Is your business in need of accounting and financial professionals? If you’re in the market for this type of talent, you may have found that it’s easier said than done to find and hire these employees.
The accounting and finance field has grown steadily over the past decade, but that trend may be slowing. According to Statcan, we’ll see a shortage of finance professionals between 2015 and 2024, meaning that companies will have a harder time finding the qualified accounting talent that they need to fill crucial positions. In short, expect the market to be competitive—today’s accounting candidates expect a lot from their employers.
To further complicate matters, the COVID-19 pandemic showed us that most accounting and finance professionals could easily and effectively do their jobs from home. This has given finance professionals even more job options, making it even more difficult for your business to attract candidates and stand out in all the noise.
Luckily, there are a few best practices you can follow to attract top accounting and finance talent in the Santa Fe area. Let’s take a closer look at the accounting and finance staffing solutions you can employ in order to find the people you need.
How Can Your Accounting and Finance Firm Source Top CPA Talent?
Need to attract top accounting professionals, like Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or account analysts? You might be surprised to learn that doing this doesn’t require jumping through a lot of hoops—it’s mostly about going back to the basics. When you have a compelling job offer in place, adjusting your expectations and offerings slightly to fit the new normal is all that’s required.
Develop Contract-Based Positions
One of the best things about the gig economy is that it has removed the stigma that’s sometimes attached to temporary or contract positions. Now more than ever, contract-based CPA positions are used by companies of all shapes and sizes to meet their financial needs. And many accounting professionals like this approach, too. Many times, candidates don’t want to take on a full-time role, perhaps because they’re freelancers, or because of family commitments.
Offering contract accounting positions is a great way to build some flexibility into the jobs that you’re offering. Candidates looking for a flexible schedule and a good work/life balance will appreciate it, and you’ll see engagement go up as a result.
Offer a Hybrid Work Model
Another way to promote a good work/life balance is through hybrid work. This can apply to both full- and part-time positions. Offer a hybrid schedule in which the candidate works in-office three days a week with two remote days. Or, let employees choose when they want to stay remote and when they want to work in-office. Flexible start and end times are also attractive to candidates. For many accounting and finance candidates, hybrid approaches like these are no longer negotiable, but a must-have.
Ensure You’re Offering Competitive Pay & Benefits Packages
If an accounting professional can get paid better elsewhere, or enjoy a stronger benefits package elsewhere, what are you offering to keep yourself at the head of the pack? Be sure to do your research to make sure you’re offering a competitive salary and benefits to your candidates. Otherwise, you’re shooting yourself in the foot before even getting started. And remember that you don’t have to pay more or offer every perk that your competitor doesn’t; it’s about achieving the right balance of pay, benefits, and company culture that makes candidates want to work for you.
Develop a Training/Mentoring Program
Top accounting professionals aren’t interested in dead-end jobs that don’t allow them to grow. Make sure that you have career path options available for those who want to rise up in the ranks. A great training and mentoring program is a good way to achieve this, too. Having your new recruits trained and mentored by more veteran staff is a great way to leverage existing talent to nurture the new hires you bring on.
Hard And Soft Skills to Look For During Hiring Process
You’ve sourced some promising accounting and finance talent. Now comes the rest of the hiring process. Screening resumes, sifting through applications, and setting up interviews. What sort of skills—both hard skills and soft skills—should you be looking for in today’s accounting market?
Proficiency in Excel
One thing that hasn’t changed much in the world of accounting over the past several years is the necessity for accounting professionals to be familiar with spreadsheet software, like Microsoft Excel. And it’s about a lot more than filling cells with the necessary data. Knowledge of spreadsheet formulas can make many accounting tasks much easier and faster, allowing accountants to produce “what-if” scenarios to see the effects of a given change.
Experience with ERP software such as Oracle
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. This involves a high-level approach to the workings and future objectives of the company, and your accounting staff can help with that. Familiarity with ERP software platforms like Oracle is a great thing to screen for—it can help your company level up when it comes to long-term planning and resource allocation.
Data Query Skills such as SQL
Accounting involves a lot of raw data, and it’s an accountant’s ability to help your company manage and employ that data to its advantage that is truly valuable. That’s why data query skills and familiarity with something like structured query language (SQL) are so important. SQL is essentially the programming language an accountant would use to pull the necessary information from a large volume of data. By screening for this skillset in interviews, you’re setting your organization up for success in the long term.
Knowledge of Quickbooks
Quickbooks is, of course, one of the most common accounting software platforms out there. (The online version has more than 4 million subscribers alone!) Quickbooks can be used to take care of basically any accounting need, from invoicing and expense tracking and much more. Even if your company doesn’t use Quickbooks, it’s wise to screen for this skillset during interviews—you may switch to it in the future, and it’s a good indicator that your candidate is up on the latest industry standards.
Hard skills like Quickbooks, SQL, and Excel are essential. But don’t forget about the soft skills. Leadership capability is one example, and it links back to the career pathing discussed above. You want candidates to join your organization with a growth mindset, candidates who want to develop their skills. One way to develop is to take on more responsibility and become a leader. That’s not to say that every candidate you hire needs to be gunning for a management role—but having the ability to be a leader when it’s necessary is always an attractive skill in a candidate.
Communication skills are essential in most jobs, accounting and finance roles included. Ask questions during interviews about how your candidate communicated with clients in the past to achieve success or communicated with their team members or supervisors to achieve objectives. It will give you a good insight into how your candidate might communicate when they’re working within your organization, and how that communication can make the whole team better.
It’s safe to say there are a lot of numbers floating around in the world of an accountant. That’s why organizational skills are so important. Ask your candidates how they like to keep their files organized, or how they approach keeping multiple projects and clients in order simultaneously. You’ll get an insider’s perspective into how your candidate thinks and how their approach to accounting can benefit your organization.
Partner with the Accounting and Finance Recruiters at The Hire Firm Today
If you’re in need of talented accounting and finance professionals and are struggling to find the people you’re really looking for, it might be time to turn to the professionals at The Hire Firm. We have nearly three decades of experience matching quality candidates with top employers in Santa Fe and around New Mexico. Other accounting placement agencies don’t have the depth of experience and the wide network that we do, and you can leverage that to your advantage.
Want to learn more about what our accounting talent acquisition specialists can do for your organization? Contact a member of our team today to get started.