october2021 - 18

Here's What You Need to Know
BEFORE 2020, REMOTE hiring was nearly foreign in finance and accounting fields. In-person interviews
and meetings - getting face time - was ingrained in the business culture. Then a global pandemic
hit. Firms that wanted to stay operational had to shift many aspects of their operations - including
recruitment - to adapt to the new normal. And some did so with remarkable speed and agility.
Research by global staffing firm Robert Half reveals more than half (53%) of organizations have hired
new staff remotely since the pandemic began.
With this trend set to continue,
hiring managers in finance and
accounting are finding advantages
and fine-tuning the process - and
establishing de facto best practices.
Switching to fully remote hiring may
seem daunting, but there are big
benefits to making the leap:
■ A bigger talent pool - The move to
virtual teams means businesses are no
longer restricted geographically. This
opens up a wider candidate pool with
access to specialized or hard-to-find
skills across the country or world.
■ Increased automation - HR tools are
helping streamline recruitment, from
evaluating resumes to onboarding.
Many firms now use AI-powered hiring
to shortlist candidates, along with
applicant tracking systems to instantly
access candidate info.
With these advantages to remote hiring
also come a few pain points. Here
are 11 tips on how to overcome them:
■ Adjust your advertising approach.
With job fairs and networking events
canceled for the foreseeable future,
the nature of advertising open jobs
has changed. Recruiters are focusing
efforts on social media platforms,
online job boards and job portals to
access finance and accounting talent.
■ Use specific job titles. You want the
role to sound interesting and dynamic,
but it's best to stick to traditional titles
that candidates will actually type
into search fields. Advertising for an
" Accountancy Wizard " or " Rockstar
Excel Champion " is meaningless
outside your office - and unlikely to
rank well in search results.
■ Include remote-related keywords. If
you want to interview candidates for
a remote-only position, make your
wording clear. Use commonly searched
terms, such as " work at home, "
" remote, " " virtual " and " flexible " to
ensure your listing appears in searches
by candidates looking for remote
roles. And be explicit about what
remote and flexible actually mean.
Are employees required to attend
occasional in-person meetings? Can
they implement windowed working
hours when logged in from home?
Will the position eventually change
to being in-office?
■ Be transparent. Being upfront about
what the job involves is even more vital
when the role is remote. As well as listing
desired CPA qualifications, the job
specification should describe a typical
workday and be forthcoming about any
remote-related challenges. Not only
does this set realistic expectations
about the role, but you're more likely to
attract the right candidates and avoid
a deluge of unsuitable applications.
■ Imagine your ideal candidate. This is
a good place to start when recruiting,
especially if you won't be meeting
candidates in person. If you believe a
certain personality type would work
best for a remote position, include that
in your listing. To narrow down your
shortlist, ask candidates to take an
online assessment or behavioral test
as part of your initial process.
18 OCTOBER 2021 ■ www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com
Senior Executive Director
Robert Half
■ Focus on soft skills. Hiring for a virtual
team means looking beyond vocational
expertise. Candidates must also have
the skills needed to excel at working
remotely. These might include great
communication, time-management,
self-discipline and accountability.
Plus, an analyst who can't present
data effectively on-screen or a public
accountant unable to strike a virtual
rapport with clients will struggle to
do their job effectively using remote
working tools.
■ Emphasize company culture. Evaluating
candidates for the ability to mesh
with and even energize your existing
team can be challenging face to face,
let alone when the interaction is virtual.
Start by identifying your company
values, and translate these ideas into
assessments or interview questions
that you can score candidates on.
For instance, if one of your values is
" always be learning, " ask candidates
to tell you what they've learned
professionally over the past year.
■ Offer fair compensation. The hiring
pool may have grown during the
pandemic, but salaries are expected
to remain stable, according to research
from the 2021 Robert Half Salary
Guide for Accounting and Finance
Professionals. For example, despite
challenging economic conditions,
CPAs are in high demand to help firms
stay afloat. Organizations that hope
to attract top talent should expect
to pay competitive wages for people
with business-critical skills such as
forecasting, analysis and auditing.
■ Consider a trial period. Even once
you've found the right candidate, it's
still hard to know how well that person
will perform. Rather than extending
a firm offer, many CFOs and hiring
managers have a policy of offering
contracts or trials of 30-90 days when
hiring remote workers. This should
be long enough to reveal any issues
without negatively affecting morale.
■ Virtual onboarding is vital. Ensure new
hires have access to the equipment
and resources they need before their
first day, including accounts, tools and
software. Send a welcome package,
arrange virtual " meet the team "
sessions with groups and individual
coworkers, and make sure recruits
know your virtual door is always open.
■ Stay flexible for the future. Even when
the pandemic subsides, it's likely that
remote hiring will continue to some
extent as companies realize the value
of the widened talent pool and other
factors. And flexibility is key, as well.
During times of uncertainty, firms
must be agile and ready to adapt to a
changing business landscape. Finance
leaders are turning to an adjustable
staffing mix of interim and full-time
professionals so they can push forward
with high-priority projects while
meeting routine needs.
Nobody knows how long the pandemic
will last or what will happen
next. But firms that have been able to
update their hiring processes, harness
the full potential of their remote workforce
and create meaningful, lasting
change can position themselves to
emerge from the crisis more resilient
and competitive than ever. ■


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of october2021

From the Editor: 2FA, MFA, GWTP
The State of Automation in Finance
Automation Solves Payroll Headaches
What is Human Capital Management?
The 2021 "40 Under 40" and "20 Under 40"
Marketing Your Firm: How to Create a Lead-Generating YouTube Channel
From the Trenches: Client Experience for Today: Leveraging Payroll
The Leadership Advisor: The Great Resignation: How to Keep Employees Happy and Prevent Burnout
The Labor Law Advisor: Wage and Hour Audits May Be Coming
The Millennial Advisor: Go For It!
The Staffing & HR Advisor: Hiring Remotely? Here's What You Need to Know
Will the 2022 Tax Filing Season Be Normal?
5 Covid Impacts on Internal Audit that Are Here to Stay
Bridging the Gap: Marketing for the Modern Accounting Firm
october2021 - 1
october2021 - 2
october2021 - 3
october2021 - From the Editor: 2FA, MFA, GWTP
october2021 - The State of Automation in Finance
october2021 - Automation Solves Payroll Headaches
october2021 - What is Human Capital Management?
october2021 - The 2021 "40 Under 40" and "20 Under 40"
october2021 - 9
october2021 - 10
october2021 - Marketing Your Firm: How to Create a Lead-Generating YouTube Channel
october2021 - From the Trenches: Client Experience for Today: Leveraging Payroll
october2021 - 13
october2021 - 14
october2021 - The Leadership Advisor: The Great Resignation: How to Keep Employees Happy and Prevent Burnout
october2021 - The Labor Law Advisor: Wage and Hour Audits May Be Coming
october2021 - The Millennial Advisor: Go For It!
october2021 - The Staffing & HR Advisor: Hiring Remotely? Here's What You Need to Know
october2021 - Will the 2022 Tax Filing Season Be Normal?
october2021 - 20
october2021 - 21
october2021 - 5 Covid Impacts on Internal Audit that Are Here to Stay
october2021 - Bridging the Gap: Marketing for the Modern Accounting Firm
october2021 - 24