Writing job descriptions is not always as easy as it seems. You want to convey the responsibilities of the position as accurately as possible to attract the most qualified and talented candidates.
A well-written job description will detail the expectations for the role, daily responsibilities, deliverables, and more.
The right job description will attract the right candidates. Once you’ve hired someone, you can even use the job description to measure their performance and see what duties they’ve excelled at and where they’ve fallen short.
Hiring in accounting and finance can be competitive, and many job descriptions will sound the same to top talent searching for the right position. Writing a thorough, comprehensive job description can help you reach the best candidates and entice them to apply.
Learn how to write accounting job descriptions so that you can fill empty positions at your company with the best possible talent.
Cover the Essentials
There are a few areas that are covered in all job descriptions, including accounting job descriptions. Be sure to thoroughly address each of these essential factors that you are looking for.
1) Education and Certifications
What level of education is required for applicants?
Most accounting jobs will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, either in accounting, finance, or business administration. If you’re only considering candidates with an accounting degree, make that clear.
If you’re looking for a senior accountant, you may require an MBA. Some positions may also require professional certifications like a CPA or CMA (certified management accountant). Be clear and concise about what you are looking for in terms of education and further certifications.
How much experience do you expect candidates to have?
Lower-level positions may only require a year of relevant experience while managing positions often require 5 years.
Be clear about how much experience is required versus preferred. While you might want someone with five years in the business, you don’t want to scare off an otherwise qualified candidate with three years of experience that could do just as well.
3) Technical Skills
Accountants are generally proficient with excel, but are there other technical skills, software, or databases they need to know?
If there are any technical skills required, be sure to list them. Again, be transparent about what is required and what is preferred. If a certain software is easy enough to teach on the job, you don’t want to turn away an otherwise great potential hire.
4) Soft Skills
Soft skills are harder to judge but list any that are expected so that candidates know if this position is a good fit for them.
Including soft skills on a job, a listing makes it so that expectations are set before they even apply. This way, if any issues regarding teamwork, communication, or otherwise come up later, you can refer back to the job description.
Common soft skills to include in an accounting job description include analytical and critical thinking, written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to work with a team if their role is collaborative. List whatever soft skills you feel are vital to the position and your office culture.
Describe the Position
Once the basics are covered, get into the details of the position. You should list all responsibilities, including day-to-day and long term expectations in the role. If there are certain duties that won’t be in their normal routine but may be asked of them sometimes, include these as well.
Don’t try to use inflated language or company jargon that applicants won’t understand – simply state the responsibilities and expectations in plain language.
You should also describe the position as it relates to coworkers. Who will this person report to? What team will they work with? How much teamwork vs solo work can be expected? Will this position manage any other employees?
These are all important factors, especially because some candidates may prefer more solo work or more teamwork, or may not be experienced managing others.
Compensation is always an important consideration for candidates. Listing salary on a job description is optional – some companies give a specific range, while others simply mention competitive pay.
Research what an appropriate salary for the role and your location, and be sure that you can offer a fair, competitive salary if you say so in the description.
There are pros and cons to listing salary. A good salary range can attract candidates. If candidates perceive a salary to be below their standards, however, they may not give the position a chance.
On the other hand, if you choose to hire a more or less experienced candidate, you may want to offer a higher or lower salary than you originally anticipated.
If you expect your offer to fluctuate depending on the experience of the candidate, it may be wise to keep your expected salary private until the interview.
Consider who you’re looking for and weigh what is best for your situation when making this decision.
Another aspect of compensation is benefits. Healthcare is extremely important, so mention whether or not there are benefits packages for employees. Other things to consider are paid time off, sick days, holidays that the office recognizes, and so on.
b) Describe Your Company
Company culture is a huge factor for candidates today. Be sure to describe your company, its mission, and its office culture as best as you can. You’re trying to sell the candidate on joining your team, so focus on the positives.
If there is an opportunity for advancement, be sure to mention this. Many candidates are looking for a company where they can grow. If you offer continued learning opportunities or can teach new skills, include this detail.
Continued learning is a huge draw, and while accounting may not be a field with much innovative growth, there are always new skills to learn, whether soft or technical.
Fun things like office happy hours, summer Fridays, or other simple perks can’t hurt either. If you have free coffee, snacks, an office picnic, or any other non-business related perk, mention some in the company description. While a job description should be primarily about the position, you have to sell your company as well.
Office culture can also include your stress on a healthy work-life balance. Nowadays, more businesses are flexible with scheduling, allowing work from home days or different schedules to accommodate employee needs.
A less rigid schedule is a win for most employees, but those with children, pets, or loved ones that they care for will be especially drawn to such opportunities.
c) Sell Your Company
In an interview, an applicant is trying to sell themselves as a good potential employee. In the job description phase, however, you’re trying to sell your company and the position to attract top talent. Work to perfect your job descriptions so that they catch the attention of the best possible candidates.
While you want to make your company sound like an amazing place to work, you should also strive for complete accuracy and transparency.
You want to find someone who will actually fit in at your company, so broadcasting inaccurate or exaggerated information won’t work. The right fit will be interested in what your company is really all about, so emphasize the best parts of your company and the position while still being totally honest.
d) Talk to HR
If you have an HR department, discuss it with them before posting any job listings. The HR department may be the ones writing the job description, in which case you should be sure to talk to a manager to confirm that everything is accurate and get the green light to post the description to job sites.
If someone held the position before, talk to them about what they think should be included in the job description. Having already held that role, they should know better than anyone the daily responsibilities, challenges, and more that may be helpful when writing the description.
If you’re still struggling to write an accounting job description, search the web for templates or examples! Every company is different, so examples may not match your position exactly. It can still, however, provide helpful insight as to what to include and the language used.
Writing Accounting Job Descriptions
Be as concise and accurate as possible when writing your accounting job description.
Accountants work with numbers, so there’s no need for flowery language – get right to the point, and describe the position, responsibilities, expectations, benefits, and company culture as best as possible.
You should also avoid any jargon that is specific to your company that an applicant may not understand out of context.
The more transparent your job description is, the more likely you’ll find the right match for your company.
A great job description will attract the best, qualified candidates and prepare them for the interview and the job itself because they are clearly set expectations.
Write your accounting job descriptions with a focus on conveying the position to the best of your abilities and you’re sure to bring in winning talent!