Hiring a CPA? Need to know how and where to find the best candidates? Here is a comprehensive guide to finding the best CPAs. Read on!
How to hire a CPA?
Who is a CPA? A Certified Public Accountant is a designation given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to individuals who are responsible for helping organizations, businesses, individuals in reaching their financial goals by providing financial advice.
If you are a recruiter looking to hire CPA services for yourself or your business, this article will provide all the details you would need for the recruitment process. Important topics such as market rates, skills, certifications and qualifications to look for, CPA hiring rates, interview questions, popular job boards, etc are covered below in detail.
Hiring Market for CPAs
According to the Bureau of Labour and Statistics, the projected growth rate of employment of accountants and auditors is 4% between 2019 to 2029. This rate is as fast as the average of other occupations. This employment growth rate is directly tied to the economic health of the nation.
As the economy grows, the need for hiring CPA professionals increases as more people are needed to prepare and examine the financial records. The lack of availability of skilled professionals in this field has made CPA a promising career option for qualified professionals. There were close to 1,436,100 accountant and auditor jobs in the year 2019.
The median salary of accountants is $71,550 as of the year 2019. The entry-level salaries are generally low which increases as the number of years of experience increases. CPAs can work in several industries, a few of which have been listed below,
- Private Industry and Businesses
- Public Practice
- Government organizations
- Education sector
- Non-Profit Organization
The growth in job opportunities for accountants and auditors is directly tied to globalization, technological advancement, IPO growth, and the economy. Making skills within this industry be highly valuable to secure a good job.
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Top 15 recent job titles for CPAs
Online Certified Public Accountant Professionals are in demand in several industries and being hired at different job positions. CPAs can be recruited for different tasks based on their experience and area of interest. We have listed down the top 15 job titles for CPA professionals below,
1. Senior Tax Accountant
A Senior Tax Accountant is responsible for maintaining tax records and prepare tax returns and reports. To be eligible for this job role, a relevant experience of 4 to 7 years is required. The average annual salary for a Senior Tax Accountant is $86,501 per year.
2. Director of General Accounting
The Director of General Accounting has an overall responsibility to assign accounting operations and systems. They report to top management. To be eligible for this job role, the managerial experience of 5+ years is required. The average annual salary for a Director of General Accounting is $158,410.
3. Auditor – CPA
Auditors plan and execute audit assignments in compliance with standards set by the state. It is an entry-level job where auditors report to Senior Auditors. To be eligible for this job role, an experience of 1+ years is required. The average annual salary for an Auditor is $60,459.
4. Audit Group Team Leader
Audit Group Team Leader holds the responsibility of leading a group of auditors who are experts in risk assessment, performance assessment, etc. To be eligible for this job role, an experience of 3-5 years is required. The average annual salary for this role is $110,810.
5. Accounting Director
Accounting Director is responsible for accounting operations and systems. They also direct the establishment and implementation of financial policies and procedures. To be eligible for this job role, a relevant experience of a minimum of 5 years is required. The average annual salary for an Accounting Director is $158,408.
6. Accounting Manager
An Accounting Manager is responsible for managing several accounting functions such as ledger maintenance, accounts payable and receivable, asset analysis and reporting, etc. To be eligible for this role, a minimum experience of 5 years is required. The average annual salary for an Accounting Manager is $107,628.
7. Chief Financial Officer
A Chief Financial Officer is a senior-level professional who develops an organization’s overall financial policies by providing strategic directions. To be eligible for this job role, a relevant experience of a minimum of 7 years is required. The average annual salary for a Chief Financial Officer is $394,235.
8. Staff Accountant
A Staff Accountant works in the accounting department of the company and responsible for maintaining a general ledger, preparing financial reports, budgeting, etc. To be eligible for this job role, a minimum experience of 1-2 years is required. The average annual salary for a Staff Accountant is $56,079.
The bookkeeper oversees a company’s financial data and compliance by maintaining accurate reports and documentation. They are responsible to record transactions on a daily basis. To be eligible for this job role, an experience of 1 – 3 years is required. The average annual salary for a Bookkeeper is $44,204.
10. Staff Auditor
A Staff Auditor supports the audit management team in preparing audit programs. They also analyze financial records for discrepancies and variances. To be eligible for this job role, a minimum experience of 1-2 years is required. The average annual salary for a Staff Auditor is $60,459 per year.
11. Accounting Operations Manager
An Accounting Operations Manager is required to make improvements to the existing accounting process in compliance with the organization’s accounting policies. To be eligible for this role, a minimum experience of 5 years is required. The average annual salary for an Accounting Operations Manager is $107,000.
12. Senior Finance Analyst
A Senior Finance Analyst performs several duties such as budgeting, forecasting, preparing reports, financial planning assistance, building financial models, etc. To be eligible for this job role, a minimum experience of 5 years is required. The average annual salary for a Senior Finance Partner is $122,284.
13. Accounting Operations Director
An Accounting Operations Director is responsible for assigning accounting operations and systems. They are also required to lead and direct accounting professionals. To be eligible for this job role, a managerial experience of a minimum of 5 years is required. The average annual salary for this role is $158,500.
14. Internal Auditor
An Internal Auditor works in the internal audit team of an organization and ensures that the organization’s risk management, governance, and internal control processes are working effectively. To be eligible for this job role, a minimum experience of 2-3 years is required. The average annual salary for an Internal Auditor is $72,507.
15. Senior Revenue Accountant
A Senior Revenue Accountant manages finances on behalf of an organization that includes preparing tax returns, processing financial transactions, etc. To be eligible for this job role, a minimum experience of 3 years is required. The average annual salary for a Senior Revenue Accountant is $88,259.
Qualifications to look for in CPA
While hiring a CPA professional, look for the following qualifications to find the perfect fit for your business, industry, or organization.
1. Bachelor’s Degree for CPA jobs
Earn a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and gain a minimum of 150 hours of semester education. The 150 hours include 120 hours required for completing the Bachelor’s degree and 30 additional hours that can be acquired by taking up a double-major, earning a master’s degree, enrolling in CPA exam prep courses, etc.
2. Master’s Degree for CPA jobs
A Master’s degree is not mandatory but is preferred by some employers. It also helps in earning 150 semester hours. Here are some of the best colleges to pursue a degree in Economics,
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Florida
- University of Georgia
- Michigan State University
3. CPA Certification
After completing the eligibility criteria, a candidate is ready to take the Uniform CPA Examination administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The course divided into four parts must be completed within 18 months with a minimum of 75 on each part.
4. CPA Licensure
The final step is to get a professional CPA License from the State’s Board of Advisory that allows the candidate to start practicing.
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Skills to look for in CPAs
Hire a CPA by analyzing the candidates based on the following technical and non-technical skills,
- Analytical skills – Accountants must be able to find out documentation errors and suggest solutions for the same.
- Communication skills – Good written and oral communication skills are highly desirable when you hire CPA professionals.
- Detail-oriented – A good eye for detail is required while preparing and examining financial documentation.
- Organizational skills – Organizational skills come in handy when accountants and auditors work for multiple clients and have to handle a range of financial documents.
- Business Acumen – Business Acumen is a must-have skill for CPAs to help in providing big-picture perspectives and assemble company-wide reports.
- Management and Leadership skills – CPAs should have management and leadership skills to work in higher positions and manage a team.
- Technical abilities – CPA Professionals require technical acumen to master their company’s software and systems.
- Presentation skills – Presentation skills are important for CPAs to provide information in a clear, concise, and compelling manner.
- Mathematical and deductive reasoning skills – CPAs work with numbers and business accounts hence good mathematical and deductive reasoning skills are a must.
- Problem-solving skills – CPA is expected to examine documentation and provide financial solutions as and when required.
Certifications to look for in CPAs
List of top certifications to watch out for while looking for a CPA professional,
- Certified Public Accountant Certification – It is the most important certification for accountants and also paves a path for a career in finance. Many employers have listed this as a mandatory requirement to work as an accountant.
- Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) Designation – It is a globally recognized accounting certification. This certification focuses mainly on topics such as reporting, taxation, auditing, ethics, leadership, and financial management. It has a total of 3 modules consisting of 13 exams in all.
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Certification – This certification is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants. It teaches about the underlying factors behind a company’s financials and what kind of strategic business decisions one can derive through them.
- Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) Designation – It is a globally recognized accounting certification established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. These two are one of the longest-standing accounting associations.
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation – This certification is focused on financial planning and helps candidates who are looking to start a career in wealth management or investment.
Rate per hour of CPA
As per Ziprecruiter records from the year 2021, the average hourly rate of CPA professionals is $34.84 in the United States. The hourly freelance CPA rates can go as high as $54.81. The salary of entry-level accountants can be as low as $17.79.
The rates vary based on a CPA professional’s years of experience, skillset, qualifications, job location, educational background, etc. In Europe, the rate per hour for hiring online CPA services varies in the range of £25 and £35 hourly.
Countries like Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway, Austria, and Sweden are amongst the top 10 countries with the highest accountant salaries across the world. Austria is a prime destination for accountants due to its close proximity to financial clients in Switzerland and Germany.
The cost of hiring CPAs in Asia is fairly low. Recruiters can outsource work in these countries to take advantage of the highly skilled labor at reasonably low prices. Countries such as Malaysia, India, the Philippines, China, etc are amongst the top ten countries to look for accountants.
The average consulting rates of accountants in most Asian countries are $12 per hour. A permanent employee earns an average salary of $24326 annually.
Top 10 job boards to find the best CPAs
To find top CPAs it is important to post job requirements at the right place. Online job portals help recruiters to hire a personal accountant as per their needs. Prepare an enticing and descriptive job description and post it on multiple job boards to reach maximum candidates.
Filter applicants based on your requirement such as public accountants near me, years of experience, the field of interest, etc. Freelance CPA professionals can also be hired on a project-to-project basis from these job boards.
Top 10 companies hiring CPA and salaries offered
If you are searching for “accounting firms near me hiring”, the following companies will pop up,
- Quad Five – Quad Five is a research company looking to hire accountant CPA at a salary of $75k -85k annually.
- Jobot – Jobot is a staffing and recruiting company looking for professional CPA for hire at a salary range of $80k -120k annually.
- JCW – JCW is a staffing and recruiting firm hiring Senior Tax Accountant at $60k annually.
- Marcum Search – It is a staffing and recruiting agency offering $66k -104k yearly for the senior auditor position.
- Rokt – Rokt is a marketing and advertising company hiring entry-level accountant at salary range of $70k -90k yearly.
- Kassouf – It is a financial planning firm hiring senior tax consultants at an hourly rate of $18.
- F45 Training – F45 Training is a global fitness training community looking for Global Senior Accountant at $60k -94k yearly.
- Yes Energy – It is an Electric Power Trading Solutions Company hiring CPA professionals at $175k -225k annually.
- Softcom Systems – Softcom Systems is hiring Senior Accountant at salary range of $80k -100k yearly.
- Casbon and Associates LLC – This accounting firm is hiring Tax Manager at $100k -200k yearly.
Top 10 interview questions for CPAs
How to hire a CPA? The best way is to ask relevant questions and judge a candidate based on their technical and soft skills. Here are the top ten questions that recruiters should ask the prospective candidates during an interview,
1. Which accounting platforms have you worked with previously?
Rationale: This question helps in highlighting the accounting software knowledge of a candidate.
Sample Answer: I have worked extensively on Sage X3 and Quicken but I also have a knowledge of QuickBooks.
2. How do you manage deadlines and prioritize tasks?
Rationale: Tests the candidate’s time management skills and organizational skills.
Sample Answer: I prioritize my task based on due dates and importance and keep communicating with time about the approaching deadlines.
3. How do you keep updated with the changes in the tax code?
Rationale: It helps in judging a candidate’s ability to stay updated regarding the tax laws and regulations.
Sample Answer: I make sure that I read the publications issued by IRS as well as individual states regarding any tax changes.
4. What do you do to ensure accuracy in your accounting entries?
Rationale: Judge a candidate based on their attention-to-detail skills.
Sample Answer: I make sure to check my entries multiple times before submitting them. I use software to ensure my documentation is error-free.
5. What is your method for checking datasheets for accuracy?
Rationale: Highlights a candidate’s analytical abilities.
Sample Answer: The candidate should mention what software they use to ensure accuracy in the documents while examination.
6. How would you explain a complex financial report to a client from non-financial background effectively?
Rationale: Helps in analyzing a candidate based on their communication skills.
Sample Answer: I would explain things in a simple manner through several analogies that make it easier for the other person to understand. I also break down complex information into smaller information pieces.
7. What is the most challenging accounting task you had to solve in your career span?
Rationale: Test problem-solving ability.
Sample Answer: Candidates can give examples from the previous workplaces where they managed to simplify an accounting task.
8. Have you ever developed or changed an accounting process? Discuss in detail.
Rationale: Helps in evaluating a candidate based on their innovative skills.
Sample Answer: A candidate can explain how they identified a problem in the process and what steps they took to solve the problem either by developing something new or making improvements to the existing process.
9. Describe how you helped a client reduce costs?
Rationale: Helps understand the business acumen of the candidate.
Sample Answer: Reducing costs is one of the tasks an accountant should be able to perform. See if the candidate has examples for their past experience where they were able to do so successfully.
10. What according to you are the biggest challenges faced by the accounting profession these days?
Rationale: To see if the candidate stays updated to the latest trends.
Sample Answer: There are no right answers here. Look for the candidate’s familiarity with the industry and its challenges.