Hiring an accountant is not much different from hiring other employees—he or she has to be competent, has to have relevant experience, and must be willing to stay for the long term. However, the difference lies in the fact that you will be making nearly all of your business decisions based on the numbers reported by your accountant. In a way, he or she will be an advisor of sorts to you, especially when it comes to cash flow, so don’t simply settle for someone who knows tax preparation.
There are two tricky parts in interviewing an accountant candidate or any employee for that matter. The first is getting honest answers during the interview. Oftentimes, candidates will give answers that the interviewers want to hear, regardless of their truthfulness, and this is not always easy to detect or prevent.
The second challenge is finding a long-term hire. Most candidates will be eager to take the job but few are willing to stay for very long, and the reasons for leaving are endless. There are ways to ask interview questions that will increase the likelihood of you finding the right candidate.
Experience in the industry
Most interviewers will ask questions about experience near the beginning of the interview. While this is a good first gauge of a candidate’s fit, it’s also easy to invent answers. To keep this from happening, listen to their response carefully and probe into their answers. If the accountant candidate says that he or she worked for so-and-so company, do not stop at simply asking about what they did; instead, find out what they achieved in that company, and ask how they did it. When they give you an answer quickly enough, and their answer comes with enough detail like methods, KPIs, and takeaways, it’s a sign …» Read more