What do employers want in an accountant? Here are the three most important things companies are looking for when hiring accountants.
Let’s face it: the job market is brutally competitive. In order to succeed you need to make the most of all of your opportunities – because you don’t know how many more you’re going to get.
But how can you help yourself stand out from the crowd? What particular traits do employers consider to be especially valuable when they’re hiring accountants? The following three qualities are the ones employers keep their eyes out for when they’re looking to add an accountant to their team.
A strong ethical commitment
Employers want an accounting candidate whose personal and professional ethics are unimpeachable. From your manager to the other members of your team to the company’s shareholders – they will be a lot of people depending on you to present an accurate report of the current state of the company. When it comes to accounting ethics, there’s little room for interpretation: both legally and morally, right and wrong are as night and day to one another, so it’s important that you understand and maintain the distinction.
From your manager to the other members of your team to the company’s shareholders – they will be a lot of people depending on you to present an accurate report of the current state of the company.
Your resume, then, should speak to your strong ethical principles and commitments. When an interviewer asks you to describe your greatest strengths, be prepared to offer a relevant and timely example of how you managed and resolved an ethical dilemma to the satisfaction of all of the parties involved.
Attention to detail
Job postings in the accounting and finance world commonly list attention to detail as one of the prerequisites for a successful candidate. Preparing accurate reports, analyzing data, communicating results precisely – all of these require an ability to pore through large swathes of information without losing the trees for the forest. Even the smallest mistake, after all, can compound over time and ultimately cost a company thousands of dollars. No wonder, then, that a sharp eye for detail is one of the most sought-after qualities among employers.
Communication and business partnering skills
The days when accountants could exist in a numbers bubble are long gone (if they ever existed in the first place). Today’s accountants are expected to be strong communicators who can convey information to different stakeholders, including those not especially versed in accounting and finance. Businesses hire accountants who can step into situations with limited information, evaluate processes, and work seamlessly with different departments.
Even the smallest mistake, after all, can compound over time and ultimately cost a company thousands of dollars.
You need, therefore, to be the kind of person who is always asking: “How can I add value to this situation?” For example, imagine that you are partnered with the IT group, which is working on a new technology platform. Your role, as an accountant, may be to sit down with them and review their budget, timelines, and expenditures to date. For this, however you’ll need to have a good understanding not only of the financial picture, but also of the personalities involved. Accordingly, employers want to hire accountants who can add value to their operations, but are also capable of working well with their other teams to enhance success.
Employers these days are looking for certain key competencies in accounting candidates. Above all, they want people who have a strong sense of personal integrity, exceptional communication skills, and can effectively partner with their team and other departments. If you can relate your stories of success along these three lines, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself the candidate of choice.
Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!