Accounting Professionals


How to Staff Your Accounting Firm

7 Min Read

How to Staff Your Accounting Firm



How to Staff Your Accounting Firm

Table of contents

  • Understanding the importance of staffing in an accounting firm
  • Identifying the staffing needs of your accounting firm
  • Creating a hiring strategy for your accounting firm
  • Attracting and selecting qualified accountants
  • Retaining and developing your accounting staff
  • Dealing with the shortage of accountants 
  • Conclusion

When running a successful accounting firm, having the right staff is crucial. The staff you hire can make or break your firm's reputation, client satisfaction, and overall success. It is important to understand the value of staffing your firm properly and identify your firm's specific needs to attract, select, and retain top talent in the industry.

If you’re struggling with identifying the right talent that fits your firm, this article can help you. 

Understanding the Importance of Staffing in an Accounting Firm

Why Having the Right Staff is Crucial for an Accounting Firm

The staff you hire in your accounting firm plays a vital role in the success of your business. They help drive in value and meet clients’ expectations head-on. Skilled and knowledgeable staff can provide valuable insights and advice to clients, ensuring their financial needs are met accurately and professionally.

On the other hand, hiring underqualified or inexperienced accountants can lead to errors, unhappy clients, and potential legal issues. Accountants who lack the necessary qualifications and skills may not be able to provide accurate financial information or offer strategic advice to clients, ultimately affecting the firm's reputation and client retention. If someone is a poor culture fit, they won’t have as much success at your firm, and that will negatively impact your workflows and potentially cause them to leave your firm for a different opportunity. It’s not worth the cost to risk employee turnover because of rushed hiring decisions. According to AICPA, conservative estimates place the cost of replacing employees at $35,000.

Identifying the Staffing Needs of Your Accounting Firm

Evaluating the Current Workload and Projected Growth

Before you start the hiring process, assess your firm's current workload and determine if additional staff is needed. After all, just because the busy season compresses your firm’s ability to juggle tasks doesn’t mean that you’ll have enough work available to divide amongst your staff once the busy season is over. 

Evaluate the number of clients you currently have, the work volume required, and if your current team can handle the workload efficiently. Consider projected growth and any upcoming projects or seasonal fluctuations that may impact your firm's workload.

Determining the Roles and Responsibilities Required

Once you have evaluated your firm's workload, you can identify the roles and responsibilities needed to meet client demands. Determine the specific positions required such as tax accountants, auditors, consultants, or managers. Consider the qualifications and skills necessary for each role and the experience level required to ensure efficient and effective service delivery.

Creating a Hiring Strategy for Your Accounting Firm

Defining the Qualifications and Skills Needed

It is important to define the qualifications and skills needed for each position to attract and select the best candidates for your accounting firm. Consider the educational requirements, and any specialized knowledge or industry experience necessary. Clearly outlining these requirements will help streamline the hiring process and ensure you target candidates who meet your firm's needs.

Deciding on the Recruitment Channels to Utilize

When recruiting accountants, there are several channels you can use. Consider posting job openings on popular job boards and specialized accounting career websites. Leverage your firm's network by contacting professional associations and networks such as the AICPA. Additionally, partnering with outsourcing solutions specializing in accounting can provide access to a pool of skilled accounting professionals.

Developing an Effective Job Description and Posting

An effective job description is essential for attracting qualified candidates. Clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications required, and any specific skills or experience desired. Highlight any unique benefits or opportunities for growth within your firm to make the position more appealing to potential candidates. Make sure that the pay scale is transparent. Ensure that the job posting is concise, yet detailed enough to give candidates a clear understanding of the position and your firm's expectations.

Identifying your firm’s culture

Understanding and defining a firm's culture is essential for its success. This intricate process goes beyond buzzwords and surface impressions, as culture encompasses the expected behaviors, conventions, and beliefs shaping a firm's operations. Neglecting this understanding can lead to culture shock during organizational changes and new hires, resulting in increased turnover. 

Managers must decipher their firm's culture to steer its evolution and prevent employee turnover. This entails reconnecting with the founder's original vision as firms grow and diverge from their roots. Building a robust workforce that aligns seamlessly with the culture is central to a firm's success. 

Attracting and Selecting Qualified Accountants

Utilizing Professional Networks and Associations

One of the most effective ways to attract qualified accountants is by leveraging professional networks and associations. Networking events, career fairs, and conferences offer opportunities to connect with skilled accounting professionals actively seeking new job opportunities. Establishing relationships with professionals in the accounting industry can lead to referrals and recommendations, increasing your chances of finding top talent for your firm.

Partnering with Staffing Firms Specializing in Accounting

Staffing firms specializing in accounting can be valuable partners in your recruitment efforts. These firms have extensive networks and databases of qualified accountants seeking new opportunities. By partnering with them, you can access a larger pool of potential candidates and benefit from their expertise in screening and selecting the best fit for your firm. They can save you time and effort in hiring, ensuring you find the right accountant for your firm.

Conducting Thorough Interviews and Assessments

Once you have attracted a pool of qualified candidates, conducting thorough interviews and assessments is important to evaluate their skills, knowledge, and fit for your firm. Prepare a set of interview questions assessing technical accounting skills and soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. Use case studies or practical exercises to evaluate the candidate's ability to handle real-life accounting scenarios. Take the time to check references and conduct background checks to ensure the candidate's qualifications and credibility. If you have a firm that emphasizes individual work, but you hire an accountant who flourishes with collaboration, the new hire is not set up in a position to succeed, and in a few months’ time you may wind up needing to replace them resulting in lost resources on training another new hire. 

Retaining and Developing Your Accounting Staff

Offering Competitive Compensation and Benefits

To attract and retain top accounting talent, offering competitive compensation and benefits packages is important. Research industry standards and salary ranges to ensure you offer a competitive salary that reflects the candidate's qualifications and experience. Additionally, offer benefits such as healthcare coverage, retirement plans, professional development opportunities, and work-life balance initiatives. A comprehensive compensation and benefits package can help attract and retain skilled professionals in a competitive job market.

Providing Ongoing Training and Professional Development

The accounting profession is constantly evolving with new regulations, technologies, and industry standards emerging. To ensure your accounting staff remains skilled and up to date, provide ongoing training and professional development opportunities. Offer internal training programs, access to industry certifications and CPE, and encourage participation in accounting conferences and workshops. Investing in the professional growth of your staff not only improves their skills and knowledge but also contributes to the overall success of your firm.

Creating a Positive Work Environment

A positive work environment is essential for retaining and motivating accounting staff. Foster a culture of open communication, collaboration, and respect. Provide opportunities for career advancement and recognition of achievements. Encourage work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements, remote work options, and supportive policies. Creating a positive work environment promotes employee satisfaction and loyalty, reducing turnover and increasing productivity.

Dealing with the Shortage of Accountants

Collaborating with the AICPA and Local Accounting Organizations

The accounting profession is currently facing a shortage of qualified accountants, making it challenging for firms to attract top talent. To address this issue, collaborate with professional organizations such as the AICPA and local accounting associations. Share your firm's expertise and contribute to initiatives that promote the accounting profession. By actively participating in these organizations, you can attract individuals to the accounting profession and network with potential candidates.

Developing a Succession Plan for Your Firm

Succession planning is crucial in ensuring your firm's long-term success and continuity. Identify key positions within your firm and establish a plan for transitioning these roles when needed. Develop a talent pipeline by identifying high-potential employees and providing them with opportunities for growth and development. By grooming future leaders within your firm, you can mitigate the impact of the accountant shortage and ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.

Exploring Alternative Solutions

If the shortage of accountants continues to pose challenges for your firm, consider exploring alternative solutions. This may include outsourcing services like tax work to specialized companies or leveraging technology like artificial intelligence and automation to streamline processes and reduce the need for additional staff. Explore options such as utilizing accounting software, automation tools, and cloud-based solutions to optimize your firm's efficiency and productivity with fewer resources.

Conclusion: Finding the Right Staffing Solution for Your Accounting Firm

Finding and hiring the right staff is critical to building and growing your accounting firm. You can remain competitive by taking the right steps to ensure that your firm is equipped with the ideal talent for its needs. Despite the current challenges in the industry, with proper planning and proactive measures, you can find and retain top accounting talent to drive the growth and profitability of your firm.

How can Taxfyle help? 

Tax preparation outsourcing can be useful as you work on making your accounting firm a great place to work, reducing burnout, and attracting top talent.

Taxfyle is a powerful platform that acts as an extension of your firm. It can help you pick up the slack during your busy season, helping you make deadlines and keeping employees engaged. Firms nationwide turn to Taxfyle to alleviate bottlenecks and simplify workflows during the busy season. If you want to join them and take the stress out of the most stressful time of the year, choose Taxfyle.

Legal Disclaimer

Tickmark, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, tax or accounting advice or recommendations. All information prepared on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied on for legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own legal, tax or accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The content on this website is provided “as is;” no representations are made that the content is error-free.

We recommend a Pro file your taxes. Click here to file today.Leave your books to professionals. Click to connect with a Pro.
Was this post helpful?
Yes, thanks!
Not really
Thank you for your feedback
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Did you know business owners can spend over 100 hours filing taxes?
Is this article answering your questions?
Do you do your own bookkeeping?
Are you filing your own taxes?
How is your work-life balance?
Is your firm falling behind during the busy season?


July 8, 2019


Luis Rivero, CPA

Luis Rivero, CPA


by this author

Share this article