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Rick Telberg

Hot Growth Fuels CPA Hiring Outlook

Accounting staff rosters surge with demand. How does your turnover rate compare? Join the survey; get the answers.

October 22, 2007
by Rick Telberg/At Large

Thanks to a surge in new-business formations, shifting financial laws and regulations and increased demand for assurance services, CPA firms and finance departments appear to be beefing up their staff rosters.

More than half of the CPAs in our reader survey say their workplaces will be expanding staff levels over the next 12 months. The leading reason why: growth.

Although some 55 percent expect growth, another 40 percent of respondents say their staffing levels are expected to remain the same and only about five percent forecast a decrease in the number of employees.

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The findings are in line with figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor, which state that the employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow faster than average — an increase of 18 percent to 26 percent — through 2014.

“The market seems to be picking up, thus driving the need for additional employees,” said Kathy L. Copp, who works at a local firm in Warner Robins, Ga.

Ali Kakhsaz, with a local Woodland Hills, Calif.-based firm, said the firm is looking to increase its staffing levels because of “new clients and expanded services to existing clients.”

Mergers and acquisitions within the industry are also likely to spur growth in payroll for some firms, like the one where Susan Rivington works. Rivington, who works at an Ontario, Canada-based firm that has 10 or fewer employees, says the company is expecting an increase within the next 12 months due to the “potential acquisition of another practice.”

For those firms that are expecting a decrease in staffing levels, budget constraints and difficulty in hiring committed employees are the leading explanations.

It is possible that those firms that do not plan on changing their staffing levels within the next year have had a difficult time hiring and retaining committed employees or they have been able to take advantage of technology to help them do more with less.

Still, many firms are shifting — or are hoping to shift — into hiring gear for the coming year. This undoubtedly spells great opportunities for those professionals looking to change firms or positions, and it also means there are vast opportunities for young professionals entering the workforce.

Some may say that there’s been no better time to work in the accounting profession. It’s true that everyone seems to be busier than ever, but there’s no denying that the opportunities for professional growth seem almost limitless.

YOUR TURN: How does your turnover rate compare? Join the survey; get the answers.

COMMENTS: Questions, rants or raves? Write Rick Telberg.

Copyright © 2007 Bay Street Group LLC. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

About Rick Telberg

Rick Telberg is editor at large/director of online content.

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Disclaimer: Any views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the AICPA or CPA2Biz. Official AICPA positions are determined through certain specific committee procedures, due process and deliberation.