Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Hiring an Accountant? What to Look for Among Your Applicants

Hrinng an accountant
Guest post from Raine Parker

It doesn't matter in what type of business you're in – a small mom and pop shop or a big oil and gas company – you probably need some professional help when it comes to growing and managing your business' finances. Accountants are great resources to seek out when it comes to preparing year-end taxes and revising company expenditures. Should you be in the market to hire an accountant at your company, it's important to know what characteristics and qualifications you're looking for. Here are three characteristics you definitely should be on the lookout for during the process of hiring a new accountant employee.


One thing to remember when hiring an accountant is that there are different types of accountants (bookkeeping accountant, tax accountant, CPA, etc.). Whenever you're interviewing candidates, find out what expertise they have. If you want your accountant to do more than just basic HR work and payroll preparation, then you're definitely going to want a tax accountant or CPA. Furthermore, it's also wise to find an accountant with experience in your field, whether it is retail, law, manufacturing, etc. That way, they'll be versed in all the different laws and requirements related to your industry. Furthermore, it's also important to look for someone that has dealt with a business size similar to yours. If they've been employed at a huge accounting firm for the past few years, it's unlikely they'll have the attention to detail that a small-business accountant will have (and vice versa).


As emphasized before, not all accountants are the same. Some accountants obtain their college degrees and learn extra bookkeeping skills through years of work experience. Do some research and determine whether or not your company needs a CPA (certified public accountant), CMA (certified management accountant), and so forth. Believe me, there is a huge difference between accountants who have solely have a college degree compared to those who have also obtained a CPA, CMA, and other certifications. Licensing and continued education help accountants stay on top of any changes in law and reporting requirements, so it's definitely an asset to have. Should you find an employee candidate you really like, but they don't have enough licensing or continued education under their belt, see if they would be willing to obtain those things while working for you. If your business has the funds to provide them with those resources, then that might something to look into.


Last but not least, an accountant should be able to perform a myriad of work tasks, including basic bookkeeping, tax planning, financial advising, problem solving, etc. There's no sense in hiring someone who can't handle a number of work tasks at once, so be on the lookout for someone that possesses the ability to setup an efficient bookkeeping system for your company, manage the company cash flow, make wise business decisions, and advise on any financial changes that need to be made. An accountant should be adaptable to different situations and tasks, so make sure to also present potential scenarios and conflicts during your interviews and see how the candidates explain how they would handle them. It’s also useful to have candidates describe different situations they've experienced where they've had to utilize specific skills and expertise.

Accountants are an asset to successful businesses and companies. If you're looking to hire an accountant for your company in the coming months, be sure to keep these three key points in mind.
Raine Parker, former accountant and financial advisor, now spends the better part of the day writing for to spread awareness and information on all things accounting. Please submit any comments or feedback in the section below!

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Good point about needing an accountant at all levels of business. For a while, I thought I didn't need an accountant because I run a small business. We have a storefront but don't get tons of customers. Now that we are trying to figure out our taxes, I am very confused as to how our finances work. Hiring an accountant sounds like a good idea to me now.