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3 min read

How Recruiting Accounting and Finance Professionals Has Changed

Traditionally, hiring managers visited top MBA programs, recruited from the CPA exam, or relied on referrals to find the best accounting and finance professionals. However, the skills needed to be successful in a finance role have changed – and so has the way recruiters hire for these roles.

Financial skills are among the most in-demand capabilities in today’s competitive job market. The unemployment rate in the financial and accounting sector is estimated at 2.2%, much lower than the already low national average. Accounting talent is hard to retain: according to research from Robert Half, 65% of Chief Financial Officers report difficulty in finding and keeping accounting talent. As a result, a lot has changed in how recruiters source, interview, and hire accounting and finance staff over the years.

Technical skills are in high demand

The responsibilities and technical skills for positions such as business analyst, finance manager, and project accountant have changed. Finance employees across nearly every sector must have a unique combination of both traditional finance and IT programming skills. With the rise of cloud-based technology and cybersecurity threats, hiring managers are looking for candidates with a background in both finance and IT. It’s no longer enough for a candidate to have a general accounting and finance background. Companies are looking for finance professionals with anti-money laundering expertise, and knowledge in security, compliance, and government regulations.

Recruiters can test and verify a candidate’s range of skills using the customizable content in Vervoe’s Talent Trials. Instead of performing a standard case study interview, Talent Trials allow recruiters to combine questions in a variety of formats to mimic real-world scenarios. See if a candidate can use a particular accounting tool, understands a government regulation, or can do a basic coding task using an assessment from Vervoe’s library of content or by creating your own custom questions.

Diversity is no longer negotiable

Recruiters are being challenged to increase diversity in their finance and accounting teams. Research has shown a link between diverse teams and higher profits; nevertheless, employees in accounting roles remain some of the least diverse. African Americans represent just 1% of CPA new hires; and, unfortunately, “from there, the percentage of Black/African-American CPAs who go on to become partners in professional services firms is even less than one percent.” There’s a similar trend for gender representation: at the executive level, only 15% of financial services employees are women.

AI-powered ranking is just one way that Vervoe is helping companies take the bias out of recruiting. Resume reviews are time-consuming; recruiters default to screening in candidates with backgrounds similar, or recognizable backgrounds to save time. This can reinforce gender and diversity norms as companies continuously hire the same “profile.” Conversely, Vervoe’s AI tool screens candidates based on their ability, rather than a list of qualifications on a CV. Merit-based automated ranking doesn’t eliminate anyone and can help recruiters diversify their talent pool.

Standing out from the crowd is mission critical

The hiring pool for finance staff has gotten fiercely competitive. According to a 2015 survey, 80% of employers interviewed found hiring qualified accounting and finance candidates to be one of their biggest challenges – to the degree that mid-level accounting and finance professionals were being offered a 13% salary increase to switch jobs.

For a recruiter, signing the best finance and accounting employees means standing out from the crowd. Employer marketing is one tool that has become increasingly prevalent in hiring managers’ arsenals. It’s important to give candidates the best experience possible through growth opportunities, career development trainings, and a company branding strategy that showcases the brand’s values and culture.
A millennial-friendly, great candidate experience is a big part of employer marketing and can help turn even your rejected candidates into allies. Vervoe’s platform is one way to surprise and delight candidates along the way. For recruiters seeking to evolve the way they reach out to and sign new finance and accounting team members.

Emily Heaslip

Emily Heaslip

Emily Heaslip is a versatile freelance copywriter who writes for finance, tech, and e-commerce brands. She currently lives in Cape Town and can be found running, hiking, and exploring the South African coast in her free time.

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