We recently wrote about the critical talent shortage of experienced finance professionals and how difficult it can be to locate, hire, and retain key people capable of successfully implementing and optimizing financial management software — particularly for SaaS companies. Job seekers are feeling the pain, too, as without a long resume in the SaaS industry, they may never get an interview. David Appel, Head of Subscription and SaaS for Sage Intacct addressed this issue from the applicant’s side in this recent article. David offers interview strategies to help job seekers land the perfect role at a growing SaaS vendor. He also provides some cautionary advice — including the fact that “there’s always going to be a mess” in terms of financial consistency, structure, and processes at any early-state SaaS vendor.
If we’ve got job-hunting finance professionals looking for new leadership roles and eager SaaS companies looking for experienced financial executives— where are the disconnects? Here are three matchmaking recommendations for both employers and candidates.
1. It takes Experience to get Experience
It’s the age-old employment quandary. Companies want to hire experienced personnel, but job-seekers cannot get experience if they don’t get hired.
Considering the tight job market across virtually every industry sector, SaaS companies may need to consider candidates with less on-the-job experience. In lieu of that experience, they may look to hire individuals with the right set of personality traits and a genuine desire to learn. Individuals who are naturally curious, technically savvy, and are lifelong learners, for example, can be taught the practical skills they may be missing.
Candidates eager to break into the SaaS market are advised to advance their skillsets to better match the job descriptions. Beyond traditional degree programs, there are numerous options for targeted certificate programs and online course options.
2. Keep the Skill Requirements Broad
Employers typically create onerous checklists of job requirements, which may discourage candidates with real potential from applying. Remember, that skills are more easily taught than enthusiasm and a strong work ethic.
Employers can benefit by placing less evidence on a candidate’s ability to check the boxes and instead emphasize their ability to think creatively and solve complex problems. We understand that these traits are difficult to screen for, but it’s worth the additional effort in a market this tight.
Candidates can recognize that they may have more power than they think during the interview process. Growing SaaS companies may be hiring their first CFO or controller, and not having done it before, they may not know what they need. A candidate can boost their chances by having done adequate research, conveying confidence, and demonstrating a willingness to roll up their sleeves and learn the ropes.
3. Flexibility Remains Paramount
The past year was filled with hiring uncertainty, but tech company hiring of finance leaders is now on the rise.
Employers will need to make determinations about bringing staff back into the office or continuing a work-from-home model. A flexible approach will allow SaaS companies to draw candidates from the broadest possible geographic area.
Job seekers can learn a lot about a company’s leadership by reviewing their response to the pandemic and understanding how the pandemic impacted the organization. If the company reacted quickly and decisively, it demonstrates a flexible, forward-thinking culture that bodes well for its employees. While many employers have committed to allowing employees to work remotely indefinitely, others are beginning to bring their workforce back into the office. Job seekers who remain flexible in this regard will have the most opportunity.
The Perfect Match
SaaS companies are actively looking for finance professionals to help lead their organizations. In turn, finance professionals are actively gaining the skill sets and experience to further their careers in the SaaS industry. Both sides may need to compromise and evaluate their approaches to find their perfect match.
BT Partners works with SaaS companies to help them hire and train finance professionals, get the most of out of their accounting software, and grow their operations.