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Discussions with Dan-State of the Market

Dan, let’s start with the usual question: how’s the market?

While the Accounting Industry usually sidesteps economic dips, the Great Recession did not leave the accounting profession unscathed. While unemployment rose to over 10% nationally (maxing at 10.8% in Georgia in February, 2010), accountants fared a bit better. According to our data the Accounting / Finance market topped out with a 6% unemployment rate.
Two areas have been hit especially hard:
  1. Entry level accountants – it has been a tough few years for grads with little to no accounting experience. With the sliding economy, many companies either froze hiring initiatives or went through layoffs. This produced extreme competition and allowed companies to hire experienced talent at the same cost as an unproven accountant. The result is a lot of highly qualified waiters and waitresses living at home and trying to stay positive.
  2.  Accounting / Finance Executives – The turmoil of the economy resulted in an extremely cautious business environment. Business owners, Presidents and CEOs became risk adverse, resisting any temptation to change out C - level talent – fearful of the impact of any more disruption.
This cautious hiring market can be seen most dramatically by observing our internal statistics for Controller searches. In 2009 requests for Controller searches were down from previous years by 23%. The good news is that right now we are 53% ahead of last year. This is an optimistic sign for the accounting hiring market.
In a nutshell, the economy is improving very slowly. You can see this trend in the accounting / finance hiring market. Companies see continued improvement in the stock market to indicate the end of the economic doldrums. If this could combine with decrease in unemployment, you’d see hiring at record rates versus the slow and steady we’ve come to grow used to over the past several years.
What are the hot industries?
Hot industries include technology, the service industry, and some areas of manufacturing.

Have you seen any creative applications of your services?

Many companies cut too deeply during the recession. These organizations are finding themselves incapable of effectively competing because of a lack of quality staff. We have helped several of these companies utilize contractors to quickly augment their team. The solution we have found most effective is to find an over-qualified contractor that will commit for a set period of time – allowing the company to right itself from the deep cut, and allowing the temporary employee to attempt to position him or herself for a permanent position.

The other creative application of our services comes from our sister company – The Waters Organization. They are currently working on a multi-year large scale staffing project with Gwinnett County, as well as several other smaller scale staffing projects. By turning over staffing to Waters, companies are able to focus on their core areas of expertise and saving a great deal of money on payroll costs.

Melanie Davis and Holly Monaghan do an excellent job running The Waters Organization. By the end of the summer we expect them to turn in their paperwork to become a Woman Owned Business. Waters focuses on clerical accounting and office professionals. They offer staffing as well as permanent placement solutions.

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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