The Ideal Accounting Candidate

Accountants fit into more categories than just tax. Their skills and knowledge can be molded into many facets of many positions, including clerks, payroll managers, accounts receivable, analysts and much more. When considering bringing an accountant into your company, what experience, skills and background should you be looking for?

Identify the company standard.  
Before considering the skills you need from your candidate, look at the skills and expertise that are already established within your company. Do you see a trend? Are there patterns or clusters of skill sets you deem desirable? These questions are important because they help lay a foundation for the success of your business. They are also important because the goal posts have moved when it comes to the “typical” accountant. That is to say that the skills and knowledge required by an accountant has grown and shifted a great deal from twenty or thirty years ago. These days, accountants can bring much more to the table besides number crunching and bookkeeping. 

Basic skills.
“Ground-level” skills that many companies need include the basics — organizational skills (extreme organization), interpersonal skills, strong mathematical skills and proficiency in Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, and ledger skills. The reason these are ground-level skills has more to do with the variety of jobs in the industry and the versatility of these basic skills. Candidates with these ground-level skills can be hired into clerk positions, bookkeeping, credit and collections, and accounts receivable and payable, and other similar jobs. Ground-level skills are a necessity for any job, and candidates with strong ground-level skills are highly desired due to trainability. 

Higher level skills.  
For positions in banks, analysis, healthcare, government, international business, underwriting, mortgage accounting, lending, cost accounting and many other jobs, higher skill sets are required. If your company needs fit into one of these categories, then you typically need candidates with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. These candidates should already have ground-level skills. On top of the basics, high level candidates in economics, your industry ERP systems, Microsoft Excel, cost accounting, strong analytics and technology, interpreting and reporting of tax regulations, and a high level of communication and problem-solving skills. Not all of these skills are required for your accounting candidate, but you should have knowledge of what your industry is in need of. You should also be aware of the competitiveness of the position within the industry, what type of education new graduates are coming out of school with and what skills your accounting candidate has to have that are non-negotiable. 

The great thing about accounting candidates is versatility. It is important to understand what your ideal accounting candidate looks like. PrideStaff Financial helps companies understand what skills are currently available in the market and which candidates best fit their organization. As one of the top ranked financial recruitment firms in the nation, we can help you find your ideal accounting candidate. Contact us today to learn more.