Accountants are in demand in the U.S., whether that's in financial services or the public and corporate sectors, and most companies are having to dig deep to get the right people on board.
In fact, more than half of CFOs surveyed by recruitment firm Robert Half said that they would be offering pay increases to candidates this year.
“That’s not surprising given the competitive nature for top talent in the marketplace today, whether they are financial services firms or not,” said Douglas Rickart, vice president and senior recruiting manager at Robert Half. “In order to attract good quality talent, they have to put a good quality offer on the table, and they have to do it relatively quickly.”
Particular technical skills help to set accounting professionals apart from the competition. Companies are looking to hire candidates with backgrounds in audit, internal controls and reporting, external reporting, policies and procedures, tax and general accounting, Rickart said.
Investment banking firms with expanding businesses are hiring more accountants, according to Robert Half. As well as salary increases, financial services organisations are offering sign-on bonuses to new hires. Employers have responded by increasing compensation for their existing staff in many cases.
Investment banks are grappling with a huge increase in regulatory reporting requirements, and demand is centred here as a result, says Simon Lewis, the founder of Simon Lewis Associates and former managing director and head of the banking & financial services practice at recruitment firm Michael Page.
“Today, every major bank is required to manage the capital and liquidity like never before,” Lewis said. “Given that there is no alternative to compliance around these new regulations, banks have no choice but to pay a premium for talent that will allow them to ensure all new reporting standards are met.”
There is still a very high demand for strong technical accountants and accounting policy professionals across the industry – particularly in the current market as many firms look to grow or consolidate via M&A deals rather than organically due to high regulatory costs, Lewis said.
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