We see it every day – businesses that put off hiring an accountant for too long. By the time they come to us, they have finally hit the breaking point, and now they need someone immediately to get their books in order and implement strategic financial planning. They ask questions about how quickly an accountant can be onboarded and approach the hiring process with panicked urgency.
These days we are also seeing an influx of companies that were getting along just fine with their current staff before COVID hit, and now the business must adapt to survive. In this scenario, companies are typically looking to bring in an accountant to help get them through the recession. But a pandemic is undoubtedly not the only impetus for this type of staffing change. Any time a substantial change occurs due to a market downturn, competitive landscape transformation, or regulatory shift, businesses seek financial assistance to help them to evolve.
Hiring an accountant rapidly inevitably evokes questions like:
Any business owner looking to hire an accountant should be aware of the issues that time restrictions can create during the hiring process as well as the barriers that exist to finding the right candidate. Often the answer to the question, “How can I hire an accountant fast?” is to utilize an interim accountant or explore additional business options if business complexities are driving the need to fill the position quickly.
The Problem with Time Restrictions
The simple fact is that hiring internally costs a lot of money and time. A study by Glassdoor indicates that the average employee costs $4,000 and 24 days to hire, with specialized roles costing even more and taking even longer. Additionally, that figure assumes that the employee hired is a good fit for the position. Bad hires can cost their employers more than ten times that much.
Unfortunately, there is no way to fast track the hiring process and still do it correctly, which is why time constraints are one of the main reasons why businesses outsource these types of roles. Too often rushed internal hiring becomes focused on finding the best candidate among the available applicants that meet availability and salary criteria instead of finding the right candidate for the position and the company.
Finding the Right Candidate
Rushing can lead businesses to compromise on desired credentials, qualifications, and experience levels. While this may be passable for lower-level roles or non-specialized positions where there is more opportunity for low-risk on-the-job training, an accountant’s educational background, certifications, and relevant experience are crucial components in finding the right candidate to help steer the ship.
When hurried, companies may also skip their usual employee checks and screenings such as:
Using a reputable third-party provider increases the likelihood that you will find a trustworthy, knowledgeable, reliable accountant to handle your finances. Additionally, accounting companies have many accountants on staff whose knowledge can be pooled together to offer a more comprehensive financial analysis and more sophisticated financial leadership than a single accountant on his/her own.
A temporary accountant can always be hired while you look for an in-house accountant. However, if you are not entirely sure you need a full-time accountant on an ongoing basis, it may make sense to outsource the role to an accounting firm that can offer retainer services or part-time duties while you answer this question. Business owners may think that they need an accountant because they are stretched beyond their limits when they only need help during their busy season or at tax time. If this is the case for you, look for a local accounting company that offers a la carte services to cover these types of needs.
In other cases, a business is looking to hire an accountant assuming that this individual will fill any and every sophisticated financial need that their company has, which is why defining the role is so critical. You may find that what your company needs is a higher-level financial position with responsibilities that are outside of the scope of an accountant. Once the role is defined, use our helpful guide to determine whether you need an accountant, controller, or CFO by matching up your requirements and expectations with typical job descriptions for each category of financial professionals.
Hiring a CFO role is a far more daunting task than hiring an accountant, which makes outsourcing the position even more desirable for cost and time savings. If you have more complex or sophisticated financial needs, a fractional CFO can provide c-suite level financial functions on a contract basis.
If you have been relying on a bookkeeper for your business, read our guide on how to transition a bookkeeping role to an accountant before hiring for the new role.
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