Evaluating Accounting Staffing Agencies and Finding the Right Match

Accountemps evaluating accounting staffing agencies

Accounting staffing agencies may all seem the same. But that's far from reality. Dig deeper, and you'll quickly see that no two are alike. From their ability (or lack thereof) to recruit specialized professionals to their process for finding the right match for client companies, the differences between one agency and another can be extreme.

That can make it hard for you to find the right firm to work with. Don't worry. Here's how to choose the best staffing agency for your business and cultivate a productive relationship with that organization:

Review your options

Accounting staffing agencies play an important role for many businesses by helping them manage when the need for extra staff crops up. Often, there's little warning. Consider an extended illness or employee turnover. The responsibilities of your department can’t be put on pause just because you're down a staff accountant or two.

A temporary staffing firm can also be an ally during those seasonal crunch times when having a few extra specialists can help get the work done on time and keep your in-house accounting team from burning out. And don't forget about staffing up temporarily for heavy projects, like an annual audit or systems conversion.

The point is you need to be sure you can turn to a staffing firm to get the job done. Before beginning any relationship, ask these questions:

  • Does the agency specialize in accounting and finance?
  • How long has the firm been in business?
  • How broad and deep is the staffing agency's candidate base?
  • How does the firm match client needs with candidate skill sets?
  • Does the firm guarantee its temporary workers?

Find the right match

Not every agency uses the same model for recruiting. Some accounting staffing agencies take a lot of time to vet applicants before involving you in the review process. Others are less discriminating about which candidates they send to clients.

If the point of working with a staffing agency is to save you time and hassle, why work with a firm that floods your inbox with resumes that show little alignment with your actual job requirements? Ask about the agency's process for identifying job candidates and evaluating each professional's skills and experience. What recruiting sources do they use? What are the typical backgrounds of the candidates they represent?

You'll also want to ensure you're working with a staffing firm that understands your business. Request that the staffing specialist visit your office for a tour and to meet others on the team. The more familiar he or she is with your business' nuances and needs, the better able the agency's representative will be to find you the right worker.

Keep the lines of communication open

Just as accounting staffing agencies use different methods for making placements, each firm also has its own approach for staying in touch with clients and helping them prepare for an interim employee's arrival. Inform your staffing manager of any requirements unique to your organization, including policies regarding dress code, hours or breaks.

Once a placement is made, keep your staffing manager informed of how the temporary professional is performing. Sharing your assessment with your contact helps the firm do a better job of meeting your company's needs. The staffing agency you work with may even have an evaluation form to fill out after an assignment is complete; take the time to offer feedback.

If the temporary placement is not working out, raise the red flag right away. A reputable staffing firm will send a replacement and get specifics about why the person fell short so the new worker is a better match. This is where accounting staffing agencies can really prove themselves. If you get unnecessary pushback, you're not working with the right firm.

You may need to try out several accounting staffing agencies before you find the right one. The time and effort you invest in the process will be worth it. An agency you feel comfortable leaning on is worth its weight in gold, and the relationship you establish can benefit your business for years to come.