Sunday, March 15, 2009

Don't Underestimate the Power of the Accountant!

By Mauricio Navarro

Jobs are being slashed left and right. Businesses are crying Uncle (Sam)! And people nationwide are clutching to every penny they have, just in case. Yup, it's tough times out there across America. However, one segment of professionals isn't shaking in its dress shoes fearing layoffs: Accountants! Unlike many industries, accountants and CPAs are still in high demand; even those early in their careers, are in high demand.

Know what that means for those of you who are looking to hire accountants?

It means that you've got to step up your game. Despite the challenges that your firm may be facing due to the economy, you still have to be competitive to hire good accounting talent. Therefore, if you want to have the best of the best accountants on your staff, you have to be willing to pull out all of the stops (or as many as you can) to make your firm stand out from the rest. Yes folks, the shoe is on the other foot!

In order to attract top accounting talent to your company, keep the following in mind:

Money talks. In this economy, salary is definitely going to be a key factor in deciding which company to go with. Put a good offer out initially to attract applicants; be ready to up the ante when it comes to snatching up your #1 candidate.

Job security entices. A firm that can promise a new hire a job in the future, and that is willing to put that in writing, is sure to go on any job candidate's A-list.

Benefits coax. Along with food, gas, and housing costs, medical costs are also on the rise. Make it easy for your top candidate to say "Yes!" to your offer by taking away their worries. If you have the authority to do so, attempt to update and renegotiate your current benefits package because the benefits package is a HUGE factor for any job candidate-accounting or otherwise-trying to narrow down his or her choices.

Vacation rules. Even though the job description may say it will only be a 40 - 50 hour workweek, accountants know better. They know that it's a very real possibility that any company they join may need to downsize at any moment, and that their workload may balloon at some point because of that. Therefore, it's a good idea to make taking that risk worth your candidate's while. Stay within company policy but give leeway on vacation where you can; when all other factors are equal, it's the paid time off / vacation time that will likely be the tiebreaker.

If you want top accountants to work for your company, you need to advertise your company as "the place to be." That means showing your company's personality and highlighting your good qualities in your job postings. That means having good customer service when potential new hires contact your HR department. It also means hiring managers need to be ready to be interviewed when candidates come in for their interviews. After all, just as you'll be deciding whether you want a particular accountant on your team, they accounting candidates will be deciding if they want to be on yours. Put your best face forward!

Mauricio Navarro is managing partner at Accounting Staffing Group LLC - a leading accounting staffing company providing accountants, finance & accounting staff to companies and governments worldwide. We provide financial staffing & accountants on a temporary, project or permanent basis to clients in various industry sectors. Job seekers can search our large database of accounting jobs.

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