In Pursuit of Profit
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I discovered many parts of the HR world matched my interests, so I wanted to be a finance leader who had some real HR knowledge. I pursued an SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) designation, which required studying materials and taking an exam. As time passed, I realized recruiting was the part of HR I really liked because I am a lifetime connector. Fast forward to today and I have spent most of the past 20 years as a recruiter.
One topic that is a continual area of consternation within the recruiting world is job titles. Job seekers and hiring companies alike struggle with accounting and finance job titles. I’ll tell you why and what you can do about it when looking for or posting an accounting job:
Employers need to realize that they may not find an accountant that checks every one of their “nice-to-have” boxes, but if they work with an experienced accounting recruiter, they will find someone that fits their “must-have” needs. And, the sooner they can figure this out, the better because having an open role costs an average of $98/day, and rehiring an accounting employee after letting go of a bad hire costs over $50,000 on average! Therefore, to minimize hiring costs employers need to rethink their expectations around work flexibility, compensation, accounting improvements, and training when looking to fill a role.
Using a company with a niche financial recruiting focus ensures that they will understand the specifics of what you are looking for and have a pipeline of qualified job seekers to tap into. Furthermore, accounting and finance recruiters are more likely to have access to the right kind of connections to approach candidates that are not necessarily actively looking for a new role but would be open to the possibility of making a change.
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.
Similarly, the recruiters at The ASP Team follow a process to help their clients find the right candidate who fits with their available accounting and finance position and culture – a work match!
At this stage, companies are feeling the limitations of their existing accounting personnel and are evaluating what their next move should be to keep the company moving forward. But knowing whether to hire a Controller or a CFO is a big decision, because, contrary to popular opinion, the roles are distinctly different.
As Kevin Briscoe, the CEO of CFO Selections, explains in nonprofit leadership podcast, “A Controller is ‘walls-in and rear-facing’ and a CFO is ‘walls-out and forward-facing’.” He goes on to explain that a controller analyzes what the company has done already while a CFO evaluates where the company is going next.
Why? Well, it is an irrefutable fact that there was a drop in the number of accounting degrees being obtained between 1998 and 2008, which caused a ripple that is still being felt across many organizations. On top of that, the Great Resignation made finding senior-level accounting and finance professionals more difficult because of the surge in career changes and retirements.
But what is more controversial is the possibility that employers themselves may be to blame for the tight hiring market in accounting and finance. Yes, we said it. Those of you in search of a unicorn candidate may be partially to blame for the sentiment that there is no one qualified enough for the role you are looking to fill. Let us explain…
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
There is no doubt that our work is more satisfying and fulfilling when we are experiencing joy in what we are doing. Here are a few reminders about finding the joy in your work:
We work with companies every day that are hiring mid-to-management level accounting and finance positions and one question we hear a lot is, “How much do controllers make?”
Companies asking us about controller salaries are usually trying to do accounting salary benchmarking to determine what to offer for the role. In some cases, the controller role is a new position for their organization. In other cases, they are looking to replace a long-term employee, which means they have not listed a controller opening in many years and they need timely advice on what to offer these days.
So, what is an accounting controller’s average salary? Get ready to dive into the numbers!
Do you see your accountant as a number cruncher or an advisor? In an article that we published almost two years ago, our team pointed out that,
Today’s business climate requires more skills from your accountant than ever before… Successful companies need someone that will not only manage cash flow and provide accurate forecasting and reporting, but also offer sound advice. Having an accountant that can do the job is essential but having an accountant that can act as an advisor can really give you a competitive advantage.
And if that was true back then, it is certainly still true today! The best accountants are disciplined, proactive, collaborative, and operate with high ethical standards; and aside from just executing on deliverables, they also add value to the company with the work that they do in the following ways: