How to streamline the accountant hiring process

How to streamline the accountant hiring process

For accounting firms, filling vacancies with qualified candidates can be a challenge. Finding individuals with the right skills is a painstaking process, and one that takes time.

However, tools and technology can slash the time between posting the job and hiring the right candidate.

The employment review website Glassdoor.com conducted research throughout 25 countries on the length of time it takes to find, interview, and hire professionals.

This research revealed that, in early 2017, across all industries, interviewing candidates took an average of 23.7 days; that was slightly longer than the time recorded in the previous two years. Depending on the country, city, and industry, the interview time frame varies. In the U.S., the average length of the interview process for accounting and legal jobs (which were grouped together in the same “industry” in the survey) was 19.7 days.

Accounting jobs require specific skills — specialized education, a CPA credential in some cases, knowledge of certain software, and other requirements. Thus, firms often involve the direct hiring manager, a human resources manager, and one or more principals of the firm in the review and selection process. Who interviews candidates will vary and likely depends on the size of the firm and its hiring policies. The process is complex and spans advertising vacancies, filtering through résumés and qualifications, interviewing candidates, and ultimately selecting the final candidate. It can be exhausting and can consume days for evaluation and discussion.

“Sourcing a candidate alone can take a considerable amount of time as most companies are not primarily posting a requirement and waiting for active candidates to apply online,” says Scott Grant, talent acquisition leader with the public accounting and consulting firm Crowe Horwath LLP in Chicago. “In addition to posting opportunities, companies rely heavily on employee referrals, sourcing teams and third-party search firms to saturate the market and uncover qualified passive candidates.”

To streamline the hiring process, Grant advises using technology tools to perform much of the prerequisite screening before conducting interviews. He suggests the following considerations when searching for and using technology to expedite the hiring process:

Tools that take advantage of our digital world and the technology now available are a means to a smooth and efficient process that saves everyone time, alleviates some of the hiring team’s administrative burden, and provides the candidates with a steady awareness of where they are in the process. 

“In the end, this process must work for both the candidate and the company, and that typically takes some time,” Grant says. “Our goal is to connect high-performing talent with challenging opportunities within the firm.

“When a hiring manager fills their open position, they want to know they have vetted all possible candidates and are making an offer to the best-qualified individual,” he adds. “Consequently, we want the candidate to have experienced an impressive journey and felt this is the best place for them to achieve their long-term career ambitions.”

Jim Romeo is a Virginia-based freelance writer. To comment on this article or suggest an idea for another article, contact Chris Baysden, senior manager for newsletters at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

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