Recruiting CPA’s – beat the shortage
The current CPA shortage is no longer a budding rumor out of Silicon Valley; It’s a nationally recognized phenomenon with serious consequences for businesses finding themselves in need of a sufficiently staffed accounting department. The world of accounting has never really been a romanticized career, yet still there was a time not too long ago when the accountant job market was robust. Everyday companies struggle with recruiting CPA’s and finding new effective ways to identify and hire them becomes key.
Since the famed Enron scandal nearly a decade ago, accounting regulations have become increasingly stringent. As education and workload demands for accountants continued to rise, the number of qualified CPAs has conversely plummeted. Since 2007, the minimum educational requirements needed just to sit for the CPA exam has increased by approximately 30 credit hours. This does not take into account increases to continuing education credit requirements or specific regulation/auditing training, such as SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) training.
However, increased educational requirements are not solely to blame for this trend. CPAs are leaving the profession in record numbers due to job dissatisfaction. Reasons range anywhere from feelings of incompetence to unmanageable workloads. The term “accountant” seems to have adopted an ambiguous definition in recent years, and with it a curiously broad range of professional expectations. Fortunately, there are ways to stay ahead of the game and beat the competition when it comes to recruiting CPA’s.
“Make ‘Em an Offer They Can’t Refuse”
Many CPAs who have left their jobs, move on to open their own accounting consultancy. Although CPAs are in high demand, their businesses often struggle as their rates are more than most businesses can afford. This is of course, is due to the additional expenses they incur by running their own shop. Many of these solopreneurs regret their decision to fly solo, when they realize they left their overwhelming workload, only to replace it with an overwhelming workload. As they begin to grasp how much work goes into marketing, client relations, direct sales, IT maintenance, etc, they begin to wonder if they made the right choice?
Consider a recruiting CPA’s campaign directed at freelance accountants. Offer an attractive signing bonus and emphasize your company’s health benefits, paid vacation and sick leave, retirement packages, and any continuing education allowances you offer. After all, with accountants, it’s all about the money. It should be an offer that provides the solution to a struggling freelancer – an offer he can’t refuse.
Revamp your Accounting Department
CPAs have a broad range of skills, so it is not uncommon for companies to continue to throw any and all financial responsibilities at them. This is often where the feelings of workload overwhelm come into play. Rather than hiring as many accountants as your budget allows and then assigning all financial tasks to them, consider revamping your accounting department. Create a continuity plan for the department and hire strategically. Instead of hiring two CPA’s, consider instead hiring one CPA, whom you place in a management position. They should have only the most important responsibilities that no one else is qualified to handle. With the remaining funds, hire supporting staff that will help streamline your accounting department. This can include bookkeepers, researchers, even an auditing assistant or business planning assistant, depending on your company’s needs.
Accountants are all about order, and nothing is more attractive to an applicant than a well-organized department, with clear expectations and a reasonable workload.
Use an Accounting Staffing Agency
There is no easier way to find an accountant, than at an accounting staffing agency. These individuals are vetted for their skills, so when you hire through a reputable agency, you know you are recruiting CPA’s that is a good match for your needs. This cuts down on a lot of recruiting expenses and tends to lower turnover rate as well. It’s hard to attract a CPA on a short term basis without the help of a staffing agency. For small businesses and solopreneurs, this is the best solution. Most solopreneurs, are classified as “self employed” or “sole proprietorship” and would like to avoid the paperwork of changing classifications and having to deal with W2s and withholding federal taxes. Staffing agencies take care of all those needs for you. The staffing agency deals with all issues payroll related and you simply pay the agency’s invoice like you would any other vendor. It’s also a great option for small companies who only need seasonal help, or temporary work done. A good resource to see more about the struggles of becoming a CPA go to the AICPA site. At Innovo Staffing we can provide all these services, just contact us and we will be happy to help!