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An employment summary based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) October 2015 monthly jobs report.

On October 2nd, BLS announced that the U.S. economy created a weaker-than-expected 142,000 new jobs for the month of September. The government also revised last month’s jobs data to show that the economy created only 136,000 jobs, down from 173,000.

APILast month, the more optimistic (and outdated) 173,000 number had already fallen short of Wall Street’s expectations by 47,000 jobs. Accounting and bookkeeping added 5,400 jobs nationwide between August and September 2015. However, finance and insurance activities lost a cumulative 1,300 jobs over the same period, mostly driven by cutbacks in commercial banking.

For September, the bulk of the increase occurred in healthcare (+34,000) as well as professional and business services (+31,000).

What this means for accounting/finance job candidates

Despite the weak jobs report, it continues to be a seller’s market for experienced and talented job seekers. Today’s accounting/finance workers are expected to replace the estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers who retire each day in the U.S. In accounting/finance, there’s growing demand and a shortage of supply.

Experienced and skilled accounting/finance workers have more career opportunities than other professions. Both specialties are considered among the 20 fastest growing occupations. And also, accountants and auditors can expect a 13 percent growth in their occupation from 2012 to 2022, while financial analysts will see 16 percent growth over the same period, according to BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The average growth rate for all occupations is 11 percent.

What this means for accounting/finance employers

Employers need to know where the salary winds are blowing. Take a look at our 2016 Accounting and Finance Salary Guide which helps you make competitive offers to attract top talent.

As you bring in Millennials and Generation Z into your workforce, retention will play a key role in a winning game plan. Studies find that today’s younger employees tend to go job-hopping. Thus, turnover of skilled personnel should be avoided in an environment where there’s a shortage of accounting/finance talent in the first place.

In terms of macroeconomic outlook, September’s strong employment numbers is rekindling debate on whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at the next board meeting. A rate hike would be the first in nearly a decade, and would be aimed at preventing inflation. However, record low prices at the fuel pump have thus far been a key influence in keeping inflation at bay.

Accounting/Finance employment figures

While the official unemployment rate has dipped to historic lows at 5.1 percent, be cautious. A record 94 million Americans are not participating in the workforce, and the labor participation rate is at 62.4 percent, a 38-year low.

When looking specifically at accounting/finance, things are optimistic. The unemployment rate for accounting and finance professionals is generally considered 2 to 3 percent lower than the overall U.S. population. And according to the “Job Outlook 2015” survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top two in-demand bachelor’s degrees are finance and accounting: 57 percent of respondents said they plan to hire candidates with a bachelor’s in finance, while 56 percent said they plan to hire accounting degree holders.

For accounting/finance professionals, that’s cause for optimism indeed.

Find the Right Balance between Compensation and Expectations


Compensation is an age-old tool of business—a reflection of the labor supply and the demand of the market. The word salary is actually derived from the Latin word sal, meaning “salt.” According to Jack Weatherford’s The History of Money, once upon a time, merchants in Africa mined slabs of pure salt, which were easily cut into standardized sizes and used as a form of payment for goods and services.

Interesting, right? But let’s jump ahead to present day and discuss accounting and finance salaries—in the form of actual cash.

Too often today, salary negotiations between companies and accounting and finance job seekers share common ground with antiquated trading practices. Salary conversations start to feel like a trade and barter transaction instead of a professional negotiation based on data. Giving in to small salary increases may seem like an easy way to gain a highly sought after candidate, but is it in your company’s best interest?

For example, a $5,000 bump in starting salary may seem like a small concession to obtain a fresh accounting graduate, but according to one study, such a modest increase could potentially add up to several hundred thousand dollars in extra compensation over the course of an entire career. For employers, there’s a lot at stake—especially over the long haul—to getting the wage numbers right. Depending on your company’s needs, some talent is worth the risk, while other talent is not.

These days, you may encounter more skilled job seekers who have lofty financial aspirations. That’s because there’s a shortage of experienced talent in accounting and finance, and prized candidates tend to be heavily courted. Younger workers who possess at least a bachelor’s in accounting or finance are some of the most sought after degree holders. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting and finance jobs are among the fastest growing through 2022.

So while job candidates have gained leverage over employers, they can’t simply name their salaries—especially when their potential employer is equipped with the latest salary data. The more knowledge you have about salary trends, the more you improve your bargaining position when faced with skilled candidates who have high salary expectations. Make sure you’re in the best position to land top talent—without overpaying by a mile—by getting familiar with 2016’s salary figures. And not just salary figures in general, but figures unique to your company’s size and location.

2016 Salary Guide

In Accounting Principals’ 2016 Salary Guide, we provide you with a toolkit for making appropriate, competitive job offers to promising candidates. Our data includes a breakdown of:

  • Salary levels for a comprehensive list of accounting and finance positions
  • Base salary comparisons by company size
  • Job descriptions for various accounting and finance positions
  • Variances and cost-of-living adjustments for local job markets throughout the country

For employers, knowledge of the market’s labor dynamics can increase the likelihood of landing a prized recruit, and a well-informed HR manager can be in a better position to make an appropriate job offer. As labor supply and demand continue to evolve to favor accounting and finance professionals, you can benefit from having accurate salary data to better attract and retain key talent.

12 Annoying Times Better Spent Applying for Accounting Jobs

With the ability to apply for accounting and finance jobs on-the-go, our mobile-friendly job search site can make these 12 situations exponentially more productive.

1. While waiting in line at the DMV


2. While watching your fantasy football team get destroyed by a machine called “Gronk”


3. While on a Tinder date with someone who keeps referring to themselves in the third person… “Taylor LOVES boiled oysters”


4. While on the treadmill


5. While attending an especially long wedding ceremony with no open bar


6. When Game of Thrones is a repeat


7. While getting coffee for your boss


8. While waiting for the microwave TO HURRY UP WITH THE BAGEL BITES!


9. While sitting in the doctor’s waiting room so he can identify why you suddenly feel “sick” every Monday morning


10. When your fiancé makes you watch The Bachelor and you have to pretend like you don’t care who gets the rose


11. Right after you lose in Monopoly because your friends are all cheaters who steal from the bank (because that’s the only comprehensible way they could ever beat you)


12. While getting your hair braided on a vacation in Mexico



Gifs curated from

Don’t let a bad date or the eternity waiting for the microwave keep you from your career potential. Start something new with us. Look for accounting and finance jobs by visiting on your mobile device or tablet. Apply anytime, anywhere (well, almost).

Accounting and Finance Jobs Report: September 2015

In today’s business climate, accounting and finance job seekers relatively have more career opportunities than other professions. On Sept. 4, BLS announced that the U.S. economy created a weaker-than-expected 173,000 jobs for the month of August.

“In August, financial activities employment increased by 19,000, with job gains in real estate (+8,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000),” according to BLS. “Over the year, employment in financial activities has grown by 170,000.”


Economists had expected a 220,000 increase in new jobs, which is more in line with monthly job creation numbers since the start of summer. On Sept. 4, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 272.38 points, or 1.7 percent, as investors remain concerned on the state of the U.S. economy amid a seeming global slowdown.

Mixed economic results

The official unemployment rate dipped to 5.1 percent from 5.3 percent in July, but a record 94 million Americans did not participate in the labor force in August—261,000 more than July. A 5 percent rate of unempployment suggests an economy that may be at risk of overheating, which may result in higher inflation. However, the labor force participation rate remains at 62.6 percent, a 38-year low.

Historically, the Department of Labor has tended to revise August’s job numbers and may do so in a few weeks. If BLS follows such a course of action, the government may provide a more optimistic revision. August’s employment data tend to be affected by employers laying off end of summer jobs. Also, relatively few businesses participated in the government’s monthly survey.

“Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in August (+33,000) and has increased by 641,000 over the year,” according to BLS’s Sept. 4 report.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile to Find a Job

woman using laptopLinkedIn is a tool that absolutely every job seeker should be leveraging. It is the world’s largest professional network with over 300 million users. However, it is not enough to simply set up a basic profile and wait for job opportunities to present themselves. Recently, the Accounting Principals team had the opportunity to sit in on a training seminar with LinkedIn team members and gained greater insight into the best practices for optimizing a profile to better position job seekers. We want you to have the best job search experience possible, so we’re sharing them with you!

Getting Started

First things first, here are the must haves when first setting up a profile:

  • A professional name and profile picture. Having a picture makes your profile 7x more likely to be viewed
  • Your location
  • A thorough professional headline. The information provided should encourage potential employers and connections to find out more about you.
  • A summary that expands upon your professional headline and tells those visiting your page a little more about you
  • Designate your industry
  • Customize your profile URL to optimize your ability to be searched.
  • Update your work experience, education, and skills.

Unfortunately this is about as far as many job seekers go when developing their pages. In fact, only 50.5% of profiles are 100% complete by LinkedIn’s standards. Fortunately for you, dear reader, many of these users will be your competition that you outperform when you utilize the remaining tips to really enhance your profile!

Click To Tweet Tweet This: Learn how to optimize your #LinkedIn profile to land a job in @acctprincipal’s latest blog post!

Join Groups

LinkedIn offers a wide variety of groups across all manners of industries. Joining and participating in relevant groups will allow you to share and read new content, interact with like-minded individuals, and gain new connections. There are more than 200 conversations happening per minute on LinkedIn, so we offer the Accounting Principals’ guarantee that you will be able to find something worthwhile to take part in!

Engage, Create, & Share Relevant Content

Like any other social network, one of the primary functions of LinkedIn is to share content and to engage with the content that is shared by your peers. However, the focus of your LinkedIn content should be professional and relevant to your industry. You should also take the opportunity to showcase any presentations that you have created and any blog posts or other content that you have published. Our SVP, Jodi Chavez, underscores the importance of maintaining a dynamic profile saying that, “staying active with posts and valuable insights helps emphasize your expertise.” Treat LinkedIn the way your friends who are new parents treat Facebook. Maybe not to that same level of excess, but your work is your baby and you should be proud to show it off!

Make the Right Connections

The “quality over quantity” cliché is especially applicable when it comes to your LinkedIn profile. Having a large network of connections is certainly encouraged, however, it is far more important to make 1st degree connections, LinkedIn’s term for people that you’re directly connected to because you’ve accepted their invitation to connect, or they’ve accepted your invitation. The more 1st degree connections you have, the better you will rank in the site’s search results.

Having relevant connections is particularly important for another reason; recommendations. Your 1st degree connections should be the people that you would feel comfortable contacting to write you a recommendation that can be featured on your profile. These recommendations can lend you a great deal of credibility and they are one of the first areas that hiring managers and recruiters look to when visiting your profile.

LinkedIn can be a job seeker’s best friend if it’s used to its fullest extent. Get your profile set up and optimized today so that you can make the right connections and network your way to a dream position!

Ready to put this advice to good use and take your next career step?


Accounting and Finance Jobs Report: August 2015

July was another good month for accounting and finance job seekers. Macroeconomic trends and continued strong demand for skilled professionals are resulting in plenty of vacancies for job candidates.

According to the latest government data, the U.S. economy created 215,000 new jobs in July, including sectors such as professional services and finance. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also revised jobs data for May and June to add 14,000 more jobs created than what was previously reported.

Job gains in finance

Here are the job gains in the financial sector:

  • Employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 in July
  • The financial sector has created 156,000 jobs over the past 12 months
  • Insurance carriers created 10,000 jobs in July
  • Insurance carriers have created 85,000 jobs in 2015

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3 percent, in line with Wall Street’s projections. Last month’s job gains occurred in retail trade, health care, professional and technical services, and financial activities, according to BLS.

In June, the financial industry contributed 20,000 new jobs to the U.S. economy.

Higher interest rates?

There is growing speculation that July’s job gains may result in higher interest rates—as potentially enacted by the Federal Reserve this coming September. Such a hike would be the first since 2006—and the jobs report in August will likely be a key factor in the Fed’s closely-watched decision.

Overall payroll growth has slowed in 2015, and many economists—and households—remain concerned about the lack of wage growth for U.S. workers.

But the accounting and finance professions seem insulated from certain macro trends. The fields continue to provide plenty of career opportunities for qualified candidates. Between 2012 to 2022, accounting and auditing are projected to create over 200,000 jobs in the U.S., representing a 13.1 percent growth in the profession, according to BLS.

Wages are also increasing as accounting and finance firms/departments compete for a limited pool of skilled workers. BLS’s August jobs report will be a key economic indicator, and perhaps receive more media coverage as part of this year’s national election cycle.


Accounting and Finance Jobs Report: July 2015


June was a relatively good month for job seekers, although there are signs that the economy still has much room for improvement. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), June added 223,000 jobs across all sectors. But that figure is less than the average monthly gain of 250,000 over the prior 12 months. In comparison, May added 280,000 jobs to the economy.

BLS recently revised both the April and May numbers, reducing job gains by 60,000 over that two-month period. The labor force participation rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 62.6 percent in June.

Still, job-seekers have plenty of options so long as they possess the skills that employers want. According to BLS, there were 5.4 million job openings on the last business day of May. Employers hired 5 million workers in May, while separations (retirements, resignations, layoffs, discharges, etc.) totaled 4.7 million for that month.

Employment Increase in Finance

Most of June’s job gains are found in the following industries:

  • Professional and business services (+64,000)
  • Healthcare (+40,000)
  • Retail trade (+33,000)
  • Financial activities (+20,000)
  • Transportation and warehousing (+17,000)

Career opportunities have been robust for those providing professional and business services, as well as, healthcare services. But small parts of the economy are showing hints of fundamentally shifting from traditional full-time employment to what BLS refers to as “temporary help.” In professional and business services, the gains from temporary help (for June) rose to 19,800 compared to an increase of 17,200 in May. In April 2015, those gains were significantly lower at 10,800. (BLS did not provide similar measures for temporary help when it came to financial activities.)

To illustrate the growing trend of telecommuting and flex-work, 23% of employed persons did some or all of their work at home during 2014, according to BLS. Back in 2003, 19% of employed persons did some or all of their work at home.

Insurance Industry Hiring More Professionals

In June, employment in financial activities increased by 20,000, with most of the increase coming from insurance carriers and related activities (+9,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+7,000), according to BLS. Commercial banking employment declined by 6,000.

The accounting and finance professions continue to see job gains, and a persistent shortage of talent is causing many vacancies to go unfilled. Employment in financial activities has grown by 159,000 over the year, and according to BLS, the insurance industry is responsible for about half of the gain.

Here are recent trends in job gains for financial activities:

  • June 2015: +20,000
  • May 2015: +10,000
  • April 2015: +7,000
  • June 2014: +17,000

Career Outlook for Accounting and Finance Professionals

BLS estimates that there are 1.18 million accountants and auditors who are employed in the U.S. (as of May 2014) with a mean hourly wage of $35.42. But a key question remains whether companies will be able to hire enough talent to replace retiring Baby Boomers. Between 2012 to 2022, accounting and auditing are projected to create over 200,000 jobs in the U.S., representing a 13.1% growth in the profession.

In general, four employment trends are occurring:

  1. Companies want to hire accounting/finance professionals.
  2. There’s a shortage of talent and experience.
  3. Employers are enticing a limited pool of qualified candidates with higher pay, more benefits, and development programs.
  4. Millennials and Generation Z are beginning to replace retiring Baby Boomers. However, these younger workers tend to go job-hopping.


Things Recruiters Don’t Tell You…But I Will! Part 2 – Communication

Things recruiters don't tell you, but I will

It can be strange to think of communication as a critical factor in working with a recruiter, but it is an integral part of any successful business relationship. Here are a few tips for fostering a great working relationship.


Communication starts from the initial contact. The first contact we typically have with you is a phone call or voice message. It’s important to be sure your voicemail is set up. If we call a candidate that doesn’t have a voicemail set up, we’re unable to leave a message. That forces us (and any other prospective employer, for that matter) to have to follow up with an email as well. With candidates applying daily and constant calls, we may not have the opportunity to follow up with an email right away. This means an application may get lost – and we certainly don’t want that to happen! We want to talk to you! It is also important to make your voicemail greeting as professional as can be. We don’t want to leave a message for a future employee of ours that says something inappropriate. Update your voicemail message to a professional one, at least while you’re job seeking!

Scheduling an Interview

When we are speaking on the phone, our next step in the process is to set up an in-person interview. We want to meet you! We are excited about the chance to get to know you and help you find a job. When scheduling an interview, be sure to schedule it for a mutually compatible time. One of the major hiccups of job-seekers is rescheduling an interview. This is a big no-no. It can be viewed as rude to reschedule an interview. Having to reschedule an interview forces the interviewer to change their day, which can put a negative connotation on the relationship before you even meet them. Of course life happens, we get that, but there are numerous times where candidates reschedule for no real reason and – again, we want to meet you because you are awesome! Unfortunately, we don’t always have the ability to reschedule over and over, so be sure to check your schedule before confirming the meeting time.

Coming to the Interview

Be on time. Always. (This gets its own line; it’s that important!)

Now let me elaborate. On time doesn’t mean really early. There is no need to be earlier than 10 minutes to any interview. If you are earlier than that, wait in your car or hang out outside the office until 10 minutes prior to your meeting time. If you show up to the meeting extremely early it can be awkward for the person you’re meeting. They feel obligated to stop whatever they are doing so that you don’t have to wait but they may have the time allotted appropriately just for your meeting. And of course, do not be late. If you are late, be sure to apologize to the person you’re meeting. Now, I know that it’s 2015 and our cell phones are glued to us, but it is crucial to never have your phone out during any time you are at an interview location. I recommend each of my candidates to leave their phone in their car. If you have to bring it in, it must be off. Having your phone out during an interview is not the impression you want to make to a potential employer.

Follow Up

Follow up is important to every relationship. If someone asks you to call them to go to dinner, you return their call in a timely manner, right? I probably asked you to call me for something specific (i.e. following up after meeting with a client) and I’m dying to hear from you and hear how well you shined! Following through on basic information like this makes me trust you more and more every time. We want to hear how much you liked it so we can give feedback to the company, or your dislikes so we can take you out of the mix. For me specifically, I am in a couple different office locations over the course of one week, so candidates will often get an email from me asking them to call me at a certain number. Paying attention to my location and contact information is crucial! It shows me effective communication skills and attention to detail. Aside from all of these reasons to follow up, the most important by far is the always-true saying “time kills all deals”. We need you to follow up with us because if you don’t, we will have to move on to someone else and we don’t want to do that – we want to work with you!


There’s a fine line between sharing your story and sharing too much personal information. When in doubt, err on the side of less personal information. It’s important for us to get to know you. I want to hear all about your accomplishments, and motivators, and promotions, etc! That’s what makes you successful and what I want to tell my clients to help you get that job you are dreaming of. However, I do not need to hear about your personal love life and relationship status. I want to be your professional friend, rather than your personal friend, there is a difference. Do your best to remember that.

PS – It’s still great to send a thank you letter for anyone who takes the time to meet with you. I bet you made such a great impression that a follow up thank you note will seal the deal and remind them how awesome you are a few days after you met. Email is fine, but a thank you card with a stamp goes much further.

Accounting and Finance Jobs Report: June 2015


The professional and business services sector continues to lead job growth and added 63,000 jobs last month. The sector has added total of 671,000 jobs over the year. Health care and leisure and hospitality also contributed to the economy’s job growth.

In May, employment increased in computer systems design and related services (+10,000), management and technical consulting services (+7,000), and in architectural and engineering services (+5,000). Employment with temporary help services continued to rise and brought an additional 20,000 jobs to the economy last month.



Among the professional sectors, the financial activities industry continues to grow adding 13,000 jobs in May. Over the past year, the industry has added a total of 160,000 jobs, with about half of the gain in insurance carriers and related activities.

As the national unemployment rate remains stagnant, the unemployment rate for those in management, business, and financial operations occupations is at 2.4%, down from 3.1% this time last year. In particular, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are among the 20 occupations with the highest projected numeric change in employment. The BLS projects 204,600 new jobs will be added to this occupational sector by 2022. As the number of organizations increases and financial regulations become stricter, there will be greater demand for these workers and the job market will be in favor employees and job seekers.

Click To Tweet Tweet This: #Bookkeeper, #accountant and #auditing clerk #jobs are projected to grow. Is job growth outpacing supply?


In an Accounting Today article, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, points out that the average monthly job gains indicate we’re closing in on full employment.

“That pace is double the rate necessary to absorb the growth in the working age population,” he said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “If labor force participation just remains constant and the labor force grows at the rate of the working age population, the current rate of job growth will continue to push down unemployment and underemployment. And if we maintain the current rate of growth—which I think is likely—the economy will be back to most estimates of full employment, including my own, by this time next year. I think the economy is quickly closing in on full employment now.”

Companies are hiring (there were 5 million job openings on the last business day of March). As more jobs are added, opportunities will present themselves for those who know how to take advantage of them.

For more insight on the pending accounting and finance talent shortage, your download your free copy of our Talent Shortage White Paper.

Accounting Principals keeps employers up-to-date on monthly employment and hiring trends, specific to the accounting and finance industry. To learn more about today’s changing economic landscape, and to discuss your 2015 hiring strategy, contact an Accounting Principals representative today.

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