Things to Look for When Hiring Accounting Contractors in Toronto


Hiring for accounting contractors is hard. Just ask any hiring manager. My friend, David Mudd, Principal at Mercer Consulting in Toronto, has said that hiring for a contractor can be just as challenging as hiring for a full-time position — if not harder.

Why? A lot of it has to do with the circumstances under which contractors are usually hired. Generally, accounting contractors are brought on-board under conditions of duress — for example, a sudden vacancy due to an unexpected resignation, that’s left your in-house finance team critically shortstaffed. In these kinds of emergencies, you want a highly skilled, experienced professional who doesn’t require a lot of hand-holding, someone who can slip into their role and perform right away — like a pinch hitter in baseball, who the manager can call upon, late in the game, to take a big at-bat.

Hiring under duress
So you need a seasoned veteran who can step in and contribute from the get-go. But you also want someone who won’t completely upset or destroy your team’s chemistry in the process. Now, recruiting for fit is hard enough under the most ideal circumstances. Even after an exhaustive job search, countless interviews and follow-ups with references, and hours upon hours poring through resumes, it can still be a struggle to find the right talent that meshes with the culture of your team and organization.

But hiring for fit when the clock is ticking on a deadline, your team has already been working itself to the bone, and you need somebody, anybody, to help them pick up the slack?

There’s a reason why they say “desperation breeds defeat.”

No wonder, then, that a lot of poor hires get made in these cases. And believe me — everyone loses when things don’t work out. Your contractor will be unhappy about having been put into a situation where they don’t feel like they belong. Your superiors will be unhappy at the possibility of having to expend further resources to restaff the position. And the rest of your already depleted finance team will be unhappy about still not receiving the support they need. That’s a lot of disgruntled people.

And they’ll all be looking at you.

So yes, hiring accounting contractors can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be. At Clarity Recruiting, we specialize at finding and recruiting the best talent for fit. Here are some general pointers about hiring accounting contractors in Toronto that can help you find the most qualified and capable people to fill your contracting needs.

Look for lengthy periods of employment
Pay close and careful attention to your potential hire’s work history. In particular, look at how long each of their previous jobs or periods of employment ran. “The longer, the better” is a good rule of thumb by which to judge candidates, regardless of whether they’ve worked mostly contract or permanent positions. After all, candidates who’ve excelled in previous contract positions are normally rewarded with extensions beyond the original length and terms of their contract. Likewise, candidates who’ve been successful in full-time positions will tend to have remained with their employers for some time, progressively working their way up the corporate ladder. Longevity is the hallmark of success in a contractor — it tells you that the candidate can fit into an organization and make a home for themselves there.

Look for familiarity with the same accounting systems
If you’re recruiting to fill an urgent need (as is usually the case when hiring contract accountants), then you will want to keep an eye out for contractors who are already experts at, or familiar with, the specific accounting systems, programs, and other technologies used by your company. This is especially an advantage when staffing higher or more senior roles, such as an analyst position, where having extensive experience using the same kinds of tools and performing the same kinds of analysis will be critical to the contractor’s short-run success. That prior technical expertise can make all the difference in your candidate’s ability to contribute quickly and relieve some of the pressure from your finance team.

Look for experience with similar companies or industries
As you’re hiring in a pinch, you will want a contractor who is capable of delivering results with the shortest possible ramping-up period, and who will thus spend as little time as necessary taking their bearings or getting comfortable. Previous employment in an industry or company that’s close to your own will help immensely in this respect. For example, contractors who’ve already worked at companies similar in size or scale, culture, and hierarchy to your own organization will probably make for a better fit than candidates whose experience is limited to smaller/larger companies or companies with radically different cultures, work schedules, and management styles — and who will, as a result, have to first acculturate to your organization.

These are some important things you, as a hiring professional, will want to look for when recruiting accounting contractors in Toronto, so that you end up with only the best and most qualified talent to meet your contracting needs. Finding the right accounting contractor can indeed be tough, but we at Clarity Recruiting are committed to making it easier for both you and your organization.