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State of the Market

Dan, let’s start with the usual question: how’s the market?
In 2009 our Direct Hire (perm) numbers are higher than they were in 2008 – yes, you read that correctly. Companies have been utilizing Accountants One and The Waters Organization in order to find the “perfect” candidate to fit their business equation. While these recruiting efforts have been more exacting and timely than ever before, they have remained a bright (albeit surprising) spot in our business landscape.

In fact, over the year we have done 2 of the biggest deals of our 36 year history. These deals took months of recruiting, and in both cases the candidate’s experience covered each and every element on the job description. You can see why a market like this is so tough on the candidate pool – the perception is that unless you match every specification, you don’t warrant an interview.

Certainly, this is a buyers market. Companies are able to leverage these times in their hiring decisions. The available candidate pool allows a hiring team to match industry, education, job skill, etc. There are benefits to this type of market, but in some cases I think that it removes an element of creativity from the hire. Too much caution in the hiring mix can lead to a work force that lacks a creative spark.

Unlike Direct Hire, the Contract side of our business was affected by this “great recession.” During my tenure at Accountants One I have never witnessed such a decline in staffing needs. My research indicates that this decline is the result of two main factors: 1) the cost and difficulty of attaining money, and 2) middle level managers willing to take on the work of their laid-off staff in order to avoid being replaced.

Any recent improvements?
Absolutely. We are seeing slow and steady improvements in our contract numbers – a fact that I am happy for from both a company standpoint as well as an economic indicator. The past three months show ever improving numbers. Direct Hire needs have become more frequent and even a bit less demanding.

What are the hot industries?
Hot industries include insurance, low cost service (fast food and retail) and some areas of technology. Interestingly, we are also seeing some strength in manufacturing. We believe this is due to lower American wage expectations in conjunction with rising costs around the globe.

Have you seen any creative applications of your services?
Yes, the new trend is the part-time CFO. Companies who have cut back too far or who need to upgrade their accounting / finance department have taken this opportunity to bring in exceptional talent at prices that I’ve never seen in my 11 years of staffing and recruiting. For example, one of our clients needed to upgrade their financials because of an impending merger. We were able to bring in a part-time CFO to complete the due diligence. This CFO is a CPA with an impeccable track record, and he did an exceptional job.

The Waters Organization is your sister company, specializing in office professionals, what trends have you seen there?
Before I get into trends, I have to let you know how excited I am about the directions of Waters. Over the summer we sold this affiliate to Melanie Davis and Holly Monaghan – both long-term employees of Accountants One. Not only are we excited about the direction that Melanie and Holly are taking Waters, but further, we are excited about the potential of serving customers as a Woman Owned Business. Waters focuses on clerical accounting and office professionals. They offer staffing as well as permanent placement solutions.

Stay tuned to see what this dynamic duo will be able to accomplish.

So, do you have any advice about hiring in this market?
Absolutely – formulate your hiring strategy in this market. If you can hire – start the process right now. If you can’t hire right now, spend time and energy formulating your plan so that when the market starts to uptick, you are ready.

As always, I welcome any comments at dan@accountantsone.com

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