The Importance of Cultural Fit in Accounting Staffing

published on 20 April 2023

You are excited about your new hire. He seems super skilled in paper and has a great recommendation. Exactly what you needed. But sooner rather than later, you realize he likes to work alone, is very reserved about what he calls “his clients” and the team doesn’t seem to integrate him. He es is not very interested to, either.

Accounting firms face unique challenges when it comes to hiring, as they not only need employees with the right technical skills but also those who fit with the company's culture and values. Without cultural fit, a new hire can disrupt the team dynamic, leading to lower productivity and higher turnover rates.

In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of cultural fit in accounting staffing and provide you with actionable tips and best practices for assessing cultural fit during the hiring process. We'll also discuss how remote work can impact cultural fit and why staffing from South American countries can be a beneficial solution.

What is Cultural Fit In The Remote Work Era?

Cultural fit refers to how well employees' values, beliefs, and behavior align with the ones of their organization which can impact the way teams interact with each other, their motivation, and their overall job satisfaction.

With the rise of remote work, the cultural fit has become even more important, as employees are not physically present in the same space as their colleagues and may feel disconnected from the company culture. However, remote work can also have positive impacts on cultural fit, as it allows companies to hire from a wider pool of talent and potentially find workers who share similar values but live in different regions or countries.

It's important to consider cultural fit in the hiring process because employees who align with the company culture are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and productive. In a remote work era, this means taking into account time zones and cultural similarities very early in the selection process. For example, an employee who lives in a different time zone may struggle to communicate effectively with their colleagues and may feel isolated from the company culture. Accounting firms can reduce this risk by aiming to hire from countries that are closer to home in terms of cultural similarities. If not possible, just remind them that it might need some extra scheduling of after-hours regular check-ins with remote employees to ensure that they feel included in company-wide events and initiatives.

Benefits and Examples of Cultural Fit

Prioritizing cultural fit in the hiring process can bring a wide range of benefits to a company, including:

  • Improved job performance and overall productivity
  • Higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates
  • Better teamwork and collaboration
  • Stronger workplace dynamics and a more positive work environment
  • Increased motivation and engagement
  • Enhanced customer service and loyalty
  • Reduced recruitment costs
  • Improved retention rates
  • Improved company reputation and brand image.

Many companies have successfully prioritized cultural fit in their hiring process. For example, Zappos, an online retailer, is known for its rigorous hiring process, which focuses on finding candidates who align with its policy of delivering "wow" customer service and embracing change. This emphasis on cultural fit has helped to create a strong company culture, where employees feel motivated and engaged in their work.

Another example is Airbnb, which places a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusivity, while also prioritizing cultural fit. They look for employees who believe in belonging and hospitality, while also valuing different perspectives and backgrounds. This approach has helped to create a diverse and inclusive workplace culture where employees feel supported and valued.

Tips to Master Cultural Fit

Assessing cultural fit during the hiring process can be challenging, especially when hiring remote or offshore employees. However, there are several tips and best practices that can help accounting firms master cultural fit when making hiring decisions.

Tips and best practices to master cultural fit
Tips and best practices to master cultural fit

Behavioral-based interviews

One effective strategy is to ask behavioral-based interview questions that focus on the candidate's values, work style, and approach to problem-solving. This can provide valuable insights into whether the candidate aligns with the company culture and has the necessary skills to succeed in the role. Here are some examples of questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a new team.
  • Have you ever had a conflict with a coworker or manager? How did you handle it?
  • Can you share a time when you had to prioritize multiple tasks or projects?
  • How did you handle negative feedback?
  • Describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision.
  • How would you communicate complex financial information to a non-financial stakeholder?
  • Have you worked under pressure to meet a deadline? How did you handle it?

Get the team on board

Involving multiple team members in the hiring process can also be beneficial, as it can provide a more well-rounded assessment of the candidate's fit with the team and company culture. This means talking to your team to understand what they need and expect from the new member, and ask suggestions on skills and values to look for that they find important to their work environment.

While difficult, in some occasions, you can even fully commit the team to the hiring process to review the candidate and choose for themselves. This is a very powerful approach but is also complex, as it can raise competition, feelings of threat, and delay the selection process. We only recommend this in well-cohesive independent teams that feel comfortable with this dynamic.

Aim for seamless cultural merge

When hiring remote or offshore employees, it's important to adapt the selection process to ensure cultural fit. This can include using video interviews to assess nonverbal communication and interpersonal skills, as well as assessing candidates' flexibility and adaptability in working across time zones and cultures.

Cultural fit is always a challenge, especially between employees from different countries, that’s why hiring employees from South America can be a great alternative for North American companies that need to make this adaptation easier.

Building a Strong and Cohesive Team

It can be difficult to define Cultural Fit, as it encompasses a variety of factors, such as shared values, work style, communication preferences, and personality traits. And with the rise of remote work, accounting firms must also consider how virtual workspaces impact cultural fit. Every company is different than the next one, and therefore each one has to define its own list of properties to a cultural fit.

This involves assessing potential hires not just for their technical skills, but also for their soft skills, personality traits, and values. Behavioral-based interview questions can be especially effective in assessing cultural fit. Additionally, involving multiple team members in the hiring process can help ensure that new hires align with the company's values and culture.

While prioritizing cultural fit may require extra effort and resources, it's a worthwhile investment in the long run. By building a team that is not only skilled but also aligned with the company's culture and values, accounting firms can achieve better teamwork, higher job satisfaction, and lower turnover rates. In today's highly competitive job market, cultural fit can be the difference between a good team and a great one.

  >>   Ready to start hiring? Fill out the form and one of Vintti's account executives will contact you within 24 hours.

Kevin Mitchell, CPA

Senior Manager and CPA with over 20 years of experience in accounting and financial services, specializing in risk management and regulatory compliance. Skilled in managing audits and leading teams to deliver exceptional services. Proud father of two.

🔗 Kevin Mitchell | LinkedIn

Read more