Everyone knows that good things come in threes. And as it happens, the major accounting designations in Canada make up a trifecta: employers can choose from Certified Management Accountants (CMAs), Certified General Accountants (CGAs), and Chartered Accountants (CAs). Candidates from each of the designations offer their own specific benefits, skills, and experiences; for example, we’ve talked before about the advantages of hiring a CA, and will soon be discussing the advantages of adding a CMA to your team.
So which designation makes sense for the position you are trying to fill? Are you looking for someone with auditing experience? Would you prefer to hire a professional with a more strategic background and approach? Or maybe a candidate who’s dipped their toes in both auditing and strategy? As any recruiter will tell you, hiring well is not only about understanding the requirements of the job you’re looking to fill, but also grasping the skills and qualifications that are available.
Nuts and bolts
CGA’s often have the profile of practical “doers.” When you hire a CGA, you’re hiring someone who breathes debits and credits like the rest of us breathe air. For example, a CGA may have spent two years on core accounting skills with journal entries, reconciliations and month end tasks. Consequently, they will understand the underlying foundation of accounting – something that makes them capable and adept at the more complex analytical work.
Learning the accounting fundamentals from the ground up provides a strong foundation for refining and building processes as well as broad exposure to different systems including ERP’s, consolidation tools as well as planning and forecasting systems.
Hands-on work experience
When you hire a CGA, you’re hiring someone with at least twenty-four months of approved, full-time experience at the senior accounting or financial management level. In other words, you’re bringing aboard an accounting veteran.
The expression “newly minted CGA” is something of an oxymoron, then: every CGA will already have a boatload of hands-on industry experience. In fact, before CGAs can receive their designation, they must have worked at all levels; they’ll have performed very junior duties as well as handled higher-level senior demands. The upshot for you, as an employer, is a candidate with a breadth of experience as well as a well-rounded perspective.
Grow with the company
Employers today are looking for candidates with a proven ability to grow and learn – someone who has demonstrated that they can scale up the corporate ladder, assume new responsibilities and authority, and grow with their organization. CGAs are required have experience at the junior, intermediate, and senior levels, so tracking their career progression is relatively easy; the designation is proof that the candidate has the capacity to grow professionally.
If you hire a candidate who is working towards their designation, you actually have the opportunity to shape their skillset from the ground up, as it were. As CGAs are learning and working at the same time, you can mentor them directly, fostering skills and habits that are efficient and drive value for your particular business.
When you hire a CGA, you are hiring an accountant’s accountant. We’re talking about a technologically savvy professional with ample industry-based experience, who will have no problems grasping the nuts and bolts of your business. But you’ll also be hiring an individual with a proven ability to learn – someone who can grow with your company.
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!