Accountants Finding Job Openings and Candidates Don’t Quite Match Up

Small accounting firms and companies are beginning to feel The Perfect Labor Storm beating down on their businesses.  There is an acute shortage of accountants in a fast-growing industry.  The demand for employees is far outstripping the demand.  There are many reasons for the shortages which can be found at Finance & Commerce but none so succinctly stated as:

“I’m old school – I’m in my mid-50s – and when we left school firms expected 60-hour weeks and a lot of loyalty. This generation won’t accept that. They stay connected with their friends at other companies, and they’ll move if they don’t think they’re being treated well.”

The "attitudes" of younger workers is one of the most common comments (complaints?) that I hear DAILY from clients and prospects.  As I tell them, qualified workers are in a "buyer’s market."  They have what you want and if you don’t like it, you (as a manager or business owner) will have to figure out another strategy if you want to attract, hire and retain accountants going forward.

In addition to staff accountants, CFOs are in high demand.  One of the more significant trends regarding CFO is that salaries are going up and up and up….  For qualified CFOs, the numbers do add up big for them. One strategy I’ve seen taking place is that many smaller organizations are replacing CFO with Controller or Director of Finance. It’s the same job, different title hoping to be able to pay less. In many cases, I suspect that’s a good move – the title CFO was likely handed out as an ego-boost or as part of a re-organization.  In reality they organization was employing a staff accountant in a CFO’s suit.  In other cases, the CFO title may have been justified.  My advice – be careful in this high-tech world with giving and taking away titles to play with compensation.  You’ll get what you pay for!


Ira S Wolfe