The accounting industry has been subject to many changes over the years. New technologies, increased competition, and evolving regulations have forced firms to adapt or risk falling behind. Despite all these trends, there has been no greater disruptor than the pandemic. The initial wave brought many companies to a standstill, leading to mass layoffs and hiring freezes on a scale the industry hasn’t experienced in years. However, things have turned around almost as quickly as they fell apart.
“Candidate demand is suddenly at an all-time high, hiring processes are quick, and offers are competitive,” says Mike Ruben, a Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “In my 15 years of recruiting for the accounting industry, I’ve never seen a market like this.”
With competition for talent so strong, accountants are really in the driver’s seat when it comes to their careers. “If you were holding out on your accounting job search due to busy season deadlines, concerns about job security, or other reasons, know that you now have a variety of great options,” advises Mike. “You don’t have to stay with an employer who is undervaluing you or not offering the flexibility you want. Even if you are comfortable in your role, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not at least investigating your market value or exploring new opportunities.”
Here’s why now is the time to launch your accounting job search:
Job opportunities for experienced accountants are plentiful and diverse
The ball is in your court when it comes to your next career move. “Candidates with experience are in high demand, and are often fielding conversations with five different employers at once,” says Mike. “This is translating to candidates receiving multiple accounting job offers.” This trend is happening across many areas of accounting, including:
- Public accounting
- Corporate accounting
With diverse and challenging opportunities available across all these areas, there’s has been no better time to start an accounting job search. Want to move to a different firm that offers a better work-life balance? No problem. Interested in transitioning to private industry? Go for it.
“Whether your accounting job search is motivated by earning higher compensation or finding an employer that better aligns with your needs or values, the sky is the limit,” says Mike. “There is something for everyone. Even if you are not actively job searching, it doesn’t hurt to explore the market. You never know what you may find!”
There’s less competition for career changers + more opportunities for advancement
Employers are also being more flexible with job requirements as they look to scale, resume hiring, or meet new and existing client demands. For those looking to do something different, climb the ladder, or diversify your experience, now is an excellent time to take your shot!
For example, middle market firms are increasingly meeting with candidates looking to transition from smaller firms, while the Big 4 are open to professionals from middle-market firms.
“With less candidates on the market, employers are prioritizing potential over experience,” says Mike. “This is a major shift from the early days of the pandemic when employers were being stricter in their requirements as they tried to do more with less. Now if you have a relevant background and can demonstrate a willingness to learn and the ability to hit the ground running, you have a strong chance at moving forward in the process.”
It’s easier to interview
Even though firms are hoping to return to the physical office, they are still conducting virtual interviews. Seeing many benefits from this approach, some are even looking to create a standardized remote hiring process beyond the pandemic.
“As virtual interviews become more normalized, you’ll have increased flexibility to job search,” says Mike. “Since you can interview on your own time, there is no need to take PTO, make up an excuse to your manager, or worry about your colleagues finding out about your search. This can certainly ease some of the pressure associated with job searching and open your eyes to more opportunities available in the market.” Read also: 9 Ways Accountants Can Ace A Remote Hiring Process
If this candidate-driven accounting job market ever begins to feel overwhelming, it may be a good idea to connect with a recruiting expert. As industry experts, they have access to local market trends and exclusive opportunities. However, can be a resource beyond your accounting job search. “Whether you are actively looking or just want to explore your options, having a relationship with a recruiter can benefit your career in a number of ways,” says Mike. “We’re here to be trusted advisors, whether that involves finding you opportunities or being of source of general career advice.” Read also: 4 Secrets To Working With Finance + Accounting Recruiters