As an administrator in healthcare, what is your ideal outcome in staffing in your finance department? Is a primary objective to be able to hold the providers of your facility formally accountable for the cost and the quality of the products and services they deliver? Do you desire to be able to fully understand your costs and revenue streams? What matters most when seeking these outcomes in assembling your financial leadership team?
As a professional placing top healthcare finance talent across the country, there are four traits that continuously rise to the top of the ‘most desirable’ list that come from hiring managers and fellow collaborators.
- Technical Accounting
First and foremost, your controller needs a strong technical accounting background; after all, they will be managing the accounting function and an accounting team. A strong foundation in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) is a must. Most hiring managers are looking for accounting professionals who are still very much hands on with the day-to-day and they need to have a strong knowledge of excel and any related ERP systems. Companies often look to change or upgrade their financial system and the person they are looking for needs to be involved in the selection, testing and implementation process.
- Industry Knowledge and Experience
Someone from outside the industry is not going to have the technical expertise needed to understand healthcare practices. Healthcare and non-profits have distinct accounting rules, and industry-specific backgrounds are often highly preferred by hiring managers in those industries. Being an expert allows the professional to continually look for better ways to manage their teams’ responsibilities – streamlining, identifying and building in efficiencies, helping things to run smoother, faster and more cost effectively. They need to have a desire to continue learning.
The accounting function at any company is a team effort. Managing, mentoring and directing a team takes talent and experience. The group collaborates and works hard, especially during month-end and quarter-end, an accounting professional with strong leadership skills is essential to keeping the team engaged, on track and feeling valued. Ultimately, a successful professional is always looking to train his or her successor.
- Soft skills
Intangible traits are also crucial to consider when you are hiring an accounting professional. Does the accounting candidate present him/herself in a polished, poised and professional way? Accounting professionals need to be skilled in how they deal internally with the board and especially the CFO and externally with bankers, auditors and insurance companies. And, obviously, anytime you are dealing with financials, the employee needs to have high integrity and honesty. They should be professional with the ability to manage up and down and to work well with their peer group. During the interview, be sure to assess these vital skills.