July 16, 2018

Job outlook

Is There Really a Shortage of Entry Level Accountants?

There is if you believe this post by Buffalo Business First (subscription, sorry): Freed Maxick CPAs P.C. is the region’s largest accounting firm. It has continued to hire new graduates every year since the recession, but lately there seems to be a “talent shortage” for entry-level positions, said recruiting director Shawn Frier. “People are just […]

The Job Outlook Is Good for Accountants…But More Competitive

With one major deadline passed and two more coming up next week, some of you might be thinking about your employment options. It’s a common occurrence post-busy season to reflect on the past three-ish months, contact a recruiter and explore your options.

idea of what kinds of jobs might be attracting accountants in the year ahead so we got in touch with recruiter Adam Klitzke, Managing Partner of Emerson Search, LLC in Denver, Colorado.

Adam told us that he thinks that “2010 and…2011 are years where there is a “hot” background or skill set,” as opposed to a hot position (e.g. financial reporting, IFRS, or technical accounting). “[D]uring the previous 3 months, we haven’t seen the same job come up twice, but we have seen clients targeting the same type of candidate.“


So what does a hot “background or skill set” look like? Adam shared four primary characteristics that recruiters are currently looking for:

• 4-7 years of experience, the majority of which has been spent at a Big 4 firm.

• Experience with clients that comply with SEC regulation.

• Has experience supervising staff.

• Has obtained their CPA license.

“These candidates are not having any trouble landing interviews,” Adam told us. He added that in terms of your competition, there are far more bodies jockeying for a position, “in the current market we are seeing 5-10 candidates like this [with the ideal skill set] competing for the same job, whereas 3 years ago, a client would be lucky to see 2 candidates with this background.”

What if you don’t have the ideal skill set? Don’t worry, it’s not hopeless, “a second tier would look like someone with non-Big 4 public accounting experience coupled with industry experience (with a mid to large size public company – $200M+), supervisory experience, and a CPA license or an MBA,” Adam said.

Naturally, if your current background is lacking in these , it will be more difficult for a recruiter to help you land some interviews. Adam told us that while there are jobs out there for people with backgrounds that don’t fit the model above, those candidates typically find jobs without the services of a recruiter. If you’ve got bigger plans for yourself than that, it will be worth your time to pursue some or all of the points above.

The good news for those of you looking to make a move now is that you can expect to do well in terms of salary. As Adam told us, “Salary negotiations will be firm, but fair. Candidates will be able to negotiate an increase in pay and do NOT need to take a pay cut.”

Finally, another development he has seen has to do with the morale, “employee morale seems to be quite low and neither department heads or human resources are doing anything to combat that.” So, if you’re meeting with a recruiter it pays to be honest why your old employer didn’t give make you feel so good about yourself, “clients have asked us for ideas on how to improve morale and we have been able to help them as there are things a company can do other than increase salary to improve [that].”

Bottom line is that whatever your situation, it pays to be honest with recruiters about exactly what you are looking for. If you don’t like what you’re hearing from them, be honest and don’t settle for a position that you’re definitely not interested in pursuing. It may be a more competitive market but if you’ve got a strong background, you’ll have options.