6 Tips for when Hiring Accountants in a Candidate Short Market

For many years, the Accounting and Finance sector has relied on overseas migrants to provide additional headcount, dampen wage growth and plug the gap. With borders closed for the foreseeable future, we are likely to see a labour shortage of Accounting professionals for some time. 

Accounting and finance recruitment certainly can be challenging in this environment, however that does not mean it isn’t possible to secure a great hire. 

Candidates are currently in short supply. It is hard to find a candidate to meet 70% of your job brief, let alone meet 100% of the criteria. It is also a job rich marketplace. This means that when you do find your ideal candidate, they often have choices and are considering other options which leaves you competing to win that candidate to fill your vacancy.

In the end, creative and flexible approaches to staffing help to ensure success while staying within budget. Here are 6 helpful tips to aid successful hiring in a tight market:

Know your sell…

It never fails to surprise me how many hiring managers are unaware that in a candidate short market the hiring process is a “sell”. Why would an applicant choose to work with you over the multiple offers put to them? Think about the learning and development opportunities you can provide, the client base you have developed, the work you do, the social aspects of working in your team or the work/life balance your company embraces. Then sell it from the beginning of the process by writing an enticing Job Description, placing an engaging job advertisement, responding to applications with enthusiasm and ensuring you have energy and interest when interviewing. Each company has its own unique sell; however, an interactive, communicative process will help reinforce it.

If using a recruitment agency, choose the right recruitment partner to deliver these messages as a representative of your organisation, which will support you in securing the best talent in the market.  

Using different methods of sourcing and attracting candidates….

Overall reductions in job applicants mean that organisations must cast a wider net when conducting accounting and finance recruitment efforts. In a candidate short market, simply placing an advert on an online job board, LinkedIn or on your Facebook page is going to be less successful. Tapping into the passive candidate market will be crucial for recruiting success. You are going to need to go out and seek applicants, not sit back, and wait for them to come in because it is unlikely to happen. Think about head hunting, using your networks and offering referral fees. If you are considering engaging a Recruitment Agency, pick an industry specialist who are speaking day in day out to a passive network you need to engage with. 

Consider Sponsorship…. 

For decades, the Big 4 CA firms have utilised skilled visa programs to attract overseas talent to move to Australia at a lower grade than they have previously had overseas. Many were forced to take pay cuts last year and are not happy, however are tied to their employer who holds they right to work in Australia. The initial cost can be larger; however, the quality and quantity of potential employees is far greater. Think about the benefits of getting the right person versus the time to train and replace if you have hired the wrong person.  

Consider “Under Qualified” Candidates…. 

Hiring managers need to accept that they may not be able to procure their “ideal” accounting or finance professional in today’s tight accounting & finance market. Simply put, the candidate who ticks every box on the job ad may secure other multiple job offers and/or be out of budget.

While we cannot expect hiring managers to compromise on all candidate requirements, some expectations can be relaxed. For example, the applicant may need their CPA/CA but perhaps the “five years’ experience” requirement can be relaxed a little. Ultimately, less experienced candidates can be up skilled and may provide better value and you will likely get more longevity out of employees with greater head room to grow.

Be ready to move quickly….

If you find a great candidate, don’t wait, move quicky to secure your next hire. Of course, conduct a rigorous recruitment process however do not let the recruitment process get delayed or paused because you get busy or because you want to benchmark them against another, non-existent applicant. Great candidates will be snapped up and you’ll be back to square one. It is important to ensure that the process is run in an interactive, communicative manner where the applicant is aware of where they are in the process and what to expect. 

Be Patient

One of the key challenges of recruiting in a candidate short market can be the time to fill your vacancy. As the applications aren’t flooding in from your advertising, the time to recruit can take longer. It takes longer to identify the talent you want in the marketplace and to start engaging them in the opportunity. It’s easy to say be patient but when you have a gap in your business because someone has left it can put a lot of pressure on the business and your other team members. If it is going to take you a little longer to find the right talent it may be worth considering other short-term options to cover the gap such as bringing in a temp. While a temp might not be able to cover the role in its entirety, they might be able to take off some of the pressure to get you through.

Intuitive Recruitment ( is a Specialist Accounting & Finance Recruitment Consultancy. If you would like to discuss career objectives, job opportunities or are looking to hire in your team, please contact Iain McLeod at [email protected]