Spotting a ‘Walter Mitty’ in Accountancy Recruitment


By Allan Maund, Head of Compliance and Risk at Dains Accountants


Recruiting the right calibre of employee with the required skill set is key for any business and it’s no different in the world of accountancy.


Although most of the time candidates are recruited and settle into the business seamlessly, there can be occasions when employees aren’t always who or what they say they are.

Before you know it, a rogue candidate can be welcomed into your business who turns out to be a ‘Walter Mitty’ and could go on to potentially destroy your finances and company reputation.


Why can a Walter Mitty slip through the net?


Rogue candidates can be difficult to identify.


Often they enhance or reduce their CV to suit their own needs, stretch the truth about job titles, qualifications, former employers and gaps in work history due to suspension, unemployment or even spells in prison.


Walter Mitty is defined by the ‘American Heritage Dictionary as ‘an ordinary often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs.’


Often a Walter Mitty’s personal daydreams transfer into the workplace and although some characters are harmless, others are intent on committing financial crime which can have serious consequences.


How do you prevent the recruitment of a Walter Mitty?


Fabricating a CV may seem obvious, but correct and thorough due diligence is key to stopping an individual at an early stage in their potentially devious tracks.


At Dains Accountants, we recognise the importance of robust recruitment controls which can help to bring any candidate anomalies to the surface.


It’s also important to check the credentials of any recruitment agency you are using, to ensure they are doing their necessary due diligence before they put candidates forward for your business.


Open source investigation on the internet is a useful tool in the recruitment process and if research is done correctly, an applicant may not even make it to interview stage.


For finance positions, it might be worth considering a credit check in case the candidate is bankrupt, a disqualified director or has an adverse finance record. And when it gets to interview stage, let the candidate do the talking and ask them to talk through their CV and qualifications to make sure things add up. If you have any doubts, you have the opportunity to put them on the spot and verify what they say.


For further information about Dains Accountants, please call 01782 262121 or visit


To discuss how partnering with a trusted recruitment partner can support your hiring process, say hello to the team at H2.