Here’s Why You Should Be Aware Of The Technical Spectrum Required To Meet Your Financial Needs

By PRETTY BOOKS ON September 5, 2022
HERE'S WHY is a collection of simple explanations for the things in your business that just don't make sense. There are a lot of moving parts in your business, and not all of them are obvious. Here's Why gets right to the point in identifying what's happening, why, and what you can do to improve your operations. Here's the deal, you need clarity in your finances to make data driven decisions for your company.

Your business is ramping up for growth, and you’re doubling down on all things financial. You’re looking to hire someone to help you with bookkeeping, auditing numbers, setting up systems, and cash flow management. After combing through resumes, you found someone with 15 years of bookkeeping experience who is excited to join your company. It’s been several months since you hired them, and they’ve been very busy with bookkeeping. You’re anxious to start talking about money and forecasting, and you’re wondering when they’re ready to start. Here’s the deal, financial management requires a broad spectrum of technical skills, and it’s unlikely that one accountant can meet them all.

Why? You haven’t defined your expectations

You thought it would be a great idea to hire one accountant who would be responsible for all things finance related in your business. You’re hoping that whoever comes in will be able to take care of all of your financial needs, from bookkeeping to cash flow to paying bills and more. But you didn’t really account for how broad the field of accounting really is. Someone can have 20 years of accounting experience, but it doesn’t mean that that experience touches the things you need in your business.

Accountancy covers a broad spectrum of subject areas. One accountant might focus solely on reconciling tens of thousands of lines of transactions while another might create projections to plan strategically for your business. If the expectations for this role aren’t clear, the person you hire probably won’t be clear on what success means within the role.

The chances of finding one accountant who specializes in a broad spectrum of disciplines is unrealistic. You have to narrow down your needs and be specific. What are your top priorities? What does your business need right now? Is it just bookkeeping? Data analytics? Forecasting? Write a list of priorities to cover when you’re interviewing your next accountant. That way you have no doubts that the person you choose is confident and comfortable supporting you in that capacity.

Keep in mind, you are not expected to work with only one person. It’s common for growing businesses to have a team of accountants (either internal or outsourced) to cover all areas of financial management.

Why? Experience does not always mean experience in your specific needs

More experience does not always equal better, especially in a field as vast as accounting. People may gain experience vertically or horizontally. For example, some accountants may be an expert in some subjects, while others have a broader general understanding of money.

You need to decide what kind of experience is best for this role. Are you looking for someone with depth of experience in a particular area or someone who has a broader range of experience in many different things? What attributes does a person need to be successful in this position? Once you’ve hammered out the details, start interviewing people who fit that criteria.

Why? You need to find people who are aligned with the job.

Hiring is expensive. It takes time to find someone, to bring them up to speed, to get to know them, and to get them to be productive. It’s wise to take the time to find someone who fits within your culture.

When you hire people, you need to make sure they also align with the work expectations. Evaluate their skillset, personality, values, and try to align them with your needs as best you can.

Be honest about what it is you need from the people you hire. Are you a small business that wants its people to grow and learn with you? Are you a quick-paced startup that expects someone who can wear many hats and learn on the fly? Be clear on what work will look like for someone in this role. Do the day-to-day tasks rarely change? Is it common to have high priorities or last minute needs? Both are very different situations with very different energy, mindset, and maturity requirements. You need to make sure that the person you are hiring is in alignment with your business.

Things to consider

Note that financial management covers a vast spectrum of skill sets and experience levels. It is likely that you won’t find a single person who can meet 100% of your business needs. It’s common for growing businesses to have a team of accountants to manage their finances. Here are a few things you should consider before you look at resumes:

  1. Be clear about your company’s needs. Assess and evaluate the technical skills required to fulfill these needs. What are your priorities? How do you define success for this role? What skills are necessary for someone to reach success?
  2. Scan your company’s technology, data, and operational processes. How complex is your technology? What data and information flows across different departments? What specific tools are necessary to know for this position?
  3. Really define what you’re trying to solve, and measure the value of your candidates against that. From there, you can decide whether a person can measure up to this role, or make compromises based on what they’re comfortable with.

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The information provided in this post is for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Consult your financial, business, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Pretty Books assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon this information.
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