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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.

Sign up to receive future Jobs Reports

You’ll get instant updates and analysis on the latest workforce and hiring trends impacting the accounting and finance industry.


Accounting and Finance Jobs Report: May 2015

April brought 223,000 new jobs to the economy while the unemployment rate remains at 5.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Jobs market trends incrementally upward

Professional and business services increased with 62,000 jobs in April. Over the previous 3 months, job gains averaged 35,000 each month. After very little change in March,  services to buildings and dwellings added 16,000 jobs in April. Employment continued to trend up in April in computer systems design with a gain of 9,000, and an increase of 7,000 and 6,000  in business support services and in management and technical consulting services respectively.

The average workweek for employees on private, non-farm payrolls stayed steady in April at 34.5 hours.The average workweek for non-supervisory and production employees was stable at 33.7 hours, and for employees in manufacturing the workweek edged decreased to 40.8 hours. Factory overtime also decreased to 3.2 hours.

The average hourly earnings, however, increased marginally by 3 cents to $24.87; over the past year, average hourly earnings rose by 2.2%. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees also rose slightly, by 2 cents.

Predicted growth in accounting jobs

According to BLS projections, 166,700 new jobs will open up in accounting and auditing by 2022. This is approximately a job growth of 13.1 percent, which is a similar to the average pace for all professions.

Over the last 3 months, job gains have averaged about 191,000 each month.The BLS did make some revisions, however. The change in non-farm payroll employment in March was revised from an increase of 126,000 to 85,000, and from an increase of 264,000 to  266,000 in February. Taking into account these revisions, combined employment in March and February were actually 39,000 less than reported previously.


Click To Tweet Tweet This: April brought 223K news jobs, and unemployment rate remains at 5.4%. Read more on the @acctprincipals blog:

For more insight on the salary predictions for 2015, request your free copy of the 2015 Accounting Principals Salary Guide. 

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.


Sign up to receive future Jobs Reports

You’ll get instant updates and analysis on the latest workforce and hiring trends impacting the accounting and finance industry.


Things Recruiters Don’t Tell You… But I Will

interview wait

As I set out to write this, I thought about what would be helpful for job seekers. I thought about all the typical things you’re told when looking for a job. Then, I decided you could get that information anywhere. You need the information you don’t find everywhere—or even get when we meet you. So here we go; this is part one in the series “Things Recruiters Don’t Tell You… But I Will.”

Note: This is specifically tailored to accounting and finance jobs, since that is my area of expertise. However, if your experience is outside of this area, you can still benefit from the tips.

Part One: Change Your Resume



Maximizing your resume means different things to different people. By now, you know that you should edit your resume for each position for which you apply. If you didn’t know that, then yay—we are just one paragraph in, and this has already helped you! Let’s get started with five top resume tips.

1) Use a resume outline.

When we review your resume and work history, we want to know three main things: company name, job title, dates worked. Following that, we want to know about your daily job duties via bullet points. Next, tell us some accomplishments at each position. The layout of the resume is up to you, but be sure to include these things. And do not put the job titles in a row with a summary of all the things you did at the bottom. Each job is different, even if your title was the same… especially across different companies.

2) Include all relevant education.

Most companies have educational requirements associated with each job. For us to consider you for certain jobs, your educational background must fit. Make sure all education completed is on your resume. If you have an advanced degree, you do not necessarily need to include your high school. If you do not have an advanced degree, you should always include your high school. Also, If you have some college classes but did not complete a degree, be sure to include that. Sometimes, companies are open to candidates with some college, even if the degree is not complete.

Click To Tweet Tweet This: What are things recruiters might not be telling you when job hunting? Read @acctprincipals’s blog to find out:

3) Emphasize your software skills.

I cannot stress enough how imperative it is to list all of the software programs you have used. In fact, this might be the most important point in this entire article. When we are assisting a company with a search, they always tell us the software they work with and whether or not experience is required (90% of the time, it is). If you have the software experience that I’m seeking, I will call you EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Even if the skills match is slightly off, I will still call you and chat, because the client may be willing to train you for skills that you lack. For example, maybe they are going through a transition, and no one in the company knows the new software. Even if you have utilized Great Plains in the AR module, but they need it in the AP module, you can help them!

4) Contact Information

This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how often it’s an issue – be sure to include accurate contact information. This includes name, address, email and phone number. If you list more than one phone number, be sure to specify which is your home phone and which is your cell phone. If your phone number or email does not work when I call or email, that is a deal breaker. Communication is crucial, and if the contact information is not accurate from the start, it’s not a good sign.

5) Aim for 100% accuracy and zero errors.

Double and triple check for grammar errors, spelling errors and typos… and then have a friend check. If you submit a sloppy resume, the chances of it being considered are super slim. If something slips by, and your resume with errors gets submitted to a client, you will almost never be considered. The explanation for this is that almost every job requires a certain level of attention to detail, and this immediately shows a lack of attention to detail. It also alludes that the applicant doesn’t care enough to double check.

Hopefully this insight will be the first step in helping you work successfully with a recruiter. A proper resume is vital to your chances of connecting with us—and a terrific new accounting or finance job.

Be sure to check our blog soon for part two of this series, as we’ll look beyond resumes.

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


Accounting and Finance Jobs Report: April 2015

March brought 126,000 new jobs to the economy while the unemployment rate remains at 5.5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


April Job Report

Hiring numbers are low despite a high demand for talent

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 126,000 in March compared to gains averaging 269,000 over the prior 12 months. Job openings increased 168,000 but the hiring rate remains steady. Employers seem to be having a hard time matching their needs to the available talent.

The employment change for February revised down from +295,000 to +264,000, and the change for January revised down from +239,000 to +201,000. Incorporating revisions, employment has increased by an average 197,000 per month over the past 3 months. Average hourly earnings for all employees increased by 7 cents in March. Hourly earnings are up 2.1 percent over the year. Last month, average weekly hours edged down 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours.

The Labor Department states that layoffs decreased 7.6 percent to 1.6 million, the lowest level in 16 months. This can mean a high degree of job security for those Americans who are employed.

Professional and business services sector

Last month’s biggest employment boost came in professional and business services, covering everything from accounting and scientific research to computer systems design. That sector added 40,000 jobs. Job growth in the first quarter of 2015 averaged 34,000 per month in this industry, below the average monthly gain of 59,000 in 2014. Within professional and business services, employment continued to trend up in architectural and engineering services (+4,000), computer systems design and related services (+4,000), and management and technical consulting services (+4,000).

Unemployment in the financial activities sector dropped to 2.6 % for the month of March, down from 3.1 % as reported the month prior.

Click To Tweet Tweet This: March brought us 126,000 new #jobs. Unemployment rates remained at 5.5%. Read more on the @acctprincipals blog:

Will wages continue to increase due to hiring demands not being met?

Some economists say employers aren’t offering enough pay to fill their available jobs. Rising openings could force businesses to offer higher wages. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent in March, a sign wages may be perking up. But they’re still just 2.1 percent higher than a year ago.

Jodi Chavez, senior vice president for the West Coast division of Accounting Principals, believes wages will finally see an increase. “Over the last six months we’ve seen increases in salaries to the point where we are losing candidates to other offers,” she said. “One out of three employers are now willing to increase salaries above what was initially offered if the right candidate comes along. Wage increases will continue this year because there continues to be a shortage of skilled labor and that will drive up salaries.”

For more insight on the salary predictions for 2015, request your free copy of the 2015 Accounting Principals Salary Guide. 

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.


Sign up to receive future Jobs Reports

You’ll get instant updates and analysis on the latest workforce and hiring trends impacting the accounting and finance industry.


Job Search Tips to Stand Out from Other Accounting and Finance Candidates

professional-job-search-tips-header (2)

Now is a good time to stretch out your hand for that brass ring. On Dr. John Sullivan, a well-known professor of management at San Francisco State University, recently wrote that  “83 percent of recruiters report that the power has shifted away from where it has been for years, the employer, and toward the candidate.” Now, according to Sullivan, companies must respond to a situation where “top candidates are in the driver’s seat” and “the best have multiple options.”

Social Media

To take full advantage of this situation, start by sprucing up your social media presence. Experts continue to debate whether employers should be checking out prospective job candidates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. But assume that at least some are checking out those sites and edit your photos and comments accordingly.

Companies in hiring mode definitely are checking out LinkedIn, so having a professional, up-to-date LinkedIn profile is crucial.



The thought of networking tends to make even the most confident job candidate nervous. Don’t think of networking as pushing yourself forward and pleading for a job. Instead, look at networking as an opportunity to learn more about your field and to meet some of its influential leaders.

One of the best ways to network is to join, and become active in, a professional association. It’s a good way to raise your profile and have a presence where recruiters scout for talent.

Consider these professional associations:

In the course of your networking, you may find that you want to set up an informational meeting with a leader or recruiter to learn more about a particular career path or company. Go prepared with questions, behave in a professional manner, keep the meeting short and follow up with a thank you note. And no bait and switch—don’t try to turn an informational interview into a job interview.

Resume & Cover Letter

When opportunity knocks, be ready with an updated resume that highlights your ability to think analytically and solve problems in a structured, methodical way.


Tailor your resume to each position by:

  • Focusing on skills that apply to your industry, and more importantly, to the position for which you’re applying.
  • Mentioning any programs, software or tools that are prevalent in your industry, to show that you keep up with the latest technology.
  • Using data and stats to show the effectiveness of your work at your current and previous jobs.

To get past the robot parsing your resume, make sure the resume contains some of the key words that are outlined in the job description. And don’t just use the key words, but also terms that relate closely to those words. For example, don’t just use the term CPA, but also accounting, audits, financial statements, etc.

Your cover letter should be short (less than a page) and forceful. Start with a statement that makes it immediately clear why you want this job and why you’re the right person for it.

The Interview Process

Prepare for the job interview by thoroughly researching the company. Be ready for a preliminary telephone screening, with a standard list of questions, which is often used to weed out candidates.

Be on time. Dress appropriately. These are obvious tips, but you’d be surprised by how many candidates show up and become memorable in the wrong way—for being late or for wearing inappropriate attire.

Job seekers in some industries can get away with business casual, but in accounting and finance, good judgment means conservative attire. Men should wear a dark suit, dress shirt, tie, coordinating socks and dress shoes. Women should wear a simple suit with a skirt or pants, a conservative blouse with the suit, and understated make-up, accessories and nail polish.

Prepare thoroughly for interview questions. Role-play so that you’re ready with well-thought-out answers about your education, work experience and other qualifications.



With structured or patterning interviewing, you will be asked a standard list of questions that are asked of all applicants. The goal is to produce uniformity of data from one interview to the next and to make sure that no key questions are forgotten. Don’t be trapped by the format. Whatever the standard questions, diplomatically use them to work in the points you want to make about your qualifications.


Behavioral interviewing calls on you to back up your words with examples. With this type of interviewing “a person is asked to accurately describe real situations they have encountered and what they did to resolve the issue or problem,” says Lester Rosen, author of The Safe Hiring Manual. This method is based on the idea that “the most accurate predictor of how a candidate will perform on the future is how he or she performed in the past in a similar situation.”


To prepare for this type of questioning, use what’s known as the “STAR” method. That’s a structured response to a question in which you discuss a specific Situation, Task or Action, and the Result that you produced. Use this method to tell stories that illustrate your major achievements and ways that you have excelled. You don’t have to limit yourself to workplace stories.


In situational interviewing, you are asked to imagine a set of circumstances and explain how you would respond to that situation. In this case, the questions are future oriented, not past oriented. One reason interviewers like this approach is that it requires all interviewees to respond to the same hypothetical situation rather than describe their various past experiences.

Some companies prefer the panel interview approach, with representatives from various areas of the business. If you find yourself facing down a panel try to relax and interact with each member.

During your interview, make sure you ask questions, as well as answer them. Asking well-researched questions demonstrates your interest in the company and position. Plus, you want to find out if this is a place where you really fit the culture and want to work.

Follow up

After the interview, be sure to send a thank you email or letter. It’s not only the polite thing to do, but it gives you the opportunity to restate why you would be a good fit for the organization. Close your message by stating that you look forward to the next step. If you took the proper steps along the way, chances are strong that you stood out from the crowd and will take another step forward.

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



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