How to Find Qualified Accounting Staff

In today's competitive job market, companies struggle to fill positions with qualified candidates, so building an accounting staff can be a challenge. Here are some strategies for finding candidates, making sure they’re qualified, and getting them to take the plunge with your company.

Finding Candidates

The best way to find an accountant is through a referral. Perhaps someone within your company has a friend or acquaintance who’s qualified or has worked with a really great accountant in the past. Or maybe your bank can recommend someone. Reach out and you may be surprised by who sends a star your way. If there is a recruiting firm you’ve done business with or have been referred to, they may also be able to find more candidates since they have a more extensive network.

Vetting Candidates

There are several things you should look for in an accountant to make sure they’re right for your business:

  1. Background Check

At an absolute minimum, they should pass a background check; these people will be handling your finances so you need to make sure they haven’t mishandled money in the past.

  1. Certification

It’s also important that they be either a CPA—Certified Public Accountant—or a CMA—Certified Management Accountant. These two certifications prove that your applicant has a Bachelor’s degree and has passed an additional test of accounting knowledge; they also have to take courses in order to maintain their title.

  1. Experience

Finally, relevant experience in your business sector is invaluable. The needs a small business has for an accountant are different than those of a large firm, so look for an accountant who knows what your business specifically needs.

Hooking Applicants

Unfortunately for many businesses, there are more accounting positions than accountants right now. An American Institute of CPAs study found that finding and retaining qualified staff was the most pressing issue for nearly all accounting firms. Why should they apply for your position when there are so many out there to choose from? One way is having an efficient and painless hiring process; if you respond slowly and conduct too many interviews, you’re likely to lose candidates to one of their other prospective employers. If you’re in a pinch, consider accountants from outside your sector, who while lacking direct experience in your type of business, still have CPA or CMA certification and the general accounting know-how to get it done.

It is definitely a challenge to find a qualified accountant right now, but if you reach out into the right circles and act quickly, you might just find someone perfect. For more tips on how to make an impact in finance, browse this free whitepaper.

Sources:, AICPA