Skills To Lookout for When Hiring Accountants
Assessing the accounting skills of potential candidates from your talent pool can be a daunting task. Traditionally, recruiters only consider the resumes and educational qualifications of the applicants. But studies have shown that more than 78% of candidates misrepresent themselves on their resumes and CVs, making it a harder task of finding the potential talent for your roles.
Which brings us to the biggest question, how can recruiters weed out unqualified candidates from the talent pool? You can never estimate the skills of candidates by just assessing their cognitive abilities with an aptitude test or a soft skills test.
If you are looking to fill positions in financial firms or are hiring for candidates for accounting work, then it is important that you assess the accounting skills of the talent pool. Proficiency with on-the-job skills can be easily gauged using an accounting test. Such a form of assessment has a higher test-taking rate of almost 86% when compared to the traditional industry standard of 50%.
Online pre-employment assessments to screen candidates based on their accounting skills is an effective tool during the recruitment process. With such an online accounting test, you will be able to assess the following skills of the candidate:
Accounting and Finance Principles
With a customized online accounting test, you will be able to assess the accounting and finance skills of potential talents. Every candidate should have a basic knowledge of the fundamental accounting principles and day-to-day tasks. Here are some of the most important ones that the candidate must be aware of:
- Matching principle
- Revenue recognition
- Historical cost
- Accrual principle
- Cash Flow Inventory
- Valuation Ratio Analysis
- Profit & Loss Statement (Income Statement)
- Full disclosure
- Journal entries
- Ledger entries
- Balance Sheet
Up-to-date technology expertise
It is often a challenge for employers to find the best talent that also has expertise with finance and accounting-specific software programs and tools. As most mundane accounting tasks are becoming automated, a candidate with tech skills can expect a quick career progression as well as an increased salary. Even basic accounting jobs now prefer expertise in at least one tool related to day-to-day tasks.
Other examples of technology-related accounting skills that are in demand are:
- Advanced Excel ability. This can be assessed by using a customized excel test to gauge the candidate’s expertise with excel functions, formulas, and other advanced abilities.
- Fundamental Microsoft Visual Basic skills.
- Knowledge of QuickBooks. QuickBooks is an accounting software that is mainly used by small and medium businesses for accounting applications and payroll functions.
- Expertise or basic experience in big data analysis and advanced modeling techniques.
- Knowledge of SQL to handle huge volumes of data. You can easily assess the basic concepts of SQL with a pre-hire test.
- Knowledge of business intelligence software. For example, CALUMO, Microsoft BI, Tableau, etc.
Expertise in specialized areas
Expertise or basic work experience in specialized fields such as regulatory compliance, corporate taxes, auditing, or revenue recognition is a strong complement to the already existing accounting skills. Look for candidates with concerned certifications if the role to be filled requires to focus on specialized areas.
Some of the most popular accounting certifications & licenses are:
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
- Accredited in Business Valuation
- Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)
- Forensic Accountant
Research and Reporting Skills
If you are hiring a candidate for an accounting job it is essential that they have research skills as well as the ability to create and manage detailed reports. Some of the basic accounting reports that the candidate must be aware of are:
- Balance sheets
- Income statements
- Cash flow statements
- Statements of shareholders’ equity
With the help of analytics software, candidates can connect various data sources and work on them conjointly to visualize the data and therefore eliminating potential data silos.
Possession of research skills will help the potential talent to manage business accounts and financial reports in an efficient way. The skills to create, manage, and visualize these reports can easily be assessed with the help of an online accounting test.
Attention to Detail
Accounting professionals deal with a load of data that must be analyzed and interpreted to reach desired results. This requires them to be detail-oriented. Attention to minute detail is important to ensure the consistency and accuracy of financial reports. A detail-oriented mindset allows candidates to verify financial data, generate accurate accounting statements, and maintain consistency in financial practices.
This helps in minimizing the potential for errors in accounting which could lead to internal audits and/or investigations by regulatory agencies.
Effective Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Potential employees in accountant roles must be able to effectively communicate ideas and information with other teams and clients. This includes both verbal and written communication. Day-to-day tasks require accountants to prepare, present, and manage budget proposals, tax reports, and other financial reports. Effective interpersonal skills are necessary to ensure that information is delivered across the team clearly and there are no misunderstandings.
Some other important interpersonal skills include:
- Problem Solving
Critical thinking skills are essential in the field of accounting and finance to evaluate reports and to apply accounting principles to novel problems within ethical standards of practice. Hence it is important that candidates have the ability to conceptualize, analyze, and evaluate given data.
So, the above-mentioned skills are the ones that you should consider when looking to hire an accountant for your financial or business needs. If you are just going to hire candidates based on their educational achievements then it can prove to be a major issue in your recruitment and selection process. The pre-employment accounting test is the best option when it comes to hiring candidates for accounting roles.
Since most pre-hire assessments are online, it is easier for employers to use these tests to hire the best talent for their business needs.
About the author :
Keerthi Rangan is a Content Marketing Strategist at Adaface. She primarily works towards content creation for SaaS businesses to build authority and attention.