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The Secret to Hiring A Great Accountant For Your Team

  • April 20, 2019

Keeping your company’s finances healthy is one of the most important responsibilities for any business. Every penny of revenue needs to be accounted for, bills and payroll have to be paid on time, and tax responsibilities need to be met.

In managing issues of credit and debt for your business, you can’t afford to cut corners. It’s vital that your organisation maintains accurate financial statements and records, and unless you’ve outsourced these responsibilities to an accounting firm, these tasks fall on the shoulders of the company’s accountant.

As your business grows, it would be a good idea to consider relieving yourself of financial management and working with a professional. If your company is ready to hire its accountant, it is essential that you find someone who is suited to your business’ needs. In this article, we’ll cover how you can find the right accountant for your company.

What to look for when hiring an accountant

If your company has the funds and is positioned for strong business growth, it makes much sense to bring on a full-time accountant. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing that a trained professional is keeping an eye on your company’s financial figures and growth at all times.

In addition to having business acumen, excellent organisational skills, and a strong aversion to risk, accountants must be trustworthy, highly precise, and great with numbers. Moreover, if they are working in a client-facing role or as part of a team, they also need to have great people skills. Finding all those qualities in one individual is a tall order. But to meet your business goals, you need to have the right people in place.

The best advice we can offer is to work with someone who understands your business. You could start by asking contacts in your industry to refer you to their recommended accountant or accounting firm. Working with a specialist recruiter in your industry – especially one who has served you well in the past – also has some advantages.

Once you’ve shortlisted some promising candidates, arrange to meet each accountant for an initial consultation. Here’s what you should assess during your interview:

An all-encompassing financial professional

Can the accountant handle your business needs? Depending on the size and complexity of your business, you may require a strong team to dedicate themselves fully to your business’ financial needs, working directly with you on high-level business planning.  Make sure whomever you choose to work with is capable of handling all of your present accounting requirements as well as those for the foreseeable future.

Assuming you’re hiring your first in-house accountant, you’ll likely need someone who can do it all, rather than specialising in a specific area. A well-rounded accountant should be able to not only maintain the company’s general ledger regularly but should also be capable of using it to point out trends and opportunities for financial growth.

They’ll also need to be able to manage payroll, ensuring that every employee is paid correctly and on time as well as managing expenses and paying bills. In addition to managing the ledger and payroll, your in-house accountant will be responsible for correctly paying your business taxes on time as well as maximising your deductions throughout the year.

Ability to communicate the numbers

Ultimately, you probably want someone who is able and willing to get past the jargon. Tax regulation, for example, contains a lot of technical language. You should look for an accountant who can explain high-level tax topics in an accessible way. An accounting professional who helps you understand financial topics more deeply will also enable you to better understand and manage your own business.

While communication is key in any job, it’s especially important for someone who solely manages a company’s finances. The nuances of accounting are complicated and difficult to grasp for anyone who isn’t a trained accounting professional. The best accountants can present these complicated concepts in layman’s terms.

You should seek an accountant who can meet with your leadership team and outline problems and opportunities in a way that everyone can understand — that way the team can discuss the best course of action and make the right decision.

An understanding of your industry and business type

Do they truly understand your business? An accountant who works predominantly with clients in your particular industry will hold specialised, up-to-date knowledge that could help you take advantage of tax breaks and deductions available to your business. They’ll also know how to navigate your type of business through any changes in tax law as and when they occur.

You should not only seek candidates who are well-versed in all aspects of accounting; you should also look for a financial professional who has the right background for your business. An ideal accountant will be familiar with how your specific company operates. If they already have experience working with companies in your industry, they are more likely to understand the costs and operating procedures of your business, which could be especially beneficial for tax preparation.

Additionally, you should seek a financial professional who has experience working with businesses at a similar stage as your company. They should know what opportunities and challenges lie ahead, so nothing catches them off guard as the company continues to grow.

An expert in the latest technology

Like most professions, accounting is being constantly shaped by new technology. Modern software helps accounting professionals efficiently accomplish tasks while giving them deeper insight into their company or client’s financials.

While many younger accountants are embracing this new technology, others continue to favour out-dated solutions. When meeting with a potential accounting employee, it’s crucial to ask them what software they use, why they prefer it and how they see technology impacting the profession in the future.

You’ll want an accountant who is up to date with the latest office technology, as well as someone who is willing to learn and embrace new technology. This flexibility and willingness to implement new technology will prove crucial to the future success of your company.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for help with recruiting call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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