July 22, 2018

Job Market

Latest Survey of CFOs Confirms That Surveys of CFOs are Bunk

Less than two weeks ago, we shared with you the latest results from Grant Thornton’s National CFO Survey.

What we learned is what we already knew, which is that the job market sucks and will continue sucking if we are to believe the 516 CFOs surveyed from October 5th to October 15th:

In a national survey of U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, only 29% plan to increase hiring in the next six months, while 21% plan to decrease hiring.

Not so good, huh? Well fortunately for all of you looking for a job out there, the GT methodology is severely flawed for two reasons: 1) It included the extra-super-tragic days of October 5th and October 15th when CFOs were feeling especially negative and 2) They survey far too many CFOs.

Had they performed their survey on October 6th through the 14th like FEI and Baruch College and kept cut their population by roughly half (FEI/Baruch interviewed 249 CFOs), they would have discovered that things aren’t really that bad at all:

While CFOs this quarter continue to forecast high unemployment nationwide (on average predicting at least nine percent through October 2011), hiring prospects at their own companies paint a rosier picture. More than half (56%) plan to hire additional employees within the next six months, and overall they anticipate a four percent increase in hiring over the next six months.

So obviously Grant Thornton just needs to tweak their methodology a bit and then we’ll all be on the same page.

Until that happens, feel free to get some of your hapless friends together and start asking CFOs for their broad-based economic outlook. It appears that as long as you have a shell of a methodology and manage to get at least 250 responses, it’s perfectly acceptable to share the findings with everyone and claim that things are turning around.

Accounting and Finance Professionals Like Their Job Prospects While the Rest of the Workforce Is Screwed

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

The Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index increased 0.6 points to 53.9 in the third quarter of 2010, according to a recent survey. The index is a measure of overall confidence among U.S. accounting and finance workers.

The survey indicates a decline in employee confidence in the economy and job market, while workers’ optimism in their own personal employment situations increased. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by The Mergis Group, the professional placement division of SFN Group, Inc.

Additional results from the Accounting & Finance Employment Report:


• Twenty-three percent of accounting and finance workers believe the economy is getting stronger, representing a 10 percentage point drop from the second quarter of 2010.

• More than half of accounting and finance workers (60 percent) believe there are fewer jobs available, up 10 percentage points from the previous quarter.

• Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of accounting and finance workers are confident in the future of their current employer, an increase of 11 percentage points from the second quarter of 2010.

• More accounting and finance workers are confident in their ability to find a new job, with 44 percent reporting confidence as compared to 36 percent the previous quarter.

“While our Accounting and Finance Confidence Index showed little movement in the third quarter, our latest report reveals significant fluctuations in workers’ viewpoints,” Brendan Courtney, president of The Mergis Group, said of the report’s findings.

“The report illustrates that workers’ confidence in the economy and job market have dimmed. Conversely, workers are now indicating greater confidence in the future of their current employers and in their ability to find a new job. Moreover, three in ten workers indicate that they are likely to make a job change in the next 12 months,” Courtney said.

“With 2011 right around the corner, employers are encouraged to make an extra effort by acknowledging employees who have weathered the economic turbulence with the company,” he said. “Employers who heed these statistics are less likely to be faced with an unhappy workforce that jumps ship at the first sign of a full economic recovery.”

Additional demographic and survey background information.

Grant Thornton CFO Survey Reminds Everyone That the Job Market Still Sucks

But don’t just take the CFOs word for it, Stephen Chipman is hearing the same thing from the dynamic companies that GT is rubbing elbows with these days:

In a national survey of U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, only 29% plan to increase hiring in the next six months, while 21% plan to decrease hiring.

A vast majority (79%) believe that the U.S. economy will not recover until the second half of 2011 or later, and more than half (59%) are concerned with a double-dip recession.

“These findings are consistent with what we have been hearing from our dynamic-organization clients,” said Grant Thornton LLP CEO Stephen Chipman. “Indecision stemming from a weak economy and the unknown impact of governmental tax policy and new regulation on business and individuals is causing paralysis, particularly as it relates to major business decisions, including expansion, expenditures and hiring.”

In related economic shitshow news, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are probably going to need more bailout cash. As you were.

CFO Survey Finds Signs of Life for Accountants in the Bay Area Job Market

In the CFO survey du jour, San Francisco CPA firm Armanino McKenna LLP (“the 37th largest CPA firm in the nation”) says that, as far at the Bay area is concerned, CFOs are looking to hire more accounting staff in the second half of 2010.

More than 40% of those surveyed in the San Fran neck of the woods are planning on it and they aren’t looking for newbies. No, they’re looking for the slightly grizzled, slightly jaded types that are wasting away in their current cube farm. “[T]he most desired new hire is the mid-range accountant, such as an analyst, staff or senior accountant,” sayeth the press release.


As for the rest of the country, things are probably still up in the air but we’ve got to start somewhere.

So if you’re sick of your current city and really want a new job, hoof it out west. If you’re lucky, maybe Adrienne will let you crash at her place. Just try to keep the CPA exam questions to a minimum.

CFOs Predict Increased Accounting Hires in Last Six Months of 2010 [PR Newswire]

CFOs Return to Pessimism on the Hiring Front

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

More bad news on the hiring front, as CFOs say they are less likely to hire people now than they were three months ago.

According to the latest quarterly Robert Half Financial Hiring Index, six percent of chief financial officers said they plan to hire full-time accounting and finance employees during the third quarter of 2010.

In the prior survey conducted three months ago, seven percent of CFOs indicated they planned to add full-time accounting and finance employees during the second quarter. At the time, the folks at Robert Half celebrated the fact this was the highest hiring forecast since the first quarter of 2009.

Well, that party was short-lived.


Meanwhile, in the latest survey, nine percent of CFOs said they anticipate staff reductions. This is up from eight percent in the prior quarterly survey.

Add it up, and CFOs are more pessimistic now than they were three months ago. Not a recipe for bringing down the nation’s stubbornly high unemployment rate.

And accounting was supposed to be the good profession to go into because it is supposedly growing. Oh well.

Of course, the folks at Robert Half-an employment agency–put a positive spin on its results, asserting: “CFOs remain optimistic about the outlook for their businesses.”

The reality is – the job picture in this country is bleak and possibly getting worse. There is not one report out there that suggests companies are ready to unleash their HR departments.

In fact, the government’s recent report – which President Obama inexplicably predicted several days earlier would be strong – found that nearly half the unemployed have been out of work at least six months.

Even the teaching profession – long considered recession resistant and secure – is experiencing massive layoffs nationwide. Only a wage freeze movement is preventing even more teachers from losing their jobs.

Ultimately, companies need to see a connection between hiring more people and growing their business for them to decide to add to staff.

Increasing their taxes and piling more and more regulatory and policy mandates on them is certainly not going to entice companies to hire more people.

Robert Half’s Salary Guide Doesn’t Have Many Surprises

Robert Half has issued its salary guide for 2010 and we wouldn’t say that’s its chock full of good news. It follows the Ajilon salary guide that came out a couple of weeks ago and it seems to present a lot of the same sobering conclusions.
Salaries will be virtually flat, according to Bob’s guide, increasing approximately 0.5% for next year. However, there are some areas that seem to have better prospects than others including:


Tax accountants
Financial analysts
Senior and staff accountants
Business analysts
Along with these positions, the guide states that employers are seeking professionals with certifications, broad experience, and expertise in technology or compliance.
RH also has a “Public Accounting Outlook” in the guide and it does not paint a pretty picture:

Compensation packages in public accounting have seen notable changes. Salary levels have moderated, with declines reported in some areas. Additionally, instances of large signing bonuses and raises are far less common and typically reserved for premier performers.

The silver lining is, again, for tax professionals but since more companies are trying to do tax work in house, public firms are now competing directly with their corporate clients for the talent. It also indicates that some smaller firms have done some hiring and our earlier post on considering a smaller firm elicited some comments in favor of choosing that route.
Overall, with the significant change in the political environment, the job market for accountants seems to be trending towards positions centered around compliance and rule changes and the competition will likely be fierce. You can request a copy of the salary guide by going here.
For those of you currently on the job search, discuss the salary trends that you are seeing in the current market. Good luck to everyone that is currently on the hunt.