It's a pretty good time to be a young accountant. The profession offers more opportunities than ever before, with a growing range of interesting practice areas to work in and an entire country's worth of firms to choose from. Demographics are on your side: Demand for accounting services is skyrocketing at exactly the same time as a huge number of older accountants are retiring. Old, time-encrusted models that involved ridiculous amounts of work are crumbling away, and in many ways you can set your own workstyle.
At the same time, I'd like to suggest that it's a pretty good time to be hiring young accountants.
Don't get me wrong: It's also a really, really hard time to be hiring young accountants -- they're in high demand, after all, and everyone knows that there's a drought of qualified staff. But that doesn't mean you can't find them; you just have to try harder.
Fortunately, trying harder has never been easier. Remember those old, time-encrusted models? They're crumbling everywhere. For instance, the old model only allowed the Big Four to recruit nationally, but LinkedIn, Monster and recruiting platforms like AccountingFly have killed that, giving firms of all sizes access to a truly global pool of candidates, and the tools to exploit it. It is easier than ever before to get your firm in front of the dwindling number of qualified employees, whether it's with a cooperative internship program with a number of small firms, or by Skype.
And while the passing of the old model of staying at the same job for years has made it difficult to retain staff, it also gives you more opportunities to hire great people. Think about it: Twenty years ago, you'd only get one chance to recruit a rock star -- maybe two, if for some reason they didn't make partner at a big firm, but stayed in public accounting, instead of going the usual route into industry. These days, if you can't seal the deal with a high-potential graduate, just wait two years until they decide to try a new job - and two years after that -- and two years after that ... .
So it's easier to meet these great people, and Darren Root's article in our October issue goes into more detail on why this is part of "the Great American Accounting Opportunity" -- but he also makes the point that firms will need to change to take advantage of it. You'll need to step up your game when it comes to recruiting staff, getting into social media, learning how to market and promote yourself in the 21st century, embracing technology, and updating your service lines. You'll need to meet the expectations of those young accountants in terms of flexibility, exciting work, responsibility, mentoring, social engagement and pay.
So yes -- it's a hard time to be hiring young accountants. But that said, there's never been a better time for it, either.
Since we're talking about hiring highly qualified staff, this might be a good time to mention that we've done just that, and to introduce you to Sean McCabe, our newest editor, who has joined us to lead Accounting Tomorrow and our practice management section. He comes to us from gigs at Rolling Stone, Dig Boston and Access Staffing, so he knows a little something about rock stars and staffing, and we think he'll be a great addition to our team.
Along the same lines, we'd like to make official senior editor Danielle Lee's transition to editor-in-chief of Accounting Technology. For several years Danielle has been the driving force behind Accounting Tomorrow, and for the past few months she's been pulling double-duty, handling both her old beat and technology for us. With Sean's arrival she'll be able to focus full-time on her new role, and we're confident she'll bring the same deep understanding, journalistic savvy and boundless enthusiasm to the job -- so, welcome to Sean, and congratulations to Danielle!
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