Tax practices of all sizes are wondering how to hire an accountant in an increasingly scarce and competitive market. From 2019 to 2021, the industry saw a 17% drop in the number of staff accountants and auditors, according to Bloomberg Tax. In order to continue attracting quality talent, firms must learn how to be better accounting recruiters. 

Here are nine expert tips to improve recruiting practices, set your firm apart from competitors, and hire the accountants you need. 

9. Build better job listings 

Don’t just tell candidates what you’re looking for in an employee. Justify why your company is a great place to work. As an accounting recruiter, your job listings should be both informative and compelling. Clearly outlining job responsibilities, pay range, and benefits is a must. 

Do I really need to add the pay range? If you want to stay competitive, yes. These days, job hunters will filter out listings that don’t provide a pay range with a single click.

The job description should also make an emotional pitch to the reader. Don’t just list the position details and call it a day. Use aspirational language about your team and how this role can benefit the candidate’s career. Read your own listing and ask yourself, “What feeling did this leave me with?” 

8. Upgrade your careers page 

Remember, clients aren’t necessarily the only audience on your website. Tax professionals might also come across your business in search of job opportunities. Having a careers page on your website provides an excellent opportunity to highlight your company culture with testimonials, staff photos, and short promotional videos. Be sure to include a link to apply for open positions at the top of the page. 

Leave the nitty gritty details for your job listings. The number one thing candidates want to learn from your careers page is, “What is it like to work here?” 

7. Incentivize referrals 

Each of your staff accountants has a network of professionals they’ve met throughout their career and personal life. In addition to posting listings on reputable websites, use your connections to spread the word and find top talent. 

Establish an incentive program to compensate team members who refer successfully hired candidates. You get to fill the position, your staff gets rewarded, and the new hire gets to join your firm. It’s a win-win-win solution! 

6. Enable remote/hybrid work options 

Tax professionals are in short supply and high demand, which has given them newfound leverage in labor negotiations. One of their major stipulations for hire? Remote and hybrid work flexibility. Data from Robert Half shows that 87% of workers considering a job change are interested in hybrid or fully remote positions. 
Modern digital solutions can enable tax firms of any size to facilitate remote work without sacrificing efficiency. With remote infrastructure in place, your firm can expand beyond local hiring and interview candidates from across the country. 

5. Appeal to young staff accountants with modern technology 

Digital applications that may be new to you are second nature to many Gen Z staff accountants. Recent graduates understand today’s software and know that they don’t have to spend hours inputting data or indexing workpapers. 

Adopting advanced digital solutions that streamline or eliminate manual work can be a major selling point for young tax professionals. Shifting the focus toward expertise-driven work offers them more opportunities to hone valuable skills and grow their career. 

4. Recruit where the Big 4 accounting firms recruit 

Accounting recruiters at large firms will often attend college career fairs to attract interns and soon-to-be graduates. But these events aren’t limited to big business—tax practices of any size can typically register. Firms on the small end may actually have a competitive advantage since they’re often able to offer a more personalized, hands-on job experience than larger companies. This is exactly what some candidates are looking for. 

3. Hire a recruiting firm 

Maybe you don’t have the time in your day to handle accounting recruiter duties in addition to normal responsibilities. Why not hire someone else to do it for you? Recruiting firms specialize in finding high-quality candidates that fit your needs and quickly arranging interviews. All you need to do is interview the candidates and select the best fit. 

2. Create a standardized rubric for hiring candidates 

Finding it difficult to choose the best candidate? Creating a standardized rubric to assess and compare applicants can help you make a more informed decision. Use a scale to measure how candidates fare in each category. If one category (e.g., experience) is especially important to you, be sure to place extra weight on it in your final calculation. Once you’ve interviewed everyone, tally each candidate’s score and see who ranks the highest. 

Of course, each candidate is bound to make qualitative impressions that can’t be measured on a scale. That’s why your rubric shouldn’t be the ultimate authority in the decision process, but rather a tool to help guide your own judgement. 

1. Reinvest in your top talent 

You don’t always have to look outward to fill open positions. The ideal candidate could already be on your team. You know the strengths and weaknesses of your team members better than any outside applicant. Try visualizing how they could perform in a more advanced role, even if they would require additional training. Providing internal opportunities for career advancement fosters a positive work culture and increases staff retention. 

Maximizing the utility of your accounting staff 

Staffing ranks among the top issues the tax and accounting industry faces today. Even firms that take a proactive approach to recruitment are still struggling to fill every position. Fortunately, recent advancements in automation and AI can supplement the shrinking supply of tax professionals. 

Find out why firms are struggling to hire qualified talent and learn how they’re adapting by reading our whitepaper, Staffing pains in the tax and accounting industry.

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