Originally published here.
Accountancy firms will be able to sharpen their recruitment processes with a world-first personality test developed by Accountests, a management consultant based in Napier, New Zealand.
The firm said its study of 300 accountants in New Zealand, the UK, the US and Australia forms the basis for its Personality Profile Questionnaire (APPQ), which helps identify whether a candidate is a good fit.
Accountest, which specialises in skills and personality testing for the accountancy profession globally, said APPQ goes beyond a candidate’s technical expertise to an understanding of their personality.
Want to see if Accountests will work for your company or firm? Click on the button for a FREE trial worth up to £100 - use it on a candidate or get one of your staff to give it a go and see what they think.
“Today’s accountant needs to offer vision and creative thinking and a much broader repertoire of skill rather than just maintaining accounts and finances,” said Accountests director Steve Evans.
He said the accountant personality profiler would be a boon for accounting and bookkeeping firms as they grappled with a shortage of talented candidates and the “great resignation”.
The most recent Microsoft 2021 Work Trend Index reported 41 per cent of the workers globally are considering leaving their current employers within a year, and 49 per cent plan a major career change.
Accounting firm turnover has been high for a number of years, with upwards of 20 per cent of talent lost every year for most firms.
The 20-minute APPQ questionnaire uses data captured from 300 accountants who participated in a pilot study.
It is designed to tackle accounting-specific challenges including maintaining ethics, building relationships, adding value and coping with the stresses and strains of changing accounting roles and client expectations.
A report with interview questions and a professional development plan is generated within five minutes of completion.
Have you ever made recruitment decisions you lived to regret? Are you given recruitment responsibilities on top of your day job and struggle to find time to do it all? Get our compact Accountant & Bookkeeper Recruitment Guide for free.
An easy reference document covering the whole process from scoping the Job Description for upcoming vacancies, right through to making better job offers than your competitors and sealing the deal, and every step in between. Written by Accounting firm Partners, HR/People Management professionals within the accounting and bookkeeping sector and drawing on established and emerging best practice in selection techniques in Australasia, the UK and US, you can have access to a wealth of practical recruitment and selection knowledge and links to external expertise and reusable templates whenever you need it.
Sue de Bievre, founder of a new-age accountancy firm Beany, said APPQ had helped select new staff and understand how a team worked together.
“Traditionally we would hire accountants based on their tested technical competence, without considering how they would fit into a team based on their personal profile,” she said.
“We’ve put our entire team through the APPQ process and it’s fascinating at the individual level – and super helpful at the management level to see how the team fits together overall.
“We can see where we’re strong and also what we need to look for in recruitment to fill in some gaps in overall team profile. It also works well for the team to see everyone’s natural style and strengths – we can then adapt to that.”
Mr Evans said accountancy roles had changed over the past decade following the introduction of cloud-based software.
“Today’s accountant needs to offer vision and creative thinking and a much broader repertoire of skills,” he said.
Accountest spent a year in research and development involving trusted psychometric testing partners to build the personality questionnaire.
APPQ builds on a landmark study by Associated Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in 2016 of the behaviours and skills accountants need to possess.
Accountests director Giles Pearson has first-hand experience of employing accountants who are great with numbers but struggle with the broader business role that has become part of the profession.
“As a partner in a large accounting firm I quickly realised the importance of knowing whether new staff were likely to be best focused towards business development or client delivery, and making sure teams had a mixture of complementary working styles,” he said.
“Getting this right is crucial, and this test provides all the information to those hiring accountants to make confident decisions.”
Accountest has developed country-specific APPQ tests for Australia, the UK, New Zealand and the US.
About the Authors
Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.
Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.
Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers.