Looking to hire some accountants at your nonprofit organization in the new year? To help you hire the right fit, we’ve put together a list of the top skills and characteristics you should look for.

top accountant skills

Accounting-Specific Skills & Traits

Understand Fund Accounting

Nonprofit accounting is very different than traditional accounting. And it’s super critical that your accounting candidates understand that. Even better, they have experience working with fund accounting practices.

Ask your candidates questions about their experience with nonprofit-specific accounting.

Familiarity with Reporting

Reporting is necessary for all your organization’s stakeholders. Your accountants should be able to at least read the reports and understand what they’re saying.

Why? Well, if they’re asked by the board, top executives, or even external stakeholders, they should be able to answer questions efficiently and effectively. They can also help relay information to the marketing and public relations teams to use in upcoming campaigns.

Have Used Fund Accounting Software

If nonprofit accounting software, whether it’s for fundraising or grant management or something else, is a big part of your process, than hiring something who has experience with the tool can be a major win.

Nonprofit-Specific Skills

Nonprofit-specific skill sets can also be seen as general, professional skills. However they’re really important when it comes to working for an NPO.

Passion for Your Cause

A cause stands for something – people depend on you to help them. No matter what your mission is or who you’re helping, you want the people on your team to be passionate about the cause too.

One way to see if candidates care about the cause is to ask them in the interview process. Ask them what about your organization speaks to them. Bonus points if they can offer new ways to get donations or offer support to those who benefit from your mission.

Resourceful Problem Solver

Working at a nonprofit typically means that resources and funds are tight. For some, this can be a roadblock. For others, this can be a challenge to find a new way to solve the problem. And you definitely want the person who thinks its a challenge.

Resourceful problem solvers will think of creative solutions to get around issues, shortcuts, or ways to organize your process or procedures to maximize the productivity of the team.


Self-motivated individuals are more likely to learn on their own and stay updated on trends. They want to better themselves and their skillset.

Hiring someone like this will do wonders for your accounting team. Their dedicated to their craft might wear off on your other accountants.

What other traits or skills do you look for when hiring new nonprofit accountants? Tweet us your answers @CapitaBusiness.