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Agile Accountants; How to Spot and Hire Them

The need to employ agile accountants in 2021 has been a recurring theme on the Public Practice Recruitment Ltd blog!

And that’s because it truly is the most important quality you will find in successful post pandemic accountancy firms.

The way we work globally, as we’ve seen, can pivot full circle in an instant. And aside from having staff who are highly skilled in all things audit, accounts, tax, corporate finance, VAT and more, your employees need to be able to handle change and adapt with a moment’s notice.

So if you’re looking to shake up or grow your team this year, how do you spot an agile accountant in a huge pile of CVs?

Well first up there’s a range of skills that you’ll want to see showcased on CVs that you choose to shortlist for your accountancy post. We’ve listed them below. But don’t just look for mention of these skills, you’ll also need to be questioning what evidence these applicants are showcasing that proves they have them. We’ve also listed some examples.

1. Communication

e.g ‘I was responsible for overseeing the creation of the written content for our monthly client newsletter.

This shows that the applicant is experienced in delivering news about change to a client base. But also look out for evidence that the applicant can communicate the need for change to senior colleagues or subordinates.

2. Problem Solving

e.g ‘In the days after the pandemic began I was allocated the task of supporting the firm’s clients who were in crisis management mode.’

This demonstrates that the applicant is prepared to get their hands dirty and turn negative situations into tangible solutions and to act fast under pressure.

3. Time Management

e.g ‘My track record of meeting deadlines is second to none and my employers have always relied upon me to manage additional and unexpected work without compromising on attention to detail.’

You can’t make it a pre requisite that your staff will work late or over time to manage demand on a regular basis, but you do need to know that from time to time they can handle an unforeseen pressure.

4. Creativity

e.g ‘I was proud to have come up with the idea of monthly walk and talks which have been a great way for line managers to connect with their team during a very stressful period of time at home and at work.’

In 2021 it’s no longer acceptable to do something a certain way because that’s the way it’s always been done! Having people on your team who can offer a fresh perspective will be a huge benefit in a post pandemic accountancy firm.

5. Critical Thinking

e.g ‘I offered an alternative solution to a problem which had caused conflict between the firm and our client. This solution ultimately enabled us to retain the client and rebuild the relationship.’

In 2021 the last thing a successful firm needs is a workforce made up entirely of ‘yes’ people. Somewhere in the skill mix there needs to be space for employees who can take a moment to consider a problem or a project and constructively challenge the logic behind it. This is a serious skill as you’ll need to find the person with the balance to offer that critique but also accept when it’s politely declined so as not to hold up progress.

And when you’ve spotted the agile accountants in your applications pile, how can you make sure they accept your offer of a job?

This is another BIG task and unfortunately you’ll need to work much harder than you did just looking for keywords in their CVs.

In 2021 and beyond, agile accountants will be in huge demand and there’s already more roles on offer than talented candidates available.

So the honus here is on hiring firms to really take the time to consider every aspect of their workplace culture and employee value proposition. If you want to employ accountants to future proof your firm, then your firm’s attitude as an employer also needs to be future proofed!

You’ll want to take time to consider if you’re offering:

  • A competitive remuneration scale. Is it on par with your competitors? Can you make it better?
  • Training and onward progression. Can agile accountants see a long term future with your firm?
  • A modern approach. Candidates will want to see that you value diversity, technical development and a modern way of working that includes flexible practices and potentially a work from anywhere policy.
  • An organisation that candidates feel excited to be a part of. Consider all outward facing representations of your firm (website, social media, networking events etc). Do they paint a picture of a fun, connected and exciting organisation that people will want to work for?

And then you’ll need to ensure you’re working with a recruiter who understands ALL of the above. The world of accountancy is unique which is why the support of a niche accountancy recruiter will be worth it’s weight in gold. And at Public Practice Recruitment Ltd our industry experience and vast database of accountants who are quietly waiting for just the right opportunity to tempt them from their existing roles, mean we’re the perfect people for the task.

No accountancy recruiter in the UK is as agile as we are. And an agile recruiter will find you agile accountants – it’s the law of attraction!

To work with the very best in the sector and make sure you’re recruiting just once, call us on 03335 777 787.




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