How to Recruit Accountants Who Can Sell

We all know that many of the winning personality traits that make for a great engine room accountant are being analytical and having a serious attention to detail. But what happens when  you identify that your firm is short on accountants with commercial acumen who can pitch and win the new business that you need to thrive?

Here’s our top 5 tips for recruiting accountants who can also sell!

1. To attract these accountants at the job advert stage, don’t be afraid to big up the importance of being a people person, a skilled communicator, being personable and ensure that the need to sell is mentioned as part of the job description.

For example…

‘The Partners are keen to meet applicants with experience in pitching for new business.’


‘The successful candidate will be expected to represent the firm at relevant networking opportunities with a view to enhancing our reputation amongst potential new clients.’

2. To spot these accountants on paper look for references on their CV to networking, building client relationships and winning new work.

There’s a place in every firm for the accountant who tells you that they can autonomously oversee the preparation of accounts or audits for a portfolio of 200 clients with huge associated turnover – that’s a serious skill! But it’s likely that that person is inclined to being an introvert.

And introverts don’t win new business.

3. Put their skills to the test at interview. 

When you’ve done your due diligence in shortlisting and feel confident that you have a selection of candidates to meet at interview who you hope might tick both the ‘great accountant’ box and the ‘skilled salesperson’ box, give them the opportunity to build on this at interview.

It’s commonplace for interviews to involve some kind of case study or role-play exercise which can be in written format or face to face.

Hit the interviewees with some examples of situations where there might be a hidden opportunity to upsell or to benefit from a client referral. Do they spot it? And if so do they find the right balance of ‘being of service’ as opposed to being pushy?

The best sales people sell without the potential customer even noticing that that’s what’s happening!

4. Check their references and that their claims are backed up with fact.

This one goes as standard for all appointments but particularly if you’re looking to check that someone possesses the skills and attributes needed to upsell. So make sure it’s a specific question that you ask their referees.

And if you’ve found the true shining light in accountancy recruitment, the accountant who promises to bring with them an associated fee income (happy days!) make sure you check these claims out. Realising that a candidate isn’t quite what they said they were after you’ve appointed them is a costly and stressful mistake to make.

5. Work with a recruiter who just knows. 

If you represent a small to medium sized firm and HR and recruitment isn’t what you live and breathe, then be sure to partner up with someone for whom it is! And in this situation we’re absolutely the recruiters that you can trust. If you choose to work with us on a retained basis we’ll take great care to be sourcing the kinds of candidates who have the specific skillset that you’re looking for and we’ll help you come up with the perfect package of benefits to attract them.

The efficient day to day tasks of a busy accounting firm need to be completed to a high level and you’ll need staff who you can trust to get the job done and done well. But a failure to bring in people who will also help you progress to the next level and replace the normal through flow of practice will leave you exposed to the terrifying project of clients drying up.

Don’t let that happen!

To work with the most trusted niche accountancy recruiters in the UK, reach out today for a no obligation call. We do the hard work finding the people, leaving you free to do the hard work of running your firm.


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