Accountants Are Not Born They Are Made

Accountants Are Not Born They Are Made

Yes you need skills to do a job.

Almost every job shares generic skills such as communication, working to deadlines and relationship building.

Yes many jobs require specific skills and require further study to attain the necessary levels of skill demonstrable through qualification.

It’s no wonder then that skills rank highly within the recruitment process. Can you do the job?

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Yet, we don’t search and select on ability, whether you ‘can do’, we have been focusing especially over the last four years, on whether you have done.

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Potential and aptitude have taken a seat way at the back.

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Why is this?

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Well I have some thoughts. Not complete ones, but something to throw into the ring. Recruitment is functionalist and has been made even more so by a combination of factors:

1-      Recession. Numbers of applications sky rocket and recruiters look for ways to cull the group. They shortlist by rejection. They are looking for why not you, rather than why should you.

2-      PO sign off. Again in recession budgets are tighter, systems more stringent. By the time a role is recruited for it has passed through many hands, some of which add to the requirement. Businesses are cautious, less likely to take a risk on someone untested in one area. They want it all and more. Has to be all things to all people on the team.

3-      The rise of the separate internal recruitment function. Controversial. Yet in separately created functions either in-house or RPO more processes are often added. More skill check boxes are created. The majority of those boxes by individuals who are sitting further and further away from the decision maker. Intuitive responses can therefore be reduced from those made by people who do the job (or have done) they are recruiting for and maybe less risk taken? Also in some cases the internal function becomes the can that can get kicked. The line taking less responsibility for selection, becoming a disconcerting consumer.

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The skills gap is wide. Recruiters are getting narrower and narrower on what they can accept. Youth unemployment is increasing and the number of unqualified candidate applications sky high and climbing. Fingers are being pointed. Parents (another post) Government, Commerce.

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I don’t have the answers. Some far more qualified people than me have some great thoughts and debate: Neil on his Change Effect Blog with the post “We can’t work it out” Also Lee Cooper always has something to say on the skills gap topic, especially in his posts “The Lost Generation” and “There Is No Magic Bullet”

Yet I do know Accountants are not born but made. As we get narrower in our thinking, are we are looking for designer candidates with particular pedigrees and perhaps – god forbid – one day ‘genetics’?

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Are the days gone in which roles are created for, or adapted when a particular individual comes through the door? An individual with a name, yes a history but also a spark of potential to create, learn or change.

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Candidates are frustrated that no-one will give them a chance. “Let me prove I can do it”

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Have we lost faith in human ability? In our own training or ability to adapt, pick up and master?  Reminds me of the Talent debate Ro Gorell discusses in her book: Are They On The Right Bus? Whether you believe everyone is talented and needs the right facilitation or just the special few?

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Could it be about patience? In our haste do we count the time to learn too precious and spend it on searching rather than creating?

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For some of us, back in our own careers, somewhere along the line, someone would have taken a risk on us. When and at what point did they take it?

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Ask yourself in today’s market would you have even got a response?

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Ok, it doesn’t apply everywhere. I don’t want someone to operate on me who hasn’t had enough practical experience.

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Yet for many roles if we looked at the transferable skills and experience more closely and opened our minds more, believed in what we could do, rather than what we have done, perhaps more skills could be acquired?

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Naive?

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Lost In Translation Your Reasons For Leaving

Interpreting More Reasons For Leaving

What Are You Looking For From Your Next Role?

Sarah Cooper has over 14 years Recruitment experience gained in both an internal and agency environment. As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy Ltd, specialist Finance and HR Recruiters, she is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today. Follow her tweets @approachmarket

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