How to Hire a Billing Manager

By Robert Half February 4, 2020 at 11:00am

A good billing manager can be the difference between having a healthy cashflow and chasing down client payments for months.

So whether your business is growing and you need someone to take on this role, or your current billing manager is on their way out, finding the right person for the job — fast — is of the utmost importance.

These accounting professionals handle functions essential to most companies, including supervising the billing department, ensuring accurate invoicing and reconciling accounts with the general ledger. Now all you need to do is hire one.

Spoiler alert: It won’t be easy.

Your competitors are fishing in the same talent pool, and top candidates can be picky about who they go with. If you want the edge, you need a thoughtful recruitment strategy that minimizes the time spent between drafting the job posting and onboarding your new team member.

Craft a hard-to-ignore billing manager job description

First impressions count. A good job posting introduces candidates to your company, explains in clear terms what they’re applying for and what they need to succeed in the role, and makes an airtight case that joining your team is their next great move.

If yours doesn’t live up to all the others out there, the best resumes will scatter to every hiring manger except you.

Spell out the essentials that an applicant needs for the position. At a minimum, your billing manager should have five years of billing experience, a college degree in business or a related field, and rock-solid proficiency in Microsoft Excel. Managerial experience is usually important, though how much of that you require depends on the size of your billing team.

Beyond these standard details, your job description should outline the position’s responsibilities and required skills. Are you seeking a candidate with experience reconciling billing accounts, hiring and training staff, and liaising with the accounts receivable and collections departments? Make sure candidates know what will be expected of them.

What about leadership and interpersonal skills? This is a chance to do some in-house research: Talk to your billing team and ask what qualities they respect most in a manager. Finding out what motivates your staff helps you fine-tune your job description to attract the right candidates.

Right doesn’t mean perfect, though. Don’t let your job description become a laundry list of nice-to-have skills and experience that sound like they’re must-haves. A well-crafted posting filters out unsuitable candidates without alienating strong ones who may not tick every box.

Reach out to a recruiter

If poring over resumes doesn’t feel like the best use of your time, a specialized staffing agency like Robert Half can save you a huge amount of time and effort. As well as helping you craft a job posting, such an agency evaluates the experience and skills of each candidate to help find the right fit for the position, aided by their own experience in and insight into your field and geographic area.

Staffing agencies also have extensive industry contacts. This allows them to target talented professionals who aren’t actively looking for a new job but could be interested in your open position if the circumstances are right.

Make the job interview count

The interview is a candidate’s chance to show you they’re as good in practice as they seem on paper. Time is limited, so it’s best to avoid questions that only confirm what you already know — “Do you have experience in this role?” for example, or “Are you good with Excel?” Instead, consider open-ended questions like these:

  • What do you consider the top three skills of a great billing manager?
  • How do you organize and prioritize your work?
  • Apart from Excel, what accounting or billing software are you familiar with?
  • Talk me through a time when you spotted and resolved a discrepancy in accounting records.
  • Describe a billing error you made, how you fixed it and what you learned from it.

In addition to confirming a candidate’s technical abilities during the interview, you should aim to assess their soft skills and whether they’re likely to fit your organizational culture. A gifted introvert with years of experience may not thrive in a raucous, heavily collaborative work environment. Similarly, a manager who’s better at handling clients than colleagues may shine in one aspect of the job, only to struggle in another. Here are examples of questions designed to tease out a candidate’s soft skills and personality traits:

  • What are the most rewarding and the most challenging aspects of managing a team?
  • What would you expect to accomplish in the first 30 days of this job?
  • How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
  • In general terms, describe your most challenging client. How do you handle this relationship?
  • What sort of work environment brings out the best in you?

Research billing manager salary ranges

If a candidate looks good to you, they look good to your competitors, too. You need to make your top choice an attractive offer before they look elsewhere.

The 2020 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals shows that the midpoint starting salary for billing managers is $54,250. This is the national figure, and actual salaries may vary according to location. Use our Salary Calculator to find out what billing managers expect to earn in your city.

If you can’t offer someone their ideal salary, think about what else might attract them to your company. An eye-catching package of perks and benefits is more than just icing on the cake — extras like flexible schedules or catered lunches are strong selling points that can tip the balance in your favor.

Move quickly (but carefully)

An efficient hiring process is important, but you shouldn’t move so fast that you don’t have time for reflection. After each interview, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Can I see this person adding value to our organization and thriving in the process?
  2. Does this applicant have the critical skills they need now, and can they pick up other skills with the right training?
  3. Is this person a good fit for our corporate culture and work environment?

When the answer to all these questions is yes, you may have found your next billing manager.

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