Regardless of the size of your business, your accounting staff play a key role in supporting your operations and contributing to profitability. Since labor is typically one of the largest fixed costs of running an accounting organization (or any organization for that matter), you need to have smart staffing strategies in place to keep accounting staffing costs in line with revenues. Here are some approaches to consider:
Use what you have
Fill needs, not desks. When an employee leaves, many managers hire a replacement as an automatic reaction. The key is to pause, step back and re-evaluate the situation. What has changed since the departing employee was first hired? Can you get everything done without hiring a new full-time worker? Take a big-picture approach by reviewing all the jobs within your organization to determine how best to organize your people and resources to meet your accounting staffing needs in any business environment.
Promote from within
As much as possible, consider internal candidates first for any job openings or new positions you create. Not only does this save recruitment and training costs, it can also improve morale. Few things are more discouraging to top performers than to not even be asked about their interest in an internal opening. Moreover, if you make a point of favoring outside candidates, you'll send the message that employees have to leave to advance their careers.
Rethink your hiring strategy
If you find that hiring is in your best interest, take steps to avoid a bad hire — and the associated costs. That starts with updating the job descriptions the job posting is based on, separating mandatory skills from those that can be developed on the job. The best accounting professionals are always in demand, so you'll need to give them compelling reasons to work for you. Before you begin a recruiting campaign to staff accounting staffing positions, make sure you've identified the tangible and intangible factors that make your company an attractive employer target candidates.
Turnover is expensive. You don't just want to attract top talent — you want to retain your skilled staff to avoid turnover costs. Many employees would be happier in their jobs if they received a little more thanks for their contributions and hard work. Thanking them for key successes can go a long way, especially if your praise is specific, individualized and sincere. Also be sure that accounting and finance salaries and benefit offerings are at or slightly above market rates. And don't wait until a key player comes to you with another job offer to improve compensation.
Consider using a staffing firm
Not every position requires a full-time employee. An accounting staffing firm can enable you to staff more economically by helping you create a mix of full-time and temporary professionals. In particular, a firm that specializes in the accounting and finance fields can advise you on which types of — and how many — temporary workers would best match your specific needs. Interim staff are also likely to make strong candidates for full-time positions if your needs later change — another benefit of bringing temporary or project professionals on board.
A staffing firm also help save you money because it can handle all aspects of the accounting staffing process: personal interviews, technical skills evaluations, reference checks, soft skills assessments and determination of the suitability of a candidate's fit with your work environment.
When it comes to meeting your accounting staffing needs, expenses can add up. But, in many situations, reducing costs is quite doable. Put on your thinking cap and find out which creative solutions will work for your team.