While the public accounting industry is, in many ways, defined by its deadlines, the hiring trends within the field are beginning to shift. “While it’s typical for public accounting professionals to wait to look for a job until after their next deadline has passed, firms are no longer sticking to this model,” says Laura Gutierrez, a Senior Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “For accountants looking to make a move, now is the time.” While many public accountants often wait until after the September 15th and October 15th tax deadlines, Laura explains why earlier is better:
Firms are looking for specific skill sets
Competition is slowly picking up in the public accounting industry, and firms are looking for very specific skill sets in their pool of candidates. As a result, they’ve found that hiring earlier allows them more time to find the right person for a role—especially for tax professionals, who are the most in-demand. Because of this, they’ve moved to a year-round hiring approach, where a new hire will have a delayed start after the tax deadline.
Time for you to find the right fit
“Because the accounting industry revolves around these deadlines, I often see professionals who wait until after their deadline to start looking for their next role,” says Laura. “However, this often doesn’t allow them enough time to actually explore their options and find the best fit.” As a result, Laura says professionals often end up accepting an offer they don’t really want, or even getting stuck in their current role until the next deadline. “If you don’t want to be stuck in your role until next April, getting an early start on your job search can greatly benefit you,” she says.
Beat the competition
“Keep in mind, you’re not the only accounting professional thinking about searching for a new job after the next deadline has passed,” says Laura. “After every deadline, we’ll always see an influx of job seekers entering into the market. As a result, the competition increases significantly.” By looking ahead of time, you can often beat out your competition for roles—and take your time doing so.
Explore the field
As Laura notes, the public accounting industry is rapidly changing. As firms go through structural changes and culture shifts, it’s important for professionals in the field to explore their ever-changing options. “You may be missing out on an opportunity or a benefit you may not have had in the past if you decide not to look around,” she says.
Ease your job search anxiety
“When you compress your search into a smaller window of time, it can really affect your stress level and anxiety surrounding your search,” explains Laura. “While you’re dealing with deadlines at work, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you’ll be able to find a job.” As a result, starting your search earlier can allow you to lock down your next opportunity ahead of time. Then, you no longer need to stress about your search, and you can focus on the work at hand.