5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring an Accountant


Hiring an accountant can be a potentially long, difficult, and costly ordeal, especially if you make the wrong hire. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you start the hiring process.

We could probably spend all day talking about the challenges of recruiting good talent. In a perfect world, you’ll find a proven winner who can drive value and performance, but also fits with the culture of the company and team. Ideally, they’ll possess strong communication skills and an innate motivation to do the job well.

There’s a lot riding on this decision. Hiring the wrong person can be an incredibly costly mistake, so the last thing that you want to do you is rush the process. Before hiring an accountant, ask yourself these five questions.

1. What does the business need now (and what will it need later)?

Businesses are constantly evolving. As a result, they require different talent at different times. A hire who meets your company’s immediate requirements may not necessarily fit your needs down the line. Ideally, then, you want to hire someone who can grow with the role.

Before hiring an accountant, assess what your business needs now – but also think long-term. What might the successful candidate have to do three years from now? After all, you want a person who is adaptable and capable of taking on additional levels of responsibility.

2. What team dynamics are at play?

You need to carefully evaluate the team dynamics before hiring an accountant. Your hire’s success will partly hinge on how well they mesh with the natural working style of the rest of the team. While you can look for generic competencies – good listening skills, an ability to get along with different types of people, adaptability to changing situations – you’ll ultimately have to evaluate each individual in order to predict how they’ll function within the unit.

Ask yourself: what do the other members of the team value? Colleagues who disagree on their core values will differ on other things as well. The end result could be a lack of trust, which will preclude productive dialogue and frustrate goals.

A hire who meets your company’s immediate requirements may not necessarily fit your needs down the line.

3. Which area of the company will this hire support?

Determine which area of the company your new employee will interact with the most. This pattern of interactions may be important to consider in a hire. For example, the type of person you want for a role that regularly interacts with the sales team might be quite different from the kind of individual you want to support the technology department.

4. Have you budgeted enough?

It’s a universal rule: you get what you pay for. Understand that great talent costs money, but helps to generate it, too. Top performers drive a disproportionate amount of your bottom line. If you want an amazing candidate, you have to be willing to fork out the cash.

Many companies make the mistake of cheaping out, either by hiring a less impressive, but more affordable candidate, or by trying to convince a superstar to take less money, even though that will only guarantee their departure in a year, when they find a better offer. Don’t nickel and dime if it comes at the expense of hiring success. Determine a salary range that fits your needs and will secure the kind of candidate you’re looking for.

Top performers drive a disproportionate amount of your bottom line. If you want an amazing candidate, you have to be willing to fork out the cash.

5. Do you have buy-in?

Like hiring for any position, hiring an accountant requires that you have buy-in from HR and other key stakeholders. At the same time, you need to keep your boss up-to-date, and ensure that they’re on board with your hiring parameters (e.g., the kind of candidate you’re looking for, the amount of compensation you’re willing to offer).

Ignoring the task of securing your boss’ buy-in can leave you flatfooted. No hiring manager wants to lose their dream candidate at the eleventh hour just because they didn’t sell their boss on the process at the beginning. Take the time to explain to your boss the kind of candidate you think the team needs. Get them to sign off early on the requirements you’ve identified for the position, as well as the type of salary offer you’re expecting. Securing your superior’s signature will lead to a more streamlined hiring process and allow you to move quickly on top talent.

Asking yourself these five questions before you embark upon the process of hiring an accountant will ensure you find a quality candidate – someone who can help you to execute on your mission, reach your milestones, and drive revenue.

What questions have you had to consider before you started down the path of adding an accountant to your finance team? Share your ideas in the comments!

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!