Value Based Hiring in a CPA Firm

“Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization’s makeup and success — along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like… I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” — Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Former CEO of IBM


What is Value Based Hiring?

Values based hiring is a way to find candidates who not only have the aptitude to do the job needed, but already have the values that align with your CPA Firm. Research shows that this approach will create lower turnover, better engagement and a stronger culture. Values help people and organizations drive better results. Use your “A” players in the hiring process. They are already living your values with great results, so use this experience to find more like them. Companies that hire well and have employees that “fit” will see better revenue and results every time.

Know your Firm’s values.

If you have not already, spend some time identifying and defining your CPA firm’s values. These should be your guiding principles on how you run your business and your relationships with clients. You can use these values to educate your clients on what you are about and create a real competitive advantage. We post our values on our website.  Check out the values of Poe Group Advisors.

Promote your values in the recruitment process.

Make sure that your candidates know that these will be part of the criteria in the hiring process. Your job postings will attract better candidates if you are explicit with the values and behaviors that you are seeking. Your values should set you apart and should show candidates that you are a firm they want to join. Think of your recruitment as a marketing campaign and your values are your most important product or service.

Asking the right questions.

Have questions that pertain directly to each of your values. Use situational questions that will allow the candidate to show how they have demonstrated that value in the past. What a candidate has done in the past is a great indicator of future behavior. The most successful candidates can demonstrate past behaviors that align with your values. Asking every candidate, the same questions means that you can compare each candidate’s answers objectively. For example, “Tell me about a time when you felt like you needed to address a difficult situation with a client. How did you manage that?”

Continue through onboarding and training.

CPA firm values and culture should feel consistent throughout the candidate’s experience. Incorporating values into your everyday culture will create an environment for all employees to be happy and fulfilled. These fulfilled employees will work harder and smarter towards your firm’s goals. Take the time to explain where the values come from and why they are significant. When questions arise from a new hire, consider pointing them back to the core values and encouraging them to do their best at answering that question with those in mind. That’s one of the main reasons for posting values…to have your team look to them as an overarching guide.

Be accountable to your values.

Publicly post your values for clients and team members alike. By publicly declaring your values it makes it easier for clients to help the team stay true to them. Accountability means more than just doing your job, it means pursuing excellence for both the firm and your clients.


About Stephanie Smith: A 10-year veteran Accounting Practice Intermediary at Poe Group Advisors, Stephanie brings a strong financial background to her position. She has over 12 years of prior experience in the banking sector. When she is not at work you will probably find her watching her son’s soccer game, spending family time on the lake or working on a puzzle.


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