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  • Writer's pictureDan Malkoun

How to hire part qualified accountants in a post pandemic market

The job of hiring a PQ in 2023 post pandemic is more difficult than normal as many trainee accountants’ experience has become out of kilter with their studies. However if you choose skills carefully and with the correct nurturing programme, you can expect better payback more so now than ever.

Benefits of hiring trainee accountants

Part-qualified accountants are becoming an increasingly popular choice among employers. Here’s why:

1. Easier to integrate

PQs don’t tend to have the many years of industry experience as fully qualified accountants have and are still very much in the learning phase of their career. Because of this, it can be easier for them to integrate into different companies and learn new processes through their fresh eyes.

2. More cost-effective

Given that PQs are still completing their studies and tend to have less experience, they generally come with a lower salary bracket than chartered accountants with more comprehensive experience.

3. Happy to do the ‘less exciting’ jobs

As we know, PQs are still in the learning phase of their career. The benefit of this is that they’re often happy to carry out the more routine activities that usually get pushed to the bottom of the pile. PQs want to gain all the experience they can, and that includes mastering the basics.

How to recruit a part-qualified accountant

1. Clarify your person spec

The most important part of the hiring process is to get clear on your person spec. You’ll rarely find someone who ticks ALL the boxes, but you must clarify what your non-negotiables are. Which skills are an absolute must? Do they need to have experience using a particular software? Or can this be taught instead? Perhaps they need to have experience with auditing? Once you’ve decided, make sure you communicate this to your recruiter so they can screen candidates accordingly, and only send you the cream of the crop.

2. Move quickly

The demand for PQs is high, which means you can’t afford to waste time. Chances are most candidates will have 15 missed calls from 10 different recruiters every day. Employers who take 10 days to review an application will soon be beaten to the post by more streamlined companies who’ve already completed 2 stages of interviews AND put an offer out. If you’ve got a quality candidate in the interview process who you believe will be a good fit for the company, don’t wait before you make them an offer. Just as much as you want to see candidates are truly invested in working for your company, candidates also want to know you’re keen to hire them. The longer you delay the offer process, the more likely another employer will swoop in before you.

3. Don’t be afraid to say no

Don’t try to fit square pegs into round holes. If the candidate isn’t matching up to your needs, you need to recognise this quickly so both you and the candidate can move on. You should always have a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to hiring, but it all comes back to whether or not the candidate can fulfil those all important non-negotiables.

4. Set expectations

Make sure you set the expectations for the candidates in process. Let them know what the interview process looks like, when they can expect to hear back from you, and what you’re looking for from them. This communication prevents any unwelcome surprises for the candidates, and they won’t feel as though they’ve been left in the dark.

5. Cost

Naturally, you’ll need to allocate a budget to the role. Speak with your recruiter to understand how competitive your salary is in comparison to other companies on the market. Could you afford to increase the upper bracket? Or perhaps you’re well above market value. Maybe there are other benefits you could offer to compensate for a lower salary? Either way, it’s good to maintain some degree of flexibility and keep yourself competitive. You don’t want to invest time and resources into training your accountant only to lose them to a company offering a higher salary at the end of their training, do you?

For some specific advice about your requirement, contact Dan Malkoun MD @ amdas who has 30 years’ of experience of recruiting in FMCG finance. 020 3488 2022

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