A business is only as good as its employees, especially within the accounting department. The process of selecting accountants should not be rushed. The job market may be saturated with accounting applicants, but it is business owners’ best interest to build their dream team of bean counters.

One of the great misconceptions of accounting is that anyone could do the job; theoretically there are aspects that are simple but there are other areas that require superior analytical and technical skills. A business owner should note when building their accounting team that they should select individuals who are knowledgeable in the industry of their business. Ideally the candidates, potential employees, also have a passion in the industry of their business as well.

The follow is 6 effective ways to build an accounting team for a small business:

1. Know what is needed:

Most business owners ideally should know what is needed from their accounting department. If the business financials are static from year to year it will be easier to assess what is needed from previous fiscal years. There is never a shortage of free advice from tax accounting consultants, who wish to gain your corporate tax return business, to help assess what is needed for the business. If a business owner were not knowledgeable in full cycle accounting, then it would be strongly encouraged to speak with other business owners about the accounting solutions they implement.

2. Express the company’s overall expectations:

When interviewing bookkeepers and accountants, a business owner should communicate their expectations to the applicants they wish to employ. Remember the interviewing process goes both ways, if either party is not committed 100% this could prevent inefficiencies and even chaos later on by parting ways today. Most companies establish their own unique corporate culture that correlates directly to productivity. The best applicants not only have the knowledge and experience for the position, but they also match well with the company’s work environment.

3. Don’t let price dictate your final decision:

It is important for business owners to save money wherever possible; however, it is not optimal to employ accountants who are willing to work for the lowest wage. Accountants to some may be a dime a dozen, but they are definitely not. Be careful with the pay rate you are offering as the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Accountants possess transferrable skills that can be utilized in numerous industries; therefore, it is important to pay industry averages to ensure they are not shopping the job markets while on your payroll.

4. Embrace the expertise from your accounting staff:

Accountants are usually the company’s superstars who are hardly seen and periodically heard from. Many accountants have numerous years of expertise from previous places of employment that could be beneficial for your company. There is a possibility that they know how to improve various areas of operations by implementing management information systems from past employers (i.e. inventory count sheet templates, POS systems, employee expense templates, etc.).

5. Encourage a team workplace environment:

Although accountants are not involved in the active day-to-day business activities it is important to have them incorporated into the team environment. Accounting for the most part may be repetitive and potentially lackluster some days (depending on the accountant’s role and responsibilities); therefore, including the accounting team in company discussions and events may increase their dedication to the company.

6. Express your long-term goals for your accounting team:

For some companies their accounting team experiences higher than average turnover. Why? Because there isn’t any room for growth or there aren’t any discussions outlining the prospects for the future. If you are a small business owner and you anticipate growth, it is in your best interest to present the opportunities of growing with the company in the long term. Accountants have to compete in a very competitive job market and if they are aware of their growth potential they will remain loyal to your company.


Take you time to select the perfect accounting team. The most successful business owners surround themselves with smart and resourceful individuals. If your accounting department is not operating to your expectations, do not immediately jump to conclusions. Rather speak with your accounting team to pin point the inefficiencies, as there may be variables they cannot control to get their job done. If your accounting team is running efficiently then they should be encouraged to display their skills to help improve productivity in the office.