Lateral hiring of partners and leaders by accounting firms from competing accounting firms is on the rise, according to a new study.

The study, by the Koltin Consulting Group, found that firms are increasingly spending money on recruiting “heavyweight” partners from other firms in order to accelerate growth.

The most lateral partner hires were made in the regions that represent the largest populations of Top 100 firms. Lateral hires in seven states in particular represented 60 percent of the total amount of lateral hires.

Tax partners in particular are highly sought after by many firms. Accounting firms are not able to find enough highly qualified tax talent, which is a reversal from the situation several years ago when there was a surge in hiring for experienced auditors as a result of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

“Gone are the days of the generalist, with the majority of laterals being sought out for their industry and/or subject matter expertise,” said the report.

The study includes charts and infographics showing lateral hires by region, service line, level, gender, industry expertise, technical expertise and firm size. To download a free copy of the report, click here.