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Q&A: Fernando Brandt on hiring insights for accounting and finance professionals

Fernando Brandt, Senior HR Manager at Giftcraft Ltd., brings 11 years of recruitment experience. Currently, he is the Senior Human Resources Manager at Giftcraft, a wholesale company specializing in retail gifts and décor. We asked him to share insights from his experiences hiring for accounting and finance roles. Here’s what he said. 

1. Have you recently seen growing business activity within the accounting and finance department? How does this compare to last year?
Here at Giftcraft we have a total of five people in this division, including our VP of Finance. Everyone has been here for at least three years.

2. Is it difficult to hire skilled accounting and finance professionals?
We’ve used hiring agencies in the past. Throughout my career, it has been difficult to find people with specific skills sets. Since candidates are expected to have the relevant designations, those with specific industry and software experiences are the ones that attract our attention.

3. What are some ways you attract accounting and finance candidates?
One of the best ways to attract strong candidates is to partner with relevant organizations (e.g., CPA) and to be a thought leader in this industry. If you conduct an online job search, you’ll find lots of openings in the Greater Toronto Area. To stand out among competitors, you need to be proactive and engage with your passive talent. You can participate or organize clinics that add value to people. For instance, in the past I developed a LinkedIn tool to help candidates get noticed, many of whom who were not on LinkedIn.Companies can also attract candidates by highlighting their location and work-life balance both onsite and offsite. The company’s reputation and work environment are key determining factors when it comes to a candidate choosing to work for an employer.

4. Our report shows that employers are not aligned with employees when it comes to benefits. Is this the case with your organization. And if so, how would you address this?
Many people choose to leave their current role because they are not satisfied with their compensation and/or benefits package. Many packages are split between employers and employees paying part of premium. However, competitive packages comes down to companies who can pay the full premium, provide a wide scope of coverage, and offer extensive options. The ideal packages are those that are tailored to each individual needs. A family of five would want/need very different types of coverage than someone who is single.

5. What do you think are the most important skills accounting and finance professionals need to have in order to stay competitive?
For junior/entry level positions, it’s important to have strong excel skills, have experience with specific systems, and be able to work interpedently, follow instructions, and be detailed oriented.

For senior level positions, those with strong soft skills are highly sought-after. People in these positions need to have strong leadership skills to manage their team and to accomplish business objectives. These professionals need to be able to effectively communicate with key stakeholders. This entails having strong public speaking skills in order to deliver information in front of Executives or board members.It’s also important to note that a person’s success is also dependent on how well they fit within the organization. Some individuals thrive in work environments that requires them to follow a traditional system with set requirements. Other organizations allow more flexibility and require someone to help shake the system and bring forth new ideas.

6. What are some of the most in-demand accounting and finance roles within your department?
Financial & Data Analysts are the most in demand in the GTA. These professionals collect and analyse financial results and compare them with plans and forecasts to guide an organization decision making process. Those that act as business partners and directly provide recommendations are in high demand.

Want more hiring insights? Download our 2019 Accounting & Finance Salary Guide.

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