Looking for tips to help you write your staff accountant job description?

The reason why you’re reading this is likely because you’re looking to hire a staff accountant and therefore you need to put out a posting that attracts and convinces accountants to work at your firm.

The bolded words above are key however.

Attract and convince is the purpose of your job posting.

Almost every staff accountant job description I see fails to do so however.

And what’s amazing is that even though attracting high quality candidates is commonly listed as one of the top issues facing firms, most firms are not properly adjusting their job postings in recognition of this.

So this post is about going over and above the generic staff accountant job description to help you craft something that will actually attract high quality candidates and will show you a few examples of firms that I feel are doing a good job.

The Anatomy of a Staff Accountant Job Description

A job description is essentially describing the role that you are interested in filling.

Before we jump into my number 1 tip for your staff accountant job posting, let’s look at the anatomy of a typical job posting.

First, it usually starts with a brief 2-3 sentence introduction on the company.

Second, the job posting typically describes the position that the company is hiring for in a few sentences.

Third, a listing of job duties will follow in point form.

Fourth, a listing of the desired experience, skills and qualifications are shown, also typically in point form.

Sections 2 – 4 above are usually dependent on the precise job profile that you are looking to hire and you can search through LinkedIn or Indeed job postings for similar roles to get a sense of what you may want to include in your own posting.

But what most firms get dead wrong is the first part, the introduction. And when you are writing your staff accountant job description, this part is absolutely critical.

Your Job Posting is a Sales Document

I learned this years back from Jeff Phillips, CEO of Accountingfly, a company that helps match accountants to remote accounting jobs, during one of his presentations at Xerocon in San Francisco. After walking out of his session, I realized that I was incorrectly doing what most firm owners were doing; not treating their job postings as a sales document.

This is an employee’s market. For the most part, candidates are not clamouring to join your firm, if anything, it’s the other way around.

Attracting good quality candidates is hard. What’s more is that there is a scarce pool of good accounting candidates available.

So your job posting needs to do one thing very, very well. It needs to sell why a candidate should join your firm.

In that sense, you need to treat your job posting like you would with any other marketing initiative. You need to understand what makes your target market tick (in this case, your candidates), what bothers them and what excites them.

Once you understand that, then you’re ready to start writing your staff accountant job description and the corresponding job posting. One that connects directly with your ideal candidate and one that gets them excited about joining your firm.

The introduction part of your job posting is therefore absolutely critical to grab attention and connect with this candidate.

Generic Job Postings are a Buzzkill

The first place that most candidates will run into your firm may very well be through your job posting. And the first thing that candidates will see when they are flipping through 100’s of job postings is the first few sentences of your staff accountant job description.

This means that it’s important to have something that’s eye grabbing and something that connects with them.

If you don’t create enough excitement, you’re likely reducing the amount of candidates applying therefore reducing your chances of landing a higher quality candidate.

The best way to not get someone excited about applying to your firm is through a generic job posting.

Here’s the introduction of one staff accounting job description that I found on LinkedIn:

Blah.

Pretty sure you could transplant this introduction into any other company on the planet. It’s very generic.

I doubt this catches anyone’s eye and I doubt it gets anyone excited. It targets no one in particular, does not talk about what makes the firm different and immediately jumps into your tasks (ex: preparing financial statements, etc).

As a result, I would wager that I good number of high quality candidates are skipping over this in their job search.

That’s the wrong kind of job posting in today’s day and age.

And to be clear, I made this mistake myself when I used to post jobs. Until I saw Jeff Phillips presentation…

Candidates today don’t just want a job, they want to link to your company’s purpose, they want to buy into a bigger over-arching theme and want to play a role in the overall growth of a company they believe in (at least this was a takeaway from a recent Deloitte report surveying 10,000 millennials). You’re not going to make that connection with a generic posting like this.

Some Good Introduction Examples

I may be biased, but contrast the above introduction with part of a public posting from Xen Accounting, the firm I used to run. This is the first thing a candidate sees when they click on the job posting:

a good example of a staff accounting job description

In point (1) in the image above, very clearly, the purpose of the firm is written. Many (but not all), feel quite strongly that the accounting firm model and the way services are delivered is dated and old-school. This purpose is clearly communicated to these candidates with the hope that it will attract the intended candidate that would be a good cultural fit.

In point (2), you can see a list of selling points for why a candidate should join which harps on pain points of a typical accounting firm. One of them is about being overworked and having to deal with timesheets. So why not highlight how these kinds of pain-points do not exist at your firm in order to demonstrate how you differ from the pack?

To be very clear, this kind of posting will turn some people off. But that’s OK, because if done right, it will turn-off the people that you don’t want at your firm anyways. The goal is to only attract the high-quality candidates that fit your unique culture.

What the above demonstrates is a way to connect and attract the ideal candidates for your firm (and if you’re interested in attracting accounting talent, here’s a post I made unpacking a Top 25 US firms recruitment video to show you what they did right).

How about another example?

Here’s the introduction from Reconciled‘s post, a firm based out of Burlington, Vermont, which I really like.

a good example of a staff accounting job description 2

They highlight how they are progressive and back it up with facts (ie. being a 2018 Firm of the Future finalist), what they are passionate about and also talk about how their bookkeepers are more than just bookkeepers and serve a larger purpose.

If your passions match to theirs, it’s an automatic connection and will result in getting these candidates to apply. If these candidates aren’t passionate about the passions listed in this posting, well, they’ll move on to the next job posting, which is a good thing for Reconciled, since they probably don’t want these kinds of candidates away.

My #1 Tip for Your Staff Accounting Job Description

When you’re drafting your staff accountant job description, of course you’ll need to include explain the role at a high level in a few sentences and you’ll also have to include the expected duties as well as skills/experience required, but my #1 tip is to focus on the introduction of your posting.

Make it stand out, make it attractive, make it interesting.

In order to do that, you’ll have to take a step back to figure out:

  • Who you’re trying to target as a candidate
  • What makes you different/special compared to your competitors
  • What about your culture are current team members currently enjoying

If you can weave these elements into a concise introduction, you are going a long way to crafting an awesome staff accounting job description that attracts the kind of people that you want.