Tips for Bringing Non-accounting Talent Into Your Practice

Tips for Bringing Non-accounting Talent Into Your Practice

Learn how to hire specialized talent possessing non-traditional skillsets and how to do it successfully.

Most accounting firms today do not look the way they did 20 years ago. They are more digital and better equipped to effectively meet the demands of their clients.  

Research has found that 89 percent of accounting executives believe data-driven accounting is the future. Accounting informed by data makes for agile operations and keener insights, both in-house insights and those to share with clients. Having data to back up your work and decisions helps to lend authority to your accounting work, making your accounting firm more appealing to clients. 

However, according to the same study, only 23 percent of accounting organizations feel they have the resources and talent to meet the industry’s growing data needs. Accounting firms today have to think about aspects like information technology, data and data analysis as well as eco-social concerns. Not everyone trained as an accountant can handle all of these elements. 

Many firms are finding that hiring specialists who don’t possess an accounting or auditing background can be the key to overcoming these challenges.

Let’s break down the change in accounting firms and the kind of talent they are looking for these days.

How data has changed accounting

Accounting firms are becoming more data-driven lately because there are more ways of collecting data quickly as technology advances. Insights gleaned from data help accounting firms boost their profits, reduce business costs and serve their clients more accurately, with more authority. And, of course, happier clients will boost your word-of-mouth marketing and bring in more clients. 

Therefore, it’s no wonder accounting firms opt to use cloud platforms and software such as Caseware to organize their workflows and get access to rich data analytics. These solutions help firms see trends in their business operations or clients’ finances, allowing them to make better-informed decisions. 

The problem is that not every accountant knows how to analyze data, conduct data-driven audits or make practical decisions based on the data provided. For that, firms using data in accounting must seek new talent specializing in accounting data skills. But these are not the only new careers opening up within accounting firms.

Non-accounting talent in accounting firms

Some jobs that have materialized due to changes in the accounting landscape include:

Data analysts and data scientists

The accounting firms’ enhanced reliance on data means they need teams capable of reading, analyzing and making practical use of the data they collect. While some accountants may be proficient in data analysis, more firms are hiring dedicated data analysts to do the job.

Consulting and client advisory specialists

Just because accounting is becoming more digital does not mean that accounting firms should lose the human element of their work. In fact, as clients increasingly seek guidance from their accountants in an increasingly complex financial world, client advisory services (CAS) are quickly becoming a way for firms to differentiate themselves from the pack.

Accounting client advisory professionals are skilled in nurturing relationships with clients, building trust and ensuring clients are satisfied with their accounting services. They may work with accountants to help them better understand specific client needs or better explain their services to clients.

While accountants focus primarily on organizing their clients’ finances, in-house specialists or consultants who focus on accounting client advisory services help bridge the gap of understanding between accountants and clients.

ESG experts

Environmental and social concerns affect every aspect of life these days, including the accounting industry. Accounting firms will increasingly be called upon to steer their clients through complex and novel regulations around Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) regulations. Investopedia defines ESG as “a set of standards for a company’s behavior used by socially conscious investors to screen potential investments.”

If your accounting firm requires investors, you may need to consider ESG standards for your firm. More likely, however, you may have to offer your clients advice on how they can meet ESG standards to impress socially conscious investors. For this, it can help to have someone trained and experienced with ESG considerations to advise your clients. 

Tips for bringing in non-accounting talent to your accounting firm

Bringing in non-accounting talent can help your accounting firm keep up with the modern demands of accounting while making your firm more attractive to potential clients. Here are some tips to make the hiring process smoother and more efficient:

Search for professionals with experience in the accounting industry

You may not be hiring accounting talent, but you will still want someone who has worked in accounting. That way, you won’t have to spend as much time training them on the specifics of your firm and the nuances of the industry.

Hiring a professional with accounting knowledge will also offer reassurance to your clients. They can feel confident that the new professional understands their job and can play a positive role in handling their finances. Whether you hire a consultant, a data analyst, an ESG expert or another non-accounting role, someone who knows the ins and outs of accounting firms — particularly within their specialty — is a definite advantage. 

Consider outsourcing

Outsourcing is often more affordable than hiring an in-house team, especially for roles that are out of your primary area of operation (such as technology training expertise). As you may not need all of your non-accounting professionals in the office full-time, you can cut costs by engaging them as needed or per project. 

But always double-check how much non-accounting support you need. If you require someone around the clock to help with excessive work or frequently emerging issues, having an in-house professional can be more beneficial in the long run. 

Give data analysis talent the latest tools

Even the best data analysis talent needs today’s latest tools to let them work their magic. Caseware Sherlock performs automatic data analysis that provides key insights in a visually pleasing format. The cloud app collects a large volume of engagement data and automates data reports and insights.

Sherlock creates data reports and helps everyone involved with the findings to see them in visually appealing ways. This data can then be presented to investors, executives and clients in a manner that is clear and concise and which leaves audiences impressed. 

Use cloud-based accounting software

Using accounting software that everyone can access remotely is a great option when hiring consultants or outsourcing additional staff. With platforms like Caseware Cloud, you don’t need to make extra office space for your new talent or worry that they won’t be on the same page with the rest of your team.

Caseware Cloud is an secure cloud platform that allows your entire team — including new, non-accounting talent — to work from any device and collaborate in real time. They can work from the office or home and still connect with colleagues and the workflow in real time.