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Test launched to test ability of job seeking accountants


August 29

Online test launched to test technical ability of job seeking accountants

An online accountancy technical competency test will go some way to preventing costly recruitment decisions.

Over 1000 accountancy positions are being recruited for at any given time in New Zealand and selecting the wrong candidate can cost up to $199,000 or 143% of an average chartered accountants annual salary.#

The development by Accountests (
), a cloud based CA, graduate accountant and bookkeeping test suite, is the brainchild of human resources specialist Steve Evans, after many discussions with disillusioned accountants.

One of those, chartered accountant Giles Pearson said “for many of our clients, as employers of CA’s and unqualified accountants it is a bit of a hit and miss when it comes to assessing their technical expertise.

“In many instances the candidate will have a good CV, will interview well and the referees are glowing, but when it came down to technical proficiency, our clients didn’t really have a tool to test them on.

“You can ask candidates about their experience, and although many are qualified, some can’t apply their skills practically to the benefit of their client or employer,” Mr Pearson said.

Mr Evans drew upon his expertise in psychometric testing and HR tactics to develop the questionnaires, which were validated by partner and manager level accountants at PwC, Staples Rodway and BDO, chief financial officers and financial controllers within businesses along with HR candidate selection specialists. Academic support was provided by Waikato University.

“It was important that we developed a tool that had been thoroughly tested – both in outcomes and functionality. It had to be easy to use and the test takes just 30 minutes.

“When combined with structured interviews and assessments of ability and personality, it will strengthen the decisions for appointing the most suitable candidate.

“We have spent a lot of time getting it right and we’re now ready to offer it to accountancy firms, businesses and recruitment companies in New Zealand and then throughout the world,” Mr Evans said.

The CA version tests candidates in the areas of financial accounting, taxation, management and costing.

One hundred accountants undertook the test to develop a base for comparing performance (norm group).

The average score for CA’s in the test was 52% and a noticeable trend was that accountants scored well in their specialist area but few scored well across the four subject areas.

The Non-qualified/graduate Test covers the same areas but with questions adjusted to the level of skill required for those positions

The New Zealand Bookkeeper Test assesses knowledge and skills for roles such as bookkeeper and accounts assistant. Questions vary in complexity and extend to journal entry, accounting concepts, business support and taxation.

Accountests will be revealed at the HR conference HR Game Changer Conference at Sky City in Auckland this week.

# Source: Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD)
Accountant salary figures sourced from NZICA 2013 Remuneration Survey.


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