How to Make CPA Recruitment Easier for Your Firm

By Robert Half on June 4, 2020 at 7:00pm

Many organizations are finding that CPAs, certified public accountants, can be valuable resources of advice and insight in this time of business disruption — and in unexpected ways. For example, some clients are looking to CPAs to assist with tasks such as evaluating risks or assessing business continuity plans, in addition to providing tax compliance and tax planning services.

In a recent blog post for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), Minh Graham, CPA, and lead manager of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, suggests that as businesses transition to the next new normal, many CPAs will likely continue to provide nonconventional services to them because they “have proven they can be the central network for advisory services and strategic business partnering in tax, financial planning, forensics, valuation and technology.”

The upshot for organizations that employ CPAs is that their most experienced professionals are probably going to be even busier than usual in the months ahead — if they aren’t already. So, these firms may want to think about creating a CPA recruitment strategy that will help ensure they have enough talent on hand to manage typical assignments, as well as lend expertise in less-traditional areas.

With that in mind, here are three tips for CPA recruitment that can help you round out your bench of CPA talent:

1. Ask your best employees who they know

If you’ve already got a strong team in place, your CPA recruitment efforts are likely to be easier. Why? Because skilled workers tend to know others with similar qualifications. So, ask your staff for referrals.

Employee referrals are valuable because employees are likely to recommend only those candidates they feel would succeed at your firm; otherwise, they’d risk damaging their own reputation. Also, workers offering referrals can serve as spokespeople for the company by explaining to potential hires why your firm is a great place to work.

To encourage employee referrals, consider offering an incentive, like a cash bonus, to workers who give the firm a lead who turns into a solid hire. Even if your business is minding the bottom line more closely now, consider the fact that this type of investment can potentially deliver great returns in the long term.

2. Open the door to promising entry-level talent

Hiring seasoned CPAs benefits your firm not only because these professionals have a wealth of skills and experience, but also, because many of them can bring an existing book of business with them. But your CPA recruitment strategy should also include entry-level professionals who can, with a little training, confidently take on more traditional responsibilities, allowing more experienced CPAs at the firm to assist clients with advanced, complex or nonconventional tasks.

By providing promising newcomers with professional development opportunities and mentorship relationships, you may be able to build the skills you need rather than try to hire for them. Most entry-level professionals, including recent college graduates, are eager to learn. Candidates who express clear enthusiasm for training, or ask for it proactively, demonstrate that they are motivated and adaptable — two traits critical to success in uncertain times.

Training will require some effort and patience on your part, of course, and may be more challenging if you need to onboard and coach new hires remotely. But investing in talented entry-level accountants can help your organization to develop future leaders. It can also improve retention, as workers will know that the firm actively supports their career development.

For more tips on managing a remote team effectively, see this post.

3. Look to an expert to assist with CPA recruitment

If you’d like to step up CPA recruitment, but don’t have time to manage the process yourself right now, keep in mind that you don’t have to go it alone. You can look to a specialized staffing agency for help. These experts can help you connect with highly skilled CPAs and offer recommendations for fine-tuning your CPA recruitment strategy. They can also help you connect with CPA professionals who are not actively looking for a new role but could be swayed by the right opportunity.

A staffing firm can also arrange for skilled temporary workers in accounting to help support your core team. Temporary staff can be an important part of your CPA recruitment strategy because these professionals often make excellent full-time hires. In many ways, the temporary assignment can function like an extended job interview in which you can take time to evaluate the person’s performance and fit with the company’s culture. Then, you can extend a full-time job offer if you feel you’ve found the right match.

And, if you need to hire team members to work remotely, like many firms need to do in the current environment, Robert Half recruiters can assist with that, too. We can help the people we place to access necessary data and applications, including virtual desktops, securely. And for those who lack the necessary equipment at home, we can provide tech tools to help them get to work right away.

Stepping up your CPA recruitment can be a smart strategy, even in this uncertain time. Finding, hiring and developing CPA talent can help your team to better manage clients’ changing requirements both today and in the future.

Whether you need one person or a whole project team, and whether your needs are short-term or full-time, Robert Half recruiters can help you hire skilled professionals today.

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