No CPA, No Problem: Why Employers Are Opting For Experience Over Certifications

For public accounting professionals, it is common to think that you may need a CPA certification in order to advance your career or find your next position in the field.  However, thanks to the rising demand of tax professionals, temporary roles are easier than ever to find.  “As we prepare for busy season starting in January, those who have the tax skills necessary to hit the ground running will be able to find plenty of opportunities, regardless of their certifications,” says Alex Wright, a Senior Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division.

As per-diem accounting roles have increased over the past few years, employers who are in need of talented professionals have opted to look for experience over certifications.  “These employers simply have too many immediate needs, so they’ve increasingly made concessions to their requirements for these roles,” says Alex.  “While a CPA certification is nice, what’s most important is that a tax accountant can perform the requirements of the job on day one.”

For tax professionals looking for their next role, Alex says that those skilled with software programs like Pro Systems, Go Systems, and Fast Tax are in high demand.  Additionally, while many of these roles are per-diem or temporary roles, many will have the potential to turn into a full-time position.  “While it can be difficult to find a full-time role without a CPA, this can be a clear path to do so,” says Alex.  “Plus, many accounting professionals tend to enjoy the project-based nature of temporary work, which keeps their skills up-to-date and allows them to learn in a fast-paced environment.”

If you’re looking to find a new role before the busy season starts, Alex suggests that you don’t wait until it’s too late.  “Now is the time to start your search, especially if you don’t want to stay in your role through the April deadline next year,” he says.  “Many professionals may want to wait until November or December, but in the middle of the holiday season, hiring processes can move a lot slower.  Starting now will allow you more time to find the right role for you.”