You need to hire a senior accountant and fast. Without someone to oversee accounting staff and bookkeeping, to prepare financial statements, or analyze balance sheets and income statements, your business may not perform optimally. But do you know how to hire a senior accountant? Do you know what strategies to apply to quickly find and hire the best candidate for your company?
It is essential to have a thoughtful strategy in place to recruit a senior accountant. The reason is simple: these professionals are subject to fierce competition. According to the latest Robert Half Salary Guide, senior accountants will be among the most sought-after accounting and finance professionals in 2022. Here are some tips to speed up your search for a top-notch senior accountant.
Write a relevant job description
Writing job descriptions is a tricky exercise. You need to be as specific as possible to attract professionals who have the skills and experience your business needs. However, you should avoid making a long list of requirements. It could scare away promising candidates who, with little training and development, could master the main responsibilities of the position fairly quickly.
We must therefore aim for a balance in the information provided by the job description of the senior accountant. You'll likely indicate that you're looking for a professional who has three years of general accounting experience and at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, business administration, or a related field. This is the typical experience required for this role. Also mention if you prefer candidates with certifications, such as Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA).
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Beyond these basic criteria, all you have to do is describe the responsibilities of the position and the qualifications required. Are you looking for an accounting professional with in-depth knowledge of accounting principles and technology, financial statements, risk assessments, and budgets? Be sure to state this clearly. By clearly specifying the skills and knowledge that a candidate needs to perform these functions, you will attract professionals who are a perfect fit for the position.
But again, be careful how much detail you include in the job description. Determine the essential qualifications and assets for the position of a senior accountant to be filled. Be realistic, while being flexible.
Provide insight into your company's work environment
The senior accountant job description should also provide insight into your company's culture and general work climate. Indicate for example if you offer flexible hours. (75% of Canadian workers consider flexible working hours a major perk, according to research for our latest Salary Guide.)
Also, what type of training and career advancement and development opportunities does your company provide? What are the core values of your organization? What steps is the company taking to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Without going into details, give an idea of the organizational culture. This type of information can help you stand out to candidates, who will perceive you as an employer of choice.
Expand your reach by collaborating with a specialist recruiter
A talent management agency can help you write an effective job description, in addition to helping you with the general process of finding a senior accountant. Knowledgeable recruiters know the realities of candidates in your industry and region. They are also able to effectively assess a candidate's skills and experience.
Specialized recruiters can tap into their extensive networks and approach talented professionals who may not know about your job opening or are not even looking for a new job. Although happy with their current position, many senior accountants would be willing to change employers if the right opportunity presented itself. It is these people, the passive job seekers, that the recruitment professionals of a large talent management solutions firm will help you find and target.
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Offer Competitive Salary and Benefits
If you want to hire (or retain) a highly qualified senior accountant, you need to offer competitive compensation. To stay on top of salary and hiring trends, check out top industry resources, like the Robert Half Salary Guide.
According to the latest edition of the guide, the average starting salary in Canada for a senior accountant (general accounting) with average experience and most of the skills needed for this position is $74,500. You can use our online Salary Calculator to locate national salaries in your local market.
Don't forget to outline bonuses, perquisites, and other incentives offered by your company. These are valuable assets through which you will stand out to the coveted candidates. As our Salary Guide indicates, health care insurance paid time off, and retirement savings plans are among the top benefits most workers seek.
Ask about personal and professional skills during interviews
Today's dynamic, technology-driven world and remote or hybrid work environments require the perfect balance of technical skills and interpersonal skills. That's why, when interviewing for the position of senior accountant, you should ask questions that will help you get a good idea of these abilities.
You can ask questions that apply to accounting, such as "Which accounting software are you most familiar with?" to assess a candidate's technical knowledge. Also take advantage of the interview process to determine their knowledge of the latest changes to the tax code, their level of experience in carrying out complex financial projects under tight deadlines, or their way of preparing budgets.
The interview is also the perfect opportunity to assess a candidate's confidence, work ethic, ability to collaborate with or manage other people, etc. Behavioral questions (Give me an example of a time when you had to explain something complex to a customer, supplier, or co-worker. or How would you respond to a customer who insists you made a mistake?) assess communication skills, problem-solving skills, customer service skills, adaptability, and other personal skills.
Follow up on professional references
Don't consider this part of the process of hiring your new senior accountant a mere formality. This is an essential step in recruiting with confidence. Checking professional references can help you better understand a candidate's qualifications and professional qualities. You will also be able to get a clearer picture of the person's accomplishments with previous employers.
Take the opportunity to learn more about technical skill or a strong point of the candidate, in particular by asking a question of this type to his former manager: "I understood that Zahara was in charge of the preparation and the analysis budget for your business Can you tell me more about her duties as an assistant accountant?
You can then go further by asking about a weak point, for example how the candidate might handle a more senior position: "Zahara has no experience in managing accounting staff, which is part of the duties of the principal accountant in our firm. What do you think she will do as a manager?
The strategies presented above will help you conduct both quick and thorough research to find a senior accountant. They can also save you from missing out on a diamond in the rough who, with a little polishing, could turn out to be the best senior accountant your company has ever hired.