Roy Duncan

10th August 2012

Recruiting finance and accounting staff

Recruiting finance and accounting staff

Regardless of the job title that you are recruiting for, an essential consideration when recruiting finance and accounting staff will be the actual role and how the person fits into the team or structure within the business and finance department.

Is it a hands-on processing role, or is at role that supervises and provides information such as accounts or KPI’s? Perhaps it is a strategic role where the competency of that person may be the difference between success or financial ruin for your business.

Because each segment requires a different ‘animal’ and approach, you need to make sure that you are clear into which segment the role fits.  Getting this right may well avoid expensive recruitment mistakes.

With this in mind, here is an overview of the six segments that we recruit for along with some additional information and observations from the inside which I hope you will find useful.


1)       Strategic: CFO, FD, Financial Controller and Commercial Director etc.

  • As the key player in the business finances, it is essential to get this appointment right first time. Making the wrong choice is likely to have an immediate and detrimental effect on the business so the process should never be rushed.
  • Time spent understanding the drivers of the business, key areas of control and culture will provide us with a clear brief which is essential to attracting and introducing high calibre candidates.
  • A recognised accounting qualification and a strong track record of running business finances at strategic level are essential.  Candidates are subjected to an intense interview by a qualified accountant, which is likely to last over 1 hour.


2)       Managerial: Finance/Accounts Manager, Bookkeeper, Office Manager and Payroll Manager, Financial/Management Accountant etc.

  • These roles usually report in to a more senior internal finance person or in some cases the external accountant. As a result, they may have to work on their own indicating the need for self-starter who knows what they are doing.
  • However as there will be support and supervision this also affords an opportunity to be flexible on qualifications and experience and perhaps achieve better value.
  • We ask applicants to complete an accounting test so we can ascertain there level of skill.  Relevant accounting qualifications will be an advantage, although not necessary in every case.


3)       Operational: Administrator, Accounts Assistant, Accounts payable receivable and Credit Controller.

  • Operational roles are all about process, so the key requirement will be the ability to do the job supported by a track record of experience and success in the field.
  • We assess candidates at this level using a combination of tests and questioning.   Deciding on which combination of qualification, education and experience can be challenging; however, we will have fully considered the suitability of each


4)       Interim Professionals: Seasoned experienced professionals to ‘parachute’ in at short notice

  • Senior strategic and managerial professionals, who can hit the ground running. There are times during change and uncertainty, when businesses need additional assistance quickly and for a finite period.
  • We have a database of senior interim managers who can parachute into business regardless of location – whether in the UK, Europe or the wider world.
  • Expertise includes systems implementation, turnaround, restructuring, and merger and acquisition.  They may also cover interim FD, FC or CEO roles until a permanent replacement is found.

5)       Practice: Junior, Senior, Portfolio/Client Manager, Client Bookkeeper, Outsourcing Manager

  • Accountancy firms come in all shapes and size as do the people who work for them.
  • Whether you are audit focused, bookkeeping and accounts or payroll, we will work behind the scenes to find you high-calibre staff that you can send to your client with confidence.

6)       Part-time/Freelance: Solutions for start-up, SME and growing organisations.

  • A part-time solution, whether on the payroll or freelance can provide flexibility allowing your business to tap into substantial accounting skills and experience at a fraction of the full-time cost.  However do watch out for IR 35 issues!
  • A growing company may need a part-time Financial Controller, whilst a start-up or young SME business may require a part-time Bookkeeper or Finance Manager one day per week or perhaps four days per week – you decide.
  • We will recommend a solution that works for you and your business.

If you are recruiting finance and accounting staff and are in need assistance, talk to us!

Contact details

Roy Duncan FCCA

RG Duncan Senior Finance Recruitment Specialists, 33 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4JS

T:         020 7930 4401





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