So you're ready to hire an outsourced accountant and are wondering what approach to take.

Do you hire for skills, attitude - or both?

These are your options:

  • Hire for attitude and train your accountant up accordingly.
  • Hire for attitude and skills …
  • Hire for skills with less focus on their attitude.
  • Let’s go over them below.
This image shows two Filipino Accountants working in an office

Offshore Hiring - Go For Attitude

Let's say you're having trouble finding someone with the right skills and experience for the job.

What you could do is hire someone with a good attitude and train them.

Example

We had a client who, prior to working with us, was struggling to hire someone for a tax role, so they trained a bookkeeper who had a great attitude and a great approach to learning.

That worked well, but it took about a year to get her skills to about 90% of where they needed her to be.

That was good, but later on they realized that with the right recruiting process they could’ve just hired a tax specialist.

Basically, they just needed to get better at recruiting.

After that, they hired somebody who already had the attitude and the skills.

BUT, of course, that person had a higher salary expectation than someone who was untrained.

It seems kind of obvious, but sometimes we don't always think of those things.

Here's a tip - if you're having trouble finding someone with the exact qualifications you're looking for (say, a registered BAS agent, if you're in Australia), you could hire someone without it and put them through training and registration.

So for example, if you're in Australia, you can train someone to become a BAS agent.

This image shows an abstract, Ai generated image of a Filipino Accountant holding a clipboard

Offshore Hiring for Skills AND Attitude

The next option, of course, is to hire for skills and attitude.

Another client of ours who also has a tax practice in Australia struggled to find local candidates with experience.

This person had to have experience preparing annual financial reports, preparing tax returns for trusts and individuals, have experience with BAS, have a good attitude and be a good fit culture-wise.

They approached TeamUp, and we found someone who had the right experience and a great attitude.

She's doing great, they're happy, and the clients are being served very well.

Also, read here how to set up your Filipino Accountant for success.

Offshore Hiring For Skills Over Attitude

Now, what about the third example of hiring for skills with less focus on the candidate’s attitude or demeanor?

Now listen up!

Whatever you do … do not compromise on attitude!

Take this case for example.

I talked with an accountant friend recently who had hired an accounting manager in the Philippines.

This person had all the skills, but he wasn't a good fit culturally.

This image shows a abstract, Ai generated image of a Filipino Accountant holding his hand up

He ended up creating so much drama that it caused several of the team members to quit!

In the end, my friend had to let this candidate go - and is now faced with the challenge of rebuilding his entire team!

That's not where you want to be, so never compromise on the attitude of a person!

So back to the question - skills vs attitude?

If you have a candidate who you’re not confident has both, go for attitude and train for skills later.

Personally, I'm not willing to bend on attitude and I don't recommend that you do either!

This image shows an abstract, Ai generated female Filipino Accountant holding a piece of paper in her hands

At TeamUp we recruit top tier Filipino accounting staff for firms for a flat fee.

We find candidates that are highly skilled accountants AND have great attitudes.

Like my cute little niece says when we ask her if she wants cake or ice cream: “How about both?”

We're a recruiting agency, not a BPO, so there’s no ongoing fees.

If you need help with compliance and payroll, we can connect you with an Employer of Record who can help you out.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions. We're always happy to help.

Hit the button below to sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter where I share my top hiring and management tips for working with staff in The Philippines.  

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Or check out some more resources on hiring in the Philippines on our website:

What Bookkeeping Tasks Can A Filipino Accountant do

Outsourcing Accounting To The Philippines:10 Reasons

Why You Should Hire An Outsourced Accounting Manager First

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Written By
Isaac Smith
Isaac has been building businesses since 2014. He sold an eCommerce business in 2019, co-founded Summit eCommerce Advisors - a bookkeeping and advisory firm, TeamUp - a recruiting business, and hosts the Next Level eCommerce podcast. He lives in the Portland, Oregon area, where he loves snowboarding with his daughter and trying to convince his wife to do outdoorsy things.
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