can efficiently hire perfectly matched finance candidates for your business.
The interview stage is a fantastic way to find out which candidates are a great match for your role and company.
Whilst some candidates may have years of relevant finance experience, they may lack the right skills and personality to suit your company.
It’s crucial you ask targeted and thought-provoking questions which will help reveal a candidates personality and motivations for applying to your role.
We’ve put together some top Finance interview questions to ask candidates:
‘What would you suggest to save our business money?’
The best Accountants are those who are proactive and go above their required day-to-day tasks to save your business money.
This is a great question to ask to see how candidates think on their feet and the steps they’d take to be able to answer this question.
‘What new Finance advancements or trends do you think we will see in the next 5 years?’
With the Finance industry is constantly changing, this is a great question to ask to see if a candidate keeps up-to-date with industry news and to see if they have any insightful predictions for the future and what evidence they bring into their answers.
‘What do you consider the top three skills of a great Accountant?’
This is a useful question to ask candidates to see what their understanding of the role is.
Look for responses that mention any of the key skills you have included on your job description and for candidates who bring in examples of where they’ve previously demonstrated these skills in their answers.
‘Describe a time when you’ve made an Accounting error and how you handled it’
Errors often happen in the world of finance, so this question will give you an insight into how candidates react to difficult situations and the actions they take to managing the problem.
‘What criteria do you use to assess the reliability of the financial information you receive?’
This question is great to see if candidates have great attention to detail and accuracy. Great answers will mention a thorough process check for bookkeeping errors or mention any previous techniques where they have checked quality control in the data entry process.
‘What are the three attributes that make you an effective remote worker?’
With more companies allowing employees to work remotely, this is a great question to judge if a candidate has the qualities to work efficiently from home and if this is something that they would want to do if your business requires it.
Look for answers that suggest a candidate is a self-starter can work independently and have strong communication skills to stay connected online.
If you’re looking to recruit remotely, visit our blog for the many ways we can help you with remote hiring.
If you’re a start-up business and have never conducted an interview before and are looking for top interviewing techniques check out our blog on how to interview someone for a job, or for more great interview questions to ask, visit our employer interview questions to ask candidates.
The final stage of your accountancy recruitment is the onboarding process.
This is the training and introductory period for your new hires and is a key time to ensure your new finance hires are comfortable with their work, know what is required from them and can settle into your company.
We’ve put together a few onboarding practices to follow for your new Accounting hires:
Kickstart the onboarding process early
Our first tip is not to leave the onboarding planning and process until after you have hired the Developer.
Employee onboarding shouldn’t be an afterthought or you could lose the best starters before you’ve managed to settle them into the company.
To save yourself time and money, later on, dedicate the time to creating a solid onboarding plan when you invest in hiring a new Accountant.
Assign your new finance hire a mentor
Our top tip for excellent finance staff development is to offer support to your new hires from the beginning.
There are likely to be a lot of new systems and processes for your finance employee to adjust to, a great way for your new starter to quickly learn how these work, is to assign them a mentor.
For tips on how to implement a mentoring scheme at your company, visit our blog on the benefits of a workplace mentoring program for employers.
This will also benefit the mentor themselves, as they will be able to include this into their career progression plan, giving them a sense of further responsibility and proving their worth and value to your company.
Set targets and standards from the beginning
In order to get a high return of investment from your new finance employees, it’s important that they know what is expected from them in their role from the beginning.
Make sure your new hires are aware of their weekly and monthly targets and the standard of work that is expected of them.
Explaining this to your new starters straight away gives them targets to work towards and a solid understanding of what they should be achieving.
It’s important to implement evaluation measures throughout your finance new starters onboarding process to track their progress and highlight areas where they may need more training.