Last month, Business Insider released a list of “The 25 best jobs in America right now, according to employees.” On that list, and ranking at an impressive 10 and 2, respectively, were two accounting positions: Audit Manager and Tax Manager.
At The Execu|Search Group, our Accounting/Finance division has also seen an increase in interest for these roles on both the candidate and employer sides. So why are audit and tax so in demand right now? To put it simply: tax and audit are continuing to strengthen due to changing regulations and rules.
“Tax was always a strong field, but many firms are currently expanding their tax groups,” says Elisa Dammacco, a Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “There is more money in the market now and the economy is improving, so people are willing to pay for accountants to do their taxes; they know that the accountant’s fee can often be outweighed by extra tax benefits they wouldn’t have found otherwise.” Furthermore, now that the industry is catching up after the post-recession scramble to implement compliance efforts, companies are also spending more money on special tax services beyond compliance.
Many may consider waiting until the end of tax season to begin their job search, but just because it’s already tax season doesn’t mean there are no jobs out there. In fact, many employers are implementing extended start dates to accommodate those looking for a role after tax season is over, and by waiting until then to start looking, many candidates risk losing out to their more proactive competition.
“CPA firms are building out their family office and high net worth tax departments due to the improving economy,” says Irv Myones, a Senior Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “In addition, international tax is strong as well, in both consulting and individual ex patriate tax. Individuals are making money and companies are doing business, both at home and in other countries.”
Both external and internal audit are also experiencing growth due to an increasing number of regulations, many of which are new. “With these increased regulations and the financial crisis just past, in addition to several scandals on Wall Street, the focus of all of the major financial services institutions has been the internal control environment that exists and that needs to exist,” says Alan McGinn, a Senior Managing Director at The Execu|Search Group. “For this reason, our industry has seen an unprecedented increase in demand for internal controls and internal audit professionals to satisfy their expanding departments.”
Advice for Job Seekers
According to Elisa, one of the most important pieces of job search advice for these professionals is to know their resume and the ins and outs of every item on it. For example, if you have international tax experience on your resume, be sure to know foreign tax policies and be able to speak to that specialty. Likewise, public audit professionals should know their clients and the industries they serve.
“It may seem like common sense, but many candidates go into interviews unprepared to answer the interviewer’s questions about their resume,” says Elisa. “It can make a candidate look bad if they are unable to answer these questions; if you can’t hold a conversation about the specialty you work in, how well-versed in that specialty can you be?”
In addition to your resume, be able to speak about the company as well. By thoroughly researching the organization you’re interviewing for, you’ll be able to better describe how you can impact the department and the company as a whole—something that’s a great practice for all job seekers regardless of industry.