Looking for Top Talent? Avoid These Accountant Job Description Mistakes

A hand filling out an accountant job description form

The search for a stellar new employee can be stressful, especially when you need to find a top replacement quickly. However, with a little analysis, a dose of hindsight and a bit of linguistic polish, you can craft an accountant job description that will attract the right talent. Just make sure you're not making these common mistakes before you post the job listing:

Outdated descriptions
It isn't enough to recycle old versions of an accountant job description. First, examine the existing description closely for any information that no longer applies. Even small details like an old website address or phone number can cause unnecessary confusion.

Take an informal poll of supervisors and other employees who will be working directly with the new person to get a real-time sense of daily responsibilities and challenges. You may even want to have a chat with the employee who is leaving to get an idea of the ways the role has shifted over time.

Accounting firms and departments must often be on the cutting-edge of technology, so make sure any tools or software you include in the description are up-to-date. This will help you attract skilled candidates who want to work with the best firms. Ideally, you should take as much care crafting the perfect new job description as your new employee does when revising a resume and cover letter.

Too long or too short
An accountant job description that is too generic or dense may be overlooked by busy job seekers. Use clear, straightforward language and set information apart with bullet points where appropriate.

Avoid using unnecessary company buzzwords and jargon, especially in your job titles. Those should be short: Simply refer to the position as "Bookkeeper," even if the official internal title is "Bookkeeper and Occasional Copier Technician/Fridge Cleaner, Level 15 Executive."

Additionally, you should provide a colorful sense of office culture and the type of personality you're looking for. Ranking or breaking down the amount of time an employee spends on tasks into percentages would be appreciated by numbers enthusiasts, but be sure that this breakdown accurately reflects the work they'll be doing.

Vague or inexact expectations
Don't be afraid to spell out exactly what you want. Avoid discouraging job seekers by calling skills "required" when they're only preferred. If you'd prefer, but don't require, an accounting and finance certification or advanced degree, make this explicit. If you're looking for someone who is great with clients or diligent about compliance and enjoys being in the weeds, for example, say so. If the work you do is less traditional, or requires specialized knowledge or language skills, make sure to include that in your prioritized list. Find out how, and to whom, the new employee will be accountable and state this information clearly.

Overall, a fresh accountant job description should be one that goes beyond listing minimum requirements. While describing the job (and not the person who currently holds the position) is key, a few personal touches and a list of precise expectations will attract top talent.