soft skills

Hiring for Soft Skills

You already know that finance and accounting positions require finesse with technology, analytics, and reporting. But, don’t discount the necessity for solid soft skills, as well. The ability to effectively communicate the story behind the numbers in an easy-to-digest manner to clients or colleagues in other departments is a critical skill.  Accordingly, both verbal and visual communication skills are important elements of success.  With this in mind, as a hiring manager, you should look for candidates who possess soft skills, not just candidates who have technical skills.  But, how can you identify these abilities during an interview?

Screening for soft skills helps to determine if the candidate fits into your company’s culture.

Soft Skills to watch for are:

  • Adaptability
  • Communication
  • Conflict and problem resolution
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Dependability
  • Empathy
  • Teamwork

Interview with Eyes Wide Open

During an interview, it’s easy to be captivated by an applicant’s technology track record. This is especially so when interviewing a professional with established performance and connections. Look beyond the prepared interview presentation to how the applicant responds to your predefined list of interview questions designed to assess important soft skills.  Ask the types of questions that elicit responses that will give you insight into the candidate’s soft skills aside from the ones that are being displayed during the interview.

Soft Skills Question #1: Tell Me About a Time…

There are several ways to finish this inquiry, depending on what you hope to learn. It could be to determine if the candidate can shift quickly into a collaborative leadership mode when needed. Or it may be how they handled a difficult interpersonal situation with a customer or colleague. What you are looking for is confidence in the response without arrogance. You want to hear a clear description of the challenge with respectful action steps and a satisfactory outcome.

Soft Skills Question #2:  What Do You See as Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

  • Perhaps they collaborate well with staff in other departments but have trouble asking for help. When someone is forthright about their weaknesses, they likely approach others realistically.
  • Or perhaps you want a description of the most important lesson learned about working well with others. Response to this line of inquiry should reveal critical thinking combined with being interpersonally astute and capable of empathy.


Are you an employer looking to hire top finance and accounting talent?  We can help!  Beacon Resources is ready to introduce you to finance and accounting professionals with top-notch skills. Click here, to get started.




office benefits

Trendsetting Office Benefits

Gone are the days when bosses made the final decision about office benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS), today’s finance and accounting sector is a competitive one.  That being said, the ball is in the job applicant’s court when it comes to what office benefits applicants will accept.  Apparently, some office benefits are non-negotiable as more professionals seek work/life balance.  With that in mind, turning your office into a benefits trendsetter is needed to capture the attention of today’s in-demand job applicants.

Move Beyond the Cafeteria Approach to Office Benefits

The benefits cafeteria plan has become passé. Yes, it’s much like being in line at the cafeteria. There are limited choices portioned by the server, yet you’re hungry. You select the best option even if it’s not fully satisfying. Think instead of a smorgasbord, a wide array of options from which employees select the type and amount that reflect their lifestyle.

  • Paid leave time that matches an employee’s needs, from new parent leave to time caring for an ill or aging family member.
  • Bereavement time that respects a person’s needs.
  • Wellness options that align with a staff person’s interests and choices.

Turn Your Perks into Policies

Perks come and go, based in part on popularity, with the other being funds. Focus on the perks that do both, adding value to your bottom line while gaining employee favor. Use a trial period to determine if a perk does both. If it does, convert it to a policy.

Relax Some Personnel Mandates

The keyword here is “relax” as employees’ innovation and performance improve when workplace stress lessens.

Get Feedback

Gather employee input on a regular basis. Do so in team and individual meetings. Request feedback about work processes, relations with leadership, and ideas for improved production.

  • Conduct periodic surveys to assure your workplace benefits and policies are keeping pace with employee preferences.
  • Make note of anecdotal opinions that come your way—they’re sure to mirror what staff are talking about.

Click here, for 5 Office Productivity Boosting Perks


Financial Controller

Is It Time To Hire a Financial Controller?

At the early stages of a business the controller and CFO roles can be somewhat interchangeable.  However, as a business expands, these roles need to be differentiated. If your business is growing, to the point that you know within months you’ll need to bring a financial controller on-board you should review controller functions and value to assure this is the best decision for your organization.

Gather Financial Controller Information

You count yourself fortunate as your once small company has grown.  However, now you find that your finance, accounting, and business decisions require an advanced skill set. With that in mind, your primary task should be to gather information about today’s controllers. Their assets, abilities, and prospective return on investment. A controller will:

  • Provide crucial financial decision-making, such as those associated with large purchases and credit worthiness policies.
  • Support work across departments by providing financial information that is readily understood and applies to various work functions.
  • Assure that accounting systems, reporting processes, and security protections are up to date while overseeing ongoing accounting operations.
  • The role requires several years of finance and accounting experience with a bachelor’s degree in that sector. Some businesses prefer to hire a controller with an MBA and/or one of several other certifications.

Assess Company Growth

It’s time to bring on a controller when:

  • Capital expenditures become your business norm.
  • Accounting functions and staff are growing to fulfill taxes, reporting requirements, and internal processes like inventory control.
  • Your business development planning lags because of time spent on accounting functions.
  • Business functions are more complex and compartmentalized. This requires a sophisticated level of accounting and leadership to assure integration and upgrading of IT systems.

Prepare for Business Controller Recruitment

Working with an accounting and finance recruiting firm can help expedite your hiring process.  Beacon Resources, for example, has highly skilled, pre-evaluated financial controllers with a wide variety of financial and accounting expertise to fit your needs.  Beacon Resources can help you avoid the potential cost of a bad hire, which can negatively impact your bottom line: the cost of a bad hire.  When a new hire doesn’t work out, it can undermine productivity and drag down employee morale. It can also lead to project delays that may have hinged on the new hire being part of the team. Click here, to get started with one of our financial and accounting executive recruiters.





The Interview Process Protocol: Tips for Employers

The interview process is arguably most stressful for the job candidate, but employers also have a lot to deal with. They need to be certain they are bringing the best applicant onboard. A mistake in hiring could lead to decreased productivity in the months to come. Below are some tips for employers to have more fruitful searches.

Define the Position

You may have written the job listing, but you need to ask yourself if you truly understand what is needed to be successful in this position. Figure out what skills and experiences would be most valuable. Candidates, who have good skills, may interview, but their skills may not be quite what you need. Defining the position also allows you to ask more relevant questions to zero in on the right candidate.

Write Down Questions

You do not want the interview to end only to realize you forgot to ask something important. Second interviews and follow ups can always be conducted, but you can save yourself a lot of hassle by asking everything pertinent the first time. Make sure the questions you ask contain a mix of inquiries. There should be standard questions such as, “What is your greatest strength?” You should also ask questions about specific details found on the applicant’s resume.

Write Down Impressions Immediately

Once a candidate has left, you should quickly jot down your immediate thoughts. If you have to interview dozens of jobseekers, then they can all blur together if you are trying to remember candidates a day later. In the event there are several interviewers, you should ask them their thoughts as well, so your team can come to a general consensus.

Employers requiring some assistance in locating excellent employees should turn to Beacon Resources. We have a great history of partnering employers with outstanding professionals in the fields of finance and accounting. You may call us toll-free at 1-844-500-8100 to learn more.