Finding the Right Professional Services Firm for Your Accounting Staffing Needs

Needle in a haystack

You know exactly what you're looking for: an accounting specialist who will deliver professional services when you need them. Surely, it shouldn't be hard to find one. You'll just ask around and post a few advertisements – probably get more candidates than you need, right?

Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Available specialized accounting professionals are scarce because many of the best ones are already employed and because the pool of these individuals is relatively shallow. When you realize how tough it is to find good candidates for specialist accounting roles, you'll see the benefits of working with a professional services company to help in your recruitment efforts.

Talent shortage in the accounting field

Maybe you've already noticed the talent shortage in the accounting and finance field. A free report from Robert Half, The Demand for Skilled Talent, outlines a trend toward specialization likely to continue for the next decade. It's a job seeker's market for top talent.

In a Robert Half survey, 63 percent of CFOs polled said their companies found it "very challenging" or "somewhat challenging" to identify and recruit candidates with the necessary skills and experience for professional-level roles. Meanwhile, the top performers in these roles often receive multiple offers and counteroffers.

A professional services firm can help with your staffing needs

So if you are facing stiff competition in hiring accounting and finance specialists, what steps can you take to still meet your needs? One approach is to consider how much time you need from an accounting professional. Many businesses don't need an accountant eight hours every day, but they do need access to a reliable, fully experienced professional.

A staffing company can help — especially a professional services firm that specializes in providing interim workers in accounting and finance. They already have a pool of experienced professionals they can place your with company. These firms handle the time-consuming aspects of bringing a temporary worker onboard, such as conducting initial interviews and skills testing, as well as handling administrative issues, like completing the necessary paperwork. That can be a big relief to busy hiring managers.

A specialist staffing firm can identify an accounting expert who can come in for a limited period of time to help manage a spike in workload, assist with a special project or provide cover while you search for a full-time employee. You have access to the accounting expertise you need for the exact amount of time you need it.

Making it work with a professional services staffing firm

Your company has a number of options when it comes to which staffing firm to work with. But with so many options, making the right choice can seem difficult.

Reputation is important. The best job candidates — those individuals you want working for your firm — are registered with the best staffing firms. As mentioned earlier, specialization is also a key factor in attracting skilled talent, so look for a staffing firm that focuses on the accounting and finance industry.

The following checklist can help you identify a professional services staffing company you can rely on to provide the support you need:

  • How long has the firm been in business?
  • Does the company have locations in other cities where you have operations?
  • How does the service recruit and retain a highly skilled set of candidates?
  • How does it evaluate and select workers?
  • How broad and deep is its candidate base?
  • How does the service match needs with skills?
  • Does the service guarantee its temporary workers? Does it provide replacements if the original candidate doesn't work out?
  • What professional staffing firms do members of your network recommend?

If you're a member of any professional associations, ask them for advice and recommendations about professional staffing services. Remembering that the staffing firm with the best reputation will attract the highest quality candidates, ask yourself these questions, too:

  • Is the staffing company a respected industry thought leader? Are they featured in business media? Do they speak at events or carry out insightful research?
  • Is the firm actively engaged with the accounting and finance community?

Armed with these points to check, you'll be able to quickly evaluate several professional services staffing firms and decide which you'd like to work with.

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