Key Information to Know Before Hiring an Accountant

As the owner or hiring manager of a company, the process of hiring an accountant can be daunting. From needing someone trustworthy enough to deal with your business’s financials to needing a professional with an adequate amount of experience and expertise, it can be difficult to find the perfect candidate.

Fortunately, there are some practices that you can take advantage of to simplify the process. In particular, understanding some specific details about accountants before hiring them can be incredibly useful.

Here is key information to know before hiring an accountant.

Prior Knowledge and Experience

While it’s always admirable to take chances on younger or less experienced candidates when filling positions, in the realm of business accounting, this can be a dangerous gamble. Accountants play a vital role in helping businesses thrive in a myriad of ways, and those unable to adequately complete a range of accounting tasks can jeopardize the success of your organization.

In addition to possibly being inexperienced as an accountant, some accountants have skills that aren’t conducive to certain industries and organizational needs. This being the case, assessing an accountant’s prior knowledge and experience can help you determine if their specialization matches your business’s needs.

Given the importance of accountants having the necessary skills to serve your company in keyways, it’s imperative that you assess their accounting acumen as well as their prior work experience. By using this as a foundational assessment tool, you can quickly whittle down your candidates to a capable few and go from there.

History as an Accountant

As has been noted, organizations place an immense amount of trust in the accountants they hire. This is because they have access to financial information and are tasked with recording and organizing this information accurately. If accountants have a history of being dishonest or fraudulent, you may be victimizing your organization by giving them access to such important information.

In fact, many of the biggest accounting scandals in recent history could have been avoided if employers had been more careful with who they hired. This being the case, it’s essential to find out if accountants have ever been involved — even remotely — with a situation resembling fraud or a compromised sense of morals.

Ability to Communicate

Though many don’t necessarily view communication skills as an important part of being an accountant, the truth is that it can play a major role. Without being able to communicate effectively with others in one’s organization, accountants won’t be able to thrive in their role and help organizations reach their full potential.

To ensure that you’re not inadvertently hiring an accountant that lacks the skills necessary to communicate effectively, it’s important to have various rounds of interviews. In addition, it’s key that you, and others in charge of making hiring decisions, understand that communication is just as important as past accounting experience.

Fortunately, assessing someone’s ability to communicate can be relatively easy when compared to the process of assessing other skills. By simply conversing with candidates, you and your team will be able to easily guage their ability to communicate and collaborate with others.

Familiarity with Different Accounting Software

As the world around us evolves, so do the tools that businesses use to perform a range of accounting tasks. This being the case, to truly thrive as an accountant in the modern world accountants must have a good command of various accounting software while also being aware of the ways that the field of accounting has evolved.

Beyond needing basic digital literacy, different organizations utilize different software depending on their specific industry and organizational preferences. As such, you’ll need to assess whether accounting candidates are familiar with your specific company’s software of choice.

While this may sound like an unnecessary step, giving candidates accounting software assessments can help you both choose the right candidate and avoid the time-consuming and costly process of finding a replacement. Consequently, understanding an accountant’s familiarity with various accounting software is an essential piece of information to understand prior to hiring them.

Being Proactive Can Help You Choose the Perfect Accountant

Though the process of hiring an accountant for your organization may seem daunting, being aware of some key information you should know about candidates can significantly simplify the process. From understanding their history to discovering which accounting software they’re able to use, these frameworks can help you choose the perfect candidate and avoid having to replace them.

As such, if you’re in the market for a new accountant, utilize these pieces of information as a guide to help you uncover the perfect fit for your business.

Andrew Deen