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Top 10 Questions to Ask a Prospective Freelance Accountant

by Dan Wywrot, on Apr 29, 2019

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New year, new teams. As organizations evaluate their staffing needs for 2019, many—with an eye on the upcoming tax season—may be considering their finance team needs.

Changing tax policy, busy financial seasons, complex financial data—if any of these factors are causing variable finance project needs, a freelance accountant may be the best fit. But how do you know if a candidate is the right for your organization? We’ve summarized our top 10 freelance accountant interview questions to help you find the perfect match.

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Freelance Accountant Candidate

1. What are your specific accounting areas of expertise? Do you have any licenses or certifications?

As a first step, it’s important to speak to any prospective candidates about their experience and areas of strength. Understanding their background and any particular expertise they are bringing to the position will help you determine the best projects for them to support.

2. What experience do you have in this industry or sector?

When it comes to accounting needs, no two businesses are the same—and this is especially true when you begin to look across industries. Whether you’re hiring a freelance accountant for your IT company, law firm, or ad agency, it’s important to find a candidate who understands the industry and has the necessary background.

3. Which accounting technology tools are your preference? Which are you comfortable using?

Ensuring each proposed candidate has familiarity with your accounting systems is essential to finding the right fit for your organization. Onboarding a freelance accountant who already understands your technology tools and platforms will bring everyone up-to-speed as quickly as possible.

4. How would you describe work style as a freelancer?

Whether considering communication, work hours, or technology, it’s important to find a freelance candidate with a work style matching your organization.  This can include anything from working alone versus working collaboratively, preference for management styles or partnerships with leadership, or approach to receiving feedback.  Understanding how your freelance accountant will approach the work will start the relationship off on the right foot.

5. How do you find success partnering with teams remotely?

While remote work is becoming more and more common, it is not the right fit for every candidate and every organization. Making sure that any potential freelance accountant has the tools and strategies to successfully engage with the full-time team is an important part of the interview process.

6. What is your preferred communication approach?

Reviewing communication methods, strategies, and tools is a crucial discussion with any freelance accounting candidate. Not only do you need to understand how they prefer to communicate—phone calls, video chat, Slack—but it’s also key to understand if that style fits with how your full-time finance team communicates. An effective partnership will require strong communication on both sides.

7. What is your approach to deadlines?

In many cases, finance teams work under strict deadlines—with tax season coming immediately to mind. Speaking to your candidate about their approach to deadlines and the comfort working under pressure will help you understand if this person can support your team and projects during busy stretches.

8. What is your approach for problem solving?

Over the course of a project, issues or disagreements may arise. Whether it is between the freelancer and the finance team or finance leadership, ensuring there is a problem solving strategy will help resolve issues quickly and efficiently. Discussing with the freelancer his or her approach to disagreement will help promote a culture fit with your organization as well.   

9. How do you manage expectations with your clients? What is the process for providing progress updates?

Shifting deadlines, changes in approach, data updates—all of these factors can change the course of a finance project. Discussing with a freelance accountant candidate how they manage changes, expectations, and new information in their client communications is an important part of the interview process. Also having an understanding of how often you or your team will require progress updates and understanding your own expectations is a crucial part of the partnership.  

10. What can we tell you about our organization and our goals?

The best interviews are a conversation. Ensuring the freelance accounting candidate is engaged and interested in the role by leaving them time to ask questions will ensure you find someone who is a great fit. Be prepared to talk about your organization goals, both for the finance team and company-wide.

Creating a Freelance Accounting Strategy

If this seems like a lot to consider, you’re not wrong. Finding top freelance talent, vetting candidates, and working to ensure their alignment with your organization is no small task on top of managing the day-to-day operations of your business. Which is why great partners can make all the difference.

The Paro team specializes in matching clients with freelance accountants who have the specific experience and expertise needed for their project. This allows companies to focus on whether their candidate is an organizational fit rather than worrying about their qualifications. Connect with us today and start finding the right freelance accountant for your finance team!
Topics:Accounting