In 2016, the accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation and payroll services industry generated about $19 billion in revenue, which was a 3.4 percent rise from 2015. As this industry grows, an increasing number of individuals are pursuing accounting degrees. This means accounting firms will have their pick of job candidates.
The Top 3 Qualities to Look for in a CPA
It’s not uncommon for CPA firm hiring managers to find themselves with many applicants per accounting position. If they look for these three qualities in candidates, it will be easier for them to choose the right accountants for their firm:
1. Trustworthiness — Above all, an accountant should be trustworthy and confidential. Accountants handle sensitive data every day, and you need to know that they will never communicate that information outside of the office.
Unfortunately, it can be tough to determine whether or not a candidate is totally trustworthy. To discern this you will need to rely heavily on two things: a candidate’s references and your gut instinct.
When speaking with a potential employee’s references, don’t shy away from asking pointed questions about his or her trustworthiness. Also, never fail to listen to your intuition. If you have a hunch that something just isn’t right about a candidate, pay attention to it.
2. Creativity — One might not consider creativity to be a critical skill accountants should have. However, when you consider the amount of problems an accountant faces on a given day, it makes sense that he or she would need this soft skill in order to succeed and add value to an accounting firm.
“Accountants are the ones who practice out-of-the-box thinking to come up with fresh solutions – some client problems aren’t textbook cases and require special attention and a degree of creativity,” stated Accounting Web.
To determine candidates’ capacity for creativity during an interview, present them with a problem or two that they might encounter while working at your firm. These problems should be somewhat unusual and require applicants to use critical thinking skills and creativity to generate good solutions. An applicant’s answers will give you an idea of his or her creative abilities.
3. Digital literacy and openness to new technologies — Accounting technology is changing rapidly. New technologies are consistently emerging. For an accountant, digital literacy is vital. Also, CPAs should be open to learning new technologies and not stuck in their ways about using older technologies they are comfortable with.
Digital literacy paired with a curiosity about new technologies indicates that an accountant can handle any curveballs the technology implemented by your firm might throw at him or her. This is a great sign.
How to Know if an Accountant is Right for Your Firm
How will you know if an accountant is right for your firm? Besides being a good fit culturally, he or she will be trustworthy, creative, open to new technologies and data literate.
What qualities do you seek in an accountant when building your firm’s team?