What To Look For In A Potential Accountant

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As your business starts to grow and expand, you might consider hiring an accountant. Depending on how badly you need one, you might be tempted to hire the first or second one you come across. However, this could be a critical mistake. Accountants play a vital role in your business, and any mistakes could be devastating.

Accounting mistakes could result in lost profits or legal trouble. Thus, it is important to ensure your potential accountant is reliable and dependable.  Be sure to check their education, work history, and references.

Finding an Accountant

The internet has made it easier than ever to find qualified staff. There are many websites available that connect businesses with professionals. Make an account on several of these websites and create a profile listing what you are looking for in an accountant. You can also search the profiles of potential candidates when looking for the right person.

Carefully look over their profile to ensure professionalism. How they handle their profile and online communication is likely how they will handle their accounting. Therefore, an unprofessional profile and major errors are a huge red flag. On the other hand, a high-quality profile can indicate that the individual pays attention to detail, which is what you should be looking for.

You can also find an accountant by posting job listing in the local newspaper. Yes, people still read them. In your listing, include any important information candidates need to know, such as how and when to contact you. Give exact instructions and be clear and detailed about the type of candidates you seek. This will save you time filtering out unqualified individuals.

Qualities to Look For

The more education a candidate has completed, the better they will perform. Ideally, your new account should have a 4-year degree, but a 2-year degree can suffice. You also have to consider how much you are able to pay them. An accountant with a 4-year degree will be more costly than one with a 2-year degree. You also want to run a background check on each potential new hire.

Any violations related to theft should be of great concern. You also want anyone you hire to be dependable so that you don’t have to worry about them calling off or not showing up on a regular basis. So, check their references. Did they give their last job a two-week notice? If not, they might abandon the job you give them as well.

Interview

So, you have found the right candidate. But you also have to interview them. It’s important to know proper interview techniques. While interviews cannot completely ensure you found the best accountant for your business, they can give you the best chance. The interview does not start when they walk in the room; its starts when they first enter the building. You want to consider how they walk and how they interact with other staff members. Are they polite and respectful or rude? Did they show up on time, early, or late?

When they enter your office, notice whether or not they smile and make eye contact. Pay attention to how they carry themselves. When it comes to interview questions, ask them why you should hire them and what they can offer you. It’s also important to ask why they want to work for you. This will let you see if they put in the effort into researching your business. If they already know your mission statement, take it as a good sign.

People often view others as being like them. They imagine other people view the world as they do. So, ask them if they believe people are honest. The answer they give could be an indication of how honest and trustworthy they are. But it’s important to use this method with other factors to get a clear picture.

Photo: Marcin Wichary / CC 2.0

2 thoughts on “What To Look For In A Potential Accountant

  1. Finley Moreira

    I thought your suggestion to use interviews in order to find a good accountant to be really helpful. I’m looking at hiring an accountant to help with my taxes, but I hadn’t even thought of holding interviews with potential candidates. I think I’d feel much better about hiring an accountant after being able to sit down and speak with them first.

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  2. Ashley Maxwell

    Thanks for your comment about how you should set up an interview with an account that you are hiring to make sure that you can get to know them and their personality. I like how you said that they should have had valued getting an education in their field as well. If someone with a small business was considering accounting, I would assume that they would keep these tips in mind when looking.

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