8 Tips for Your Finance & Accounting Hiring Process

July 19, 2023
By Sheri Pepper

As any business owner will attest, a solid finance and accounting team is critical for company success. And for those who oversee the recruiting and vetting of accounting team members, a solid hiring process checklist and plan can result in a great hire.


If you need to bring on an accounting professional to backfill a role or accommodate an increased workload, it’s important to think through all elements of the hiring process before posting the position.


The following hiring tips will help you plan your approach so you can attract the right applicants and make a winning job offer to the most qualified candidate.


1. Define the Accounting Professional You Need


An important first step is to assess both what the accounting department and the company need to manage fiscal responsibility and support strong financial performance. Assess your current team’s responsibilities, strengths, and weaknesses, and any skills and knowledge gaps or redundancies. Look at any company initiatives or special projects on the horizon that may impact your team’s time, skills, or ability to deliver. 


While you may be hiring for a functional accounting role with clearly defined duties, be sure to determine if any job requirements are outdated or no longer needed or if you can expand responsibilities to make the role more forward-looking.


2. Map Job Responsibilities to the Appropriate Job Title


Once you’re clear on what duties the new hire will perform, make sure you assign the correct job title, especially if responsibilities have been removed or added. The basic finance and accounting department hierarchy is as follows: 

  • Accounts Payable/Receivable Clerk: Entry-level position who processes invoices, manages payments, and maintains accurate financial records.

  • Staff Accountant: Handles various accounting tasks, such as reconciling accounts, preparing financial statements, assisting with audits, and analyzing financial data. May handle payroll responsibilities.

  • Financial Analyst: Conducts financial research, performs data analysis, and provides insights to support decision-making. Often specializes in areas such as budgeting, forecasting, or investment analysis.

  • Senior Accountant: Is generally more experienced and has a greater responsibility than a staff accountant. Manages financial reporting, analyzes complex financial transactions, and ensures compliance with accounting standards and regulations.

  • Accounting Manager/Supervisor: Oversees accounting department’s day-to-day operations. Often manages the accounting team, ensures accurate financial reporting, and develops and implements accounting policies and procedures.

  • Controller: Is responsible for the organization’s overall financial management. Oversees financial reporting, internal controls, and compliance and contributes to budgeting, forecasting, and financial strategy.

  • Finance Manager: Oversees the company’s financial operations, including financial planning and analysis, cash management, risk assessment, and strategic financial decision-making. Collaborates with other departments and senior management to support organizational goals.

  • Director of Finance: Provides strategic leadership for the finance department by developing financial strategies, overseeing financial planning and analysis, managing external stakeholder relationships, and contributing to the company’s strategic decision-making.

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO): The organization’s top-level finance executive in charge of the company’s overall financial health. Responsible for financial strategy, risk management, investor relations, and financial reporting. Is critical to determining the organization’s financial direction and supporting its long-term growth.

3. Write an Accurate and Compelling Job Description


You’re competing with other employers who want to hire quickly and successfully. Make sure your job description accurately describes the role and piques the interest of qualified job seekers. To get your job posting in front of the right candidates, be sure the job description contains the same keywords that applicants use in their job searches. 


In addition to listing job responsibilities, make your opportunity stand out by describing the organization’s benefits and culture. Be specific about the great reasons someone might want to work at your company and on your team. For ideas, read our article on how to write a great job description.


4. Comply with Pay Disclosure Requirements


Pay transparency laws are rapidly changing, and many states and municipalities require employers to include an accurate salary range in job postings. Others require companies to disclose salary information to both employees and candidates. Before you post your job or schedule interviews, be clear about which pay transparency regulations apply to your situation, so you are well-equipped to handle the salary discussion.


5. Prioritize Must-Have Qualifications


Your job description might include everything you want in a new employee, but few candidates will check every box. Therefore, be prepared to assess applicants against a list of “must-have” qualifications so you have a default process for short-listing people to interview. 


Because the fields of finance and accounting are highly regulated and employees handle sensitive company information, your team needs to be extremely accurate and accountable. You may therefore want to prioritize applicants who have: 

  • Appropriate education and work history

  • Proven knowledge of key job responsibilities

  • Experience in your industry

  • Proficiency in popular technical accounting systems

  • Stellar attention to detail

  • Clear communication skills

  • Strong problem-solving abilities

  • Impeccable ethics and trustworthiness

  • A collaborative, adaptable approach

  • Ability to manage stress and work well under pressure

  • Dedication to best practices and continual improvement

6. Conduct Background Checks


Make sure your top candidate passes all background checks. Confirm their record of employment and educational credentials. Ensure that any licenses or certificates required for the position, such as a CPA or CFA designation, are verifiable and current. 


7. Use Assessments to Check Hard and Soft Skills


Technical assessments uncover whether candidates have the skills and knowledge to accomplish tasks specific to their accounting roles. You can utilize online tests to determine proficiency in accounting skills, technology, software platforms, and more. 


Behavioral or personality assessments help you evaluate a person’s soft skills and determine if they are a good fit with your team and the company’s culture. You’ll want to see how the individual’s values align with the company’s values and whether they complement – or detract from – the current team dynamic.


8. Provide a Competitive Compensation Package


To attract top accounting and finance professionals, you need to offer a salary at or above market rates. Our Salary Guide and Workplace Trends Report provides compensation guidelines for a full range of finance and accounting roles so you can determine where your rates fall. Most candidates want a new job to offer a strong benefits package, so consider if you’re in line with the competition by offering benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, professional training, or incentives. 


With this hiring process checklist, you can organize the accounting and finance staffing process, attract the best candidates, and ultimately make better hiring decisions. And remember: if you continuously refine your hiring strategies based on feedback and industry trends, you’ll stay at the front of the competitive talent market.


Have questions about hiring the right accounting team member? Contact our finance and accounting hiring experts today to learn how we can help.  At Nelson Connects, our purpose is your success.



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