Amtec Hiring Guides

How to Hire Staff Accountants in Portland

Amtec Hiring Guides

How to Hire Staff Accountants in Portland

Current Environment

Accounting is a system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions. For as long as civilizations have been engaging in trade or organized systems of government, methods of record-keeping, accounting, and accounting tools have been in use.

Hiring qualified people to manage the finances of a company is an incredibly important decision for any organization because they are so involved in the everyday aspects of all things financial. Especially as taxes become more complex and challenging, accountants can and will continue to play an important role in the overall lifecycle of a business.


The history of the field of accounting and the recording and management of financial activities dates back to the dawn of civilization. While fiance has roots in scientific fields, such as statistics, economics, and mathematics, it also includes non-scientific elements that liken it to art.

As the complexity of financial instruments, transactions, stock markets, reporting requirements, and regulation has increased, the need for specialized roles in finance and accounting has grown.

Will COVID-19 Affect the Accounting Field?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected employment and the job market. Depending on who you talk with, accountants are concerned about their job security; however, the further into the pandemic we got, it became clear that accounting roles were going to continue to be in demand. In fact, a recent survey indicated that accounting roles would be amongst the top three priority positions that employers are looking for amid COVID-19.

2021 has seen a mix of responses as economies start to open up once again now that the distribution of the vaccine has increased. There is much to be hopeful about. The role of the staff accountant will continue to be important in helping economies – big and small – to recover and prepare for the future. In fact, with the right talent, preparation and insights, Staff Accountants can help their companies successfully navigate their through the current crisis—and emerge stronger

How will Recruiting staff accountants Help Your Company?

How will Hiring staff accountants Help Your Company?

Staff accountants can do more than just bookkeeping and accounts payable/receivable. staff accountants can actually help your company increase profits. Get your accountant involved in helping you grow your business profit early. While the company’s leadership likely knows quite a lot about the inner-workings of the business, staff accountants can contribute years of valuable experience in growing business profits for numerous other business owners they have helped already. 

Some of the ways that staff accountants can help to maximize company profits are as follows:

  • Analyze profits
  • Negotiate with suppliers
  • Reduce bad debts
  • Eliminate unprofitable products and services
  • Restructure financing
  • Maximize pricing
  • Review labor costs
  • Track advertising investments
  • Plan for profit
  • Identify valuable customers

Before we get to exactly how to hire the best accounting staff, let’s review some of the details…

staff accountant Details


Staff accountants perform a wide range of duties related to financial records and taxation. Some staff accountants work under a CPA, helping them with organizing financial documents, staying compliant with government regulations and preparing tax returns for clients. Others work for companies, usually under a senior accountant, doing things like payroll, receivables and financial statements.

Here are some additional job duties:

  • Examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations
  • Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
  • Inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures and identify potential risks for fraud
  • Organize, analyze, and maintain financial records
  • Assess financial operations, identify risks and challenges, and make best-practices recommendations to management
  • Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits

Looking for another position? View other positions we place in Portland, Oregon.


Most positions require a Bachelor’s degree, while some staff accountant positions require a CPA, and/or even an MBA and significant experience in the financial industry (5+ years) may be able to use their years of experience to replace the degree. While candidates can complete a degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, Finance, or Accounting, a wide variety of degrees may qualify someone for the role, depending on their previous experience. staff accountants don’t necessarily need to be CPAs, though many choose to pursue certification because it enhances their knowledge and marketability in the industry.

Top Schools – US News & World Report rankings

Top Schools

  • University of Texas at Austin

  • BYU-Provo

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Salary Range

staff accountants in the U.S.


Total staff accountants Employed in the U.S.





staff accountant Salary Comparison


While staff accountants tend to be toward the bottom of the financial hierarchy, they are still incredibly important to the organization and are paid accordingly. There is a significant range for what staff accountants can make. The more experienced and educated the person, the better paid they will be.

For more detailed compensation information for staff accountants in [city-name], download our free compensation/salary report below.


The average annual salary for staff accountants in Oregon was 73k in 2019. The hourly wage averaged $35.18.

For more detailed compensation information for staff accountants in Portland, download our free compensation/salary report below.

Working in Portland

Do staff accountants find the city of Portland a good place to live and work? There seems to be a large community of people who adore Portland and would never want to live anywhere else. On the other side of that coin, there are things about living in the city that are not rated highly.

The city is a very beautiful place and offers a unique opportunity for outdoor recreation with the ocean one hour west and the mountains one hour east. The city also celebrates open spaces, gardens, and green living.  On the jobs front, Portland has emerged as a tech haven, thus the moniker “Silicon Forest”.

Here are a few other pros for Portland.


    • Outdoor recreation. In Portland, it’s not event-based. It’s a lifestyle. And the city easily accommodates adventure and exploration with easy access to urban forests, trails, and bike paths.
    • Natural beauty: With Mount Hood towering in the distance, sprawling urban forests, the sparkling Willamette River flowing through the middle of town, and 275 public parks and gardens, it’s a truly beautiful city.
    • Diversity. Portland is also a place of strong character, and the city attracts and welcomes people of the same ilk. After all, an unofficial tagline for the city is “Keep Portland Weird”.
    • Transportation. This Quora exchange explains how one Portlander enjoys the option of walking, biking, taking light rail, bus or streetcar. The options are numerous because the downtown is built densely in small blocks.
    • Jobs. As Oregon’s largest city, almost four times larger than the next largest city, Portland offers the greatest number of job opportunities. Recruitment agency and staffing company services are also available from Amtec for Portland.
    • No sales tax. YAY!

On the other hand, there are a few complaints about living and working in the city.


    • The weather. For those with Seasonal Affective Disorder, the climate can be a challenge. The city sees an average of 144 days of sunshine, and the other days are cloudy or rainy. and’s climate would not be good.
    • High housing costs. Home purchase costs and rents were rising prior to the pandemic, and that has accelerated due to the low inventory of available homes.
    • Traffic. Although public transportation gets a thumbs up, more people are starting to talk about traffic as an issue in the city.

Current Weather

Not your city? View other cities where we place staff accountants.

Demand for staff accountants in Portland

Demand for staff accountants in Portland

Staff accountants are typically lumped in with other C-Suite executives, typically nested under the structure of the CFO. According to the BLS, there is a projection that there will be an average amount of growth (4%) in the finance field in the next 10 years. The role of the staff accountant will continue to be more complex and more technologically driven, thus all but guaranteeing that, as long as there is money involved with a company, there will be a growing need for staff accountants.

The supply of candidates and demand for open positions have a direct correlation to a company's ability to hire. Download a free Supply and Demand report for staff accountants in Portland, Oregon below.

How to Hire the Best staff accountants

Finding and hiring the best staff accountant candidates can save you money right away and well into the future.

The costs of making a bad hire are well documented. The cost can run as much as 30% of the employee's first-year earnings according to the US Department of Labor. Bad hires can cost a whopping $240,000 in expenses related to hiring, compensation, and retention per The Undercover Recruiter. 74% of companies who admit they've hired the wrong person for a position lost an average of $14,900 for each bad hire according to CareerBuilder. These statistics support our long-held position that behavioral questions are the best way to get to know your candidates and past behavior is the best indicator of future performance.

Recruiting Best Practices

The information below comes from the best practices Amtec uses for finding the highest quality candidates.

Defining the Position

When defining the role you are creating, we recommend a position profile to fully evaluate the position you are hiring for. You must decide if the engineer can work remotely or must work in Oregon. If working in Portland is essential, make sure you include that in your job posting so candidates can decide how many miles they can commute.

How to Source the Best Candidates

When you are looking to source the best quality candidates for your open positions, make sure you have done the legwork to hire an "A Player". You can do this by making sure your company's perspective is aligned with the current market, you have taken into account the job responsibilities, as well as what type of characteristics you are looking for to fit your company culture. Then proceed to write a job posting to attract high-quality candidates.

Characteristics of staff accountants

Finding candidates who are great with numbers, knowledgeable of the latest accounting principles, proficient in the use of a variety of software programs and tools is important for your success. But besides these things, look for candidates who have experience, abilities, or character traits such as:

  • Strong organizational skills
  • The ability to analyze financial data, draw conclusions about past performance
  • Experience developing financial reports, for example, profit and loss statements

How to Screen Candidates

You wrote a job posting, posted the position online, and received a lot more resumes than you’d bargained for! Next comes the enormous task of sorting through those resumes to eliminate the ones that are clearly not a good fit. Now, you have a stack of resumes for candidates who have potential. So how do you go about screening the remaining candidates?

It starts on the phone! As a recruiter, the goal of your telephone screening is to learn more about your candidates. You can confirm that they have the educational qualifications and relevant experience, but you also need to determine if they would fit into your company's culture. To make this job easier, use a system to consistently evaluate results. This way you can equally and objectively compare candidates and evaluate their "soft skills", like communication and thinking process. Download Amtec's Professional Assessment Questionnaire below to help with screening candidates.

Free Professional Assessment Questionnaire

An individually customized questionnaire that helps assess a candidate's competence with written communication skills, thinking processes, and other relevant skills.

How to Interview Candidates

At Amtec, we believe in the power of behavoral interview questions to go beyond the experience and skills listed on the candidate's resume. Although you will want to confirm in the interview that the candidate does indeed have the experience listed on their resume, your assessment needs to go much deeper than that. An interview using behavioral questions can help you determine how well the candidate will fit with your company culture.

Download Amtec's best practices on conducting super effective interviews to find the best candidates and fill your open jobs.

Behavioral Interview Guide

Get the info you need to hire the best staff accountants

Free Interview Guide