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Hiring for Your Accounting Firm? Here’s an Interview Process for Accountants

Let’s discuss the interview process for accountants. When I’m doing major recruiting, I want no less than 30 new resumes each week. So this for the staff count primarily. I’m having them review it. So, review the info and look for these certain things. I’m looking for customer service experience, tech savviness, some people will even put they were coding or whatever, can they troubleshoot software? Do they have any financial accounting or office management experience specifically as relates to banking, accounting and bookkeeping? And do they exhibit a tendency to stay at jobs for a long period? Do they hop around? What we do is we have a board on Monday, or you could do an Excel doc, doesn’t matter. We basically track every single step of the way, did they fill out the type form, did they submit their resume? Did they do a working interview?

All the different steps…once we got their resume, we enter Monday and then we do a quick phone screen, quick five minutes. Here’s the reason why we do that, the basic objective is to see if they are just quirky, can you have a conversation with them? So again, I use a survey platform that people can fill out. It’s like an application and I basically told them do not waste my time if they don’t fill this form out, do not waste my time to book an appointment, to meet with me if they can’t even do that. 

So, Craig is my admin person. He would schedule a more in depth interview, ask them standard questions. These are the standard questions that we ask, if they’re successful in that, do a personality assessment. We do team dimension. So again, preferably they would be a flexor, maybe a refiner or an executor. I should probably put refiners specifically for the accounting. Then add their profile to Monday, schedule a working interview. 

So I have a working interview. Again, this is really messy. I was embarrassed to show this to you guys, but when we do a working interview we basically have all of these steps that we outlined to see. Are they in the test? It isn’t really their accounting proficiency, it’s more can you work remote, troubleshoot, problem solve on your own without asking me a million questions… and communicate the results. I have them basically set up a new company in QuickBooks, enter three transactions, run some reports, use loom to record yourself and send me both the financial statements and a video of you recording yourself all at the same time.

So they have to figure out how to set up a test company in QuickBooks, how to enter the transactions, run the reports, come up with some kind of script to not look like a fool ,record themselves, show up presentable—thet-shirts and hair I’ve had to… and they have a three day deadline. So can they do those things? And it’s very simple. It would take you like two seconds to do it, butt it was amazing to me, half the people won’t even finish it. First of all, you’ll never hear from them again. The other half,  I had one woman that said, “ I’m a three out of three on nonprofit accounting. I’m a three out of three in QuickBooks. She sent me multiple questions and finally said, “I’ve already spent 12 hours on this.”

I’m like, you’re not a three out of three then, we’re not in an environment where I can do that much training.  The working interview for staff accounts, if they successfully complete those… and again if the application and the team dimensions are not complete, don’t waste my time. If they successfully do that, here’s a face to face question. Here’s the standard questions, the list of questions. So this is what we’re getting now. This is what you really wanted to know.  I want to get standardized so we’re asking the same questions to be fair to all of the applicants. 

So during our interview process for accountants, here is my list of staff interview questions that ranges from, “How would you describe my company in an elevator pitch?” to of course, writing with this job… more about their personality. I’ve already tested a little bit of their tech savviness, which is important when you’re remote, but then some of the questions, I would want to make sure that I’m adding to if I don’t know if I have enough on here. I probably would add more technical accounting questions, like, “Explain to me how a balance sheet, income statement work together.”  Simple ones like, “What happens if you purchase a piece of equipment? What impact does that have?” Honestly, a lot of the people that I hire come from a very light technical account, they’re bookkeepers. They enter transactions, my accounting manager that I just interviewed today. I  just railed them on the technical accounting questions, right? So these are more like personality, culture fit kind of questions, but I can drop those in the Facebook group for you. This interview process for accountants is what I use.

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