How to Hire an Accountant

Does your growing business need an accountant? Beyond crunching numbers, an exceptional accountant can organize your company’s day-to-day financial matters, offer expert advice on practical business problems and make sure you’re staying on the right financial track.

Here are some tips to help you find great accountant candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Accountants searching for jobs on Indeed*

376,653

job seekers that clicked accountant jobs

79,997

resumes for job seekers with accountant experience on Indeed

9,005

accountant jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring an accountant?

  • Common salary in US: $54,688 per year
  • Typical salaries range from $14,000$126,000 per year
  • Find more information on Indeed Salaries
Common
 
 
$14,000
$126,000

*Indeed data (US) – December 2020

As of December 2020, accountant jobs in the US are moderately competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 42 job seekers per accountant job.

Why hire an accountant?

Hiring an accountant can be beneficial at any stage of your company’s growth. The right hire can free up time for you to build your team, expand your customer base, and generate revenue — all with the peace of mind that an expert is managing your books.

Contributions of a great accountant:

  • Handle taxes and ensure your business complies with federal regulations
  • Oversee your budget, cash flow, payroll processes and other daily financial tasks
  • Develop realistic financial projections to help you make better business decisions
  • Serve as a dedicated resource for reporting on financial status
  • Improve current systems and financial procedures to determine areas for growth

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance accountant

Before writing an accountant job description or interviewing candidates, it’s important to decide if you need a full-time, freelance or part-time accountant (and what your budget will allow).

Many businesses only hire accountants during tax season, but some businesses find that having a staff accountant is more valuable. Consider starting by outsourcing either a part-time or freelance accountant for a few hours per week. If you find that you’re calling them for advice more frequently, it may be time to hire a full-time accountant or bookkeeper to take care of day-to-day accounting tasks.

 

What are the different types of accountants?

When hiring an accountant, it’s important to understand the specific kind of accountant you need for your business. Here are some of the most common types and levels of accountants to help you find one that meets your needs:

  • Accounting clerk: Performs data entry tasks and uses Excel formulas to prepare financial records for accountants to analyze. 
  • Auditor: Reviews financial statements to ensure everything is compliant.
  • Chief financial officer (CFO): A senior executive accountant that manages a company’s overall finances, including financial reporting, planning for the future and managing financial risks.
  • CPA: A certified public accountant who has passed the CPA exam and meets state education requirements. CPAs often have more expertise than accountants without this credential and also have the authority to legally represent your business before the IRS.
  • Staff accountant: A mid-level accountant who is typically employed full-time at a company to take care of accounting tasks. Usually works under the supervision of a financial controller or CPA.

Where to find accountants

To find the right accountant for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Join a professional accounting association: There are many national and local accounting associations you can tap into to find candidates (e.g., American Institute of CPAs, National Society of Accountants). With a membership, you can often access directories of members who match your hiring criteria. 
  • Ask for referrals: Reach out to friends, family members and current employees and ask if they know or have worked with accountants they would recommend.
  • Recruit at local colleges: Attend job fairs at local colleges to recruit accountants who meet your education requirements.
  • Post your job online: Try posting your accountant job on Indeed to find and attract quality accountant candidates.

Skills to look for in a great accountant

Accountants handle a vital part of your business and your company’s most sensitive financial information. To find an accountant you can trust – and who will offer more for your business beyond just balancing the books – look for qualifications and work experience that reflect top accounting skills.

Accountant qualifications:

  • CPA certification
  • Familiarity with accounting software, such as QuickBooks
  • Analytical and mathematical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Business acumen
  • Collaborative work style

Writing an accountant job description

A thoughtful description is important to finding qualified accountant candidates. An accountant job description should include a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your accountant job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on accountant jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Accounting
  • Accountant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Accounts payable
  • Staff accountant
  • Finance & accounting
  • Payroll
  • Accounts receivable
  • Bookkeeping
  • Accounts payable clerk

Interviewing accountant candidates

Make the right accountant hiring decision by thoroughly vetting candidates and asking targeted interview questions that will reveal their knowledge, skills and important personality traits.

Topics for accountant interview questions:

  • Accounting platforms and software
  • Maintaining accuracy in accounting
  • How they’ve driven real business results

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of accountant interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire an accountant

When should I hire an accountant?

Consider hiring an accountant when your business’s first tax filing is due. A good accountant can help you lower your taxes and make sure you’re filing the right paperwork. It may also make sense to hire an accountant before your first tax filing is due since accountants can also help with things like payroll and planning your business’s financial future.

Do I need an accountant if I use QuickBooks?

Even if you manage your business’s finances using a software tool like QuickBooks, it’s still often a smart idea to work with an accountant to check your work, limit your tax liability and give you personalized financial advice to help you grow your business. Business taxes can get complicated and it’s often best to have an expert guiding you through the process.

Should I hire a bookkeeper or an accountant?

Depending on your business’s needs, you may need both a bookkeeper and an accountant. Bookkeepers typically deal with day-to-day accounting-related tasks, such as tracking company expenses, submitting invoices and making sure employees have filed the right paperwork for payroll. Accountants, on the other hand, can file your business taxes, produce important financial documents and give you bigger-picture financial advice. 

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021