Ideal Minimum Requirements for Your Accounting Department

Ideal Minimum Requirements for Your Accounting Department

By Wiss (424 words)
Posted in Advisory Services on May 01, 2018

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By Angelique Zitz, CPA

One of the most common causes of chronic problems in accounting departments is having the wrong people on board - or the right people in the wrong positions. In other words, things can go terribly wrong when the education, work experiences and career trajectories of your personnel do not match up with your expectations.

With that in mind, here are some of the ideal minimum requirements you should look for under most circumstances during your recruiting process. With the right people taking on the right responsibilities, you’ll gain greater assurance of an accounting department that runs smoothly and as problem-free as possible.

Staff Accountant

  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance
  • Two-plus years’ experience in accounting or a related field
  • Proficiency in Word and Excel
  • Ability to handle multiple assignments and deadlines
  • Strong organizational and analytical skills
  • Ability to read and understand technical forms and financial reports

Senior Accountant

  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance
  • Three-plus years’ of general or tax accounting experience
  • Mastery of Excel
  • Proficiency (preferred) or at least familiarity with such industry software as QuickBooks (or relevant accounting software), Bill.com, and Fishbowl (include company-specific programs relevant to your organization)

Manager

  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance, Master’s a plus
  • Accounting designation (CPA, CMA), or an equivalent combination of related experience and education
  • Five-plus years’ in accounting leadership roles
  • Strong budgeting, financial forecasting and analytical skills, and confidence with revenue generation and cost reduction strategies
  • High proficiency in QuickBooks (company to tailor software/ programs used)
  • Ability to think of ways to generate revenue and reduce costs
  • Skill in establishing and implementing proper controls and procedures
  • Strong social and interpersonal skills

CFO/Controller

  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, Business or a related field, Master’s a plus
  • Accounting designation (CPA, CMA), or an equivalent combination of related experience and education
  • At least 10-15 years’ of experience in senior accounting or financial management roles
  • Perhaps five years or more of tax or tax planning responsibilities Relevant work experience that matches your more specific needs, whether it’s in small business, manufacturing, distribution, etc.
  • Ability to assume a leadership position and work closely with senior management, board of directors, partners and other key decision-makers
  • Strong strategic planning and execution skills
  • Ability to raise capital and work with investors (if appropriate)   

While this checklist can be used as a general guideline in the recruiting process, don’t let this necessarily be the final word. At times, job candidates come along with such sharp skills and honed instincts that it allows for shortcomings in other areas with little risk to the efficient operation of your accounting department.

Happy hiring!

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