In Pursuit of Profit
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That figure is staggering but let's focus on your individual calculation. There are many different ways to calculate Cost of Vacancy (COV), but it’s not just the dollars and cents of salaries and benefits that need to be considered (although that is certainly at the forefront of hiring managers’ minds). You can also put real numbers behind morale, burnout, turnover, overtime, and the overall attitude of an accounting or finance department.
The author, Peter Cappelli, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Warton School of Business, highlighted the ways in which he believes that pursuing financial goals causes businesses distort their hiring and training objectives and deprive employees of the benefits they deserve. His summary for the article was as follows:
Many HR practices in the United States are bad for companies, employees, and shareholders. Firms skimp on training and development, for instance, and tightly limit head count even when they’re understaffed. They increasingly move work to nonemployees, like leased workers, and replace pensions with more-expensive 401(k) plans. They do such counterproductive things because U.S. financial reporting standards treat employees and investments in them as expenses or liabilities, which make companies look less valuable to investors.
The solution he proposes is to change SEC reporting requirements, which would only help publicly traded companies, though he seems to indicate that these struggles are being felt by a broad array of business types and sizes.
Unfortunately, it seems this article misses one very important point – the ways in which accounting and HR can work together to benefit the overall business. As a result, we’d like to cover that aspect of the discussion to help remind companies that their accountants are not the villains in the discussion of hiring and employee retention.
“Start with the core of the onion.” This is a mantra I use when talking to hiring managers about who they want for their job opening. This means starting with their most ideal candidate and working through different profiles. Most hiring managers are looking for either the next “up and comer” or someone who is established and has a solid 20 years left in the tank. As we work through candidate profiles, inevitably the recommendation is to always hire the person who can add the most value in the position.
In the world of non-executive accounting and finance recruiting, the ‘core of the onion’ answer is never “I’d love someone who is late in their career.” There is often a stigma attached to late-career candidates that is uneducated at best, and at worst tantamount to ageism. But late-career candidates should be considered equally with all other candidates. Understanding why first starts with thinking about a professional’s career trajectory.
This is a common story we hear: “We’ve been searching for an accountant for months and just can’t find anyone!”
Clients that come to us with this story are usually weary and desperate for help in finding the right candidate for the specifics of their role. Often times work has been piling up and employee morale is down as other staff tries to cover the gaps. It is at this point that hiring managers begin to wonder if they should settle for less than what they were looking for, using the old “someone is better than no one” rationale. However, under-hiring for a role is often more costly than continued hiring delays.
Pre-pandemic many companies successfully used job boards like Indeed to hire high quality accounting and finance candidates. Due to their heavy advertising during this time, what I like to call the “Indeed Effect” emerged. Companies turned to job recruiting boards like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn in droves to meet their recruiting needs.
Like you, I was seeing the impact of this first-hand: many companies in need of external recruiting help were quickly, easily, and cheaply able to find highly qualified candidates by posting an ad on an online job board. And as time went on, the results got even better as job board technology continued to evolve. The big names in recruiting became extremely transformative to the hiring process during this time, continuously refining their technology to improve the search process. As a result, even recruiters like myself benefitted from the phenomenon, often receiving high quality applicants to our job posts as well. Using these tools became an integral part of our recruiting process.
Fast-forward almost two years and the tide has almost completely changed.
After another difficult year, savvy employers have come to realize that supporting their office staff needs to be a top priority to combat labor shortage woes as financial uncertainty continues. With 85% of employees open to new job opportunities (even if they are not actively looking), employers understand how important it is to proactively work to retain employees.
As the year comes to an end, organizations are asking themselves, “How can I support my accounting and finance staff next year?”
In 2011, LinkedIn hit the 100 million user mark and I received an email thanking me for being in the first .5% of members. That means I was somewhere in the 400,000 range of early users. I joined LinkedIn in 2002, back when you needed a member to “let you in.”
Why did I start using LinkedIn? I had been in recruiting for about three years and knew the power of networking when seeking a job. Furthermore, I recognized the power of a tool where someone could see the work history of people in their professional network.
Fast forward to 2021 and now LinkedIn has more than 750 million members and is where every recruiter goes to find candidates for a position. I am no longer unique as a recruiter using LinkedIn like I was in 2002, but there are not many recruiters who have been using LinkedIn for 19 years.
I see resources all the time on how to create and manage your LinkedIn profile, and I want to chime in on a few ideas that I have observed in nearly 20 years of looking at LinkedIn user profiles. (My focus will be on the CFO position as that is where I have spent my time the last 13 years with CFO Selections, as well as among individuals seeking jobs in the United States.)
Does your company have the monotonous “Monday morning meeting?” that employees dread all weekend because it never results in anything productive?
Even if it doesn’t, chances are there are still some meetings that leave employees asking themselves, “Why did I even bother preparing for that?” or “Why did I have to be there?” or “Couldn’t that have been an email?”
This is a problem because disorganized, distracted, and downright pointless meetings are more than just an annoyance. According to the Harvard Business Review, wasteful meetings result in:
We talk to people every day that are looking for accountants for their companies. And being in the business of staffing organizations through both full-time hires and outsourced accounting services, we have noticed a trend in people’s thinking…
Business owners and hiring managers typically categorize their hiring intentions into one of two buckets: a part-time bookkeeper/bookkeeping service or a full-time accountant hire. But many business leaders overlook the value that a part-time accountant (or “fractional accountant” as they are referred to in the industry) can provide to their organization.
Whether the organization is for-profit or not-for-profit, a fractional accountant can be brought in for a variety of reasons to provide the same level of expertise of a full-time, dedicated accountant. While a fractional accountant from an accounting service provider may work on a less than full-time basis, their experience-level is as high (if not higher) than your average accountant.
The reason a fractional accountant may bring a greater breadth of experience the role is because they work with a variety of companies across a different industries and lifecycles simultaneously, which requires that they be well versed in a wide variety of accounting topics and stay abreast of all the latest news. As a result, fractional accountants may offer more accounting acumen at a much lower cost than their full-time counterpart.
An article from our Accounting and Finance Recruiting Team
With our professional and personal lives becoming more blended than ever and younger members of the workforce feeling less of a need to compartmentalize the two, social media has become a territory ripe with both risk and opportunity.
These days everyone knows that what is posted on social media is fair game, and voicing unpopular opinions, sharing inappropriate content, or being hateful online can cost a job seeker the job. And while people posting or sharing those types of things may not be concerned with how they will be perceived, most job seekers do care what a prospective employer may think of them.
This is especially true in more buttoned-up industries like accounting, finance, banking, financial planning, and business consulting. Career-focused professionals looking for their next role will ask questions like:
Our accounting and finance recruiting team answers these questions regarding how your web presence affects hiring decisions: