Hiring a qualified person for your accounting department naturally requires that they have the necessary education and experience for the job. However, it takes more than skills and knowledge of accounting to make for a good employee.
Soft skills and culture fit are arguably even more important in finding the person who can fit into your workplace culture. What follows are some tips into finding the right accountant for different offices in your business structure.
Accounts Receivable Accountant
Here you will need someone with good customer skills. This is a position where they will interact with customers and the general public. This means that the candidate that is selected must have a good, open personality that is pleasing and appeals to customers or clients who may have questions or seek more information.
When hiring, look for someone with good people skills, who is patient and has a friendly attitude. This means you will need to ask potential candidates about their past experience in working with customers even if it was not accounting related.
Accounts Payable Accountant
In this role, candidates for this position should have a good understanding of what proper pricing is for the type of items or services that you purchase. While it should not be expected that they know the exact price of everything your business acquires, they should have the skills to look up such information.
When hiring, search for someone who has research skills, previous experience as a buyer and who generally thinks before acting. Quite often, bad purchases are made because the accountant made an assumption based on outdated information or a misunderstanding of what the items actually were. You need someone who thinks and researches before they act.
Payroll is one area where you need someone with an outgoing personality. This is for someone who works well with your employees and takes the initiative in understanding their questions and provides friendly, accurate responses.
Search for someone who is outgoing, friendly and pays close attention to detail. For accountants in payroll, this is a very important position that requires a personality that can handle the day-to-day stresses as well as work with employees who have questions or concerns.
Overall, finding the right type of accountant for a position means more than just their education or accounting background. You’ll want to see if they have the personality traits that are best suited to the job. This can be discovered by using behavioral interviewing, asking for examples of situations where they’ve encountered a difficult situation and listening to their responses.
Obviously, if a candidate has specific experience in any one of these three fields, then you will want to put them at or near the top of your hiring list. However, in many cases good, qualified accountants may have similar experiences in other areas which you will need to examine in order to make the proper choice. A little research and a few more pointed questions can reveal the right person for the job.