Hiring in public accounting has been slow to rebound. Firms appear to be waiting for demand for their services to pick up before significantly increasing headcount.
Although clients continue to have a need for tax and audit work, the business slowdown has softened demand for other accounting and consulting services. This also has made client service and retention even higher priorities for accounting firms.
The hiring that is occurring is in response to pressing needs and mostly concentrated in tax and audit. New accounting standards have introduced additional complexities in tax laws and financial statement disclosure requirements, ensuring steady demand for tax accountants. Managerial–level professionals with expertise in tax or audit are among the most sought–after candidates. In addition, firms are beginning to restore some staff positions cut during the downturn.
Compensation in public accounting is expected to see moderate gains in the year ahead. The elimination of salary freezes and reinstitution of cost–of–living increases by many firms can be viewed as hopeful signs, as well.