Hire Fewer PHRs and More CPAs

AICPAWe hear it over and over and over and over and over again – HR just doesn’t understand the business.  Maybe we’re hearing it less, but we’re still hearing it.  How many people on your HR team can read a balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, or the footnotes to a financial statement…like read and really understand?  Aside from a distinct ability to do this, CPAs also have a knack for digging into a client’s business, finding the stuff that matters, and connecting the dots to what works and what doesn’t.  MBAs can certainly do this too, but at a different level.   Several large professional services firms (e.g. Deloitte) have successfully created career paths from public accounting into HR.  And I can tell you that those people on that career path move much quicker than their peers.  I’m a CPA and SPHR, but can say with out a doubt that the former has been more valuable not only to me in my career, but also to the clients I’ve served over the years – internal and external.  So I’m going to start a recruiting presence at undergraduate business programs looking to hire accountants…not HR majors.  And the next time I have an HR manager opening, I’m going to look at CPAs as well as PHRs…

And by the way, I’m glad to see that the HRCI‘s suggested body of knowledge for the PHR/SPHR has at least some mention of Accounting, Financial Statements, Analysis, Budgeting, etc.  I’d say, though, there could and should be an even greater focus on general business and operations topics.


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