When a editorial post opens up at Accounting Today, I work closely with our Human Resources department, post the job on the appropriate free Web sites or in local papers, and, considering the job market in publishing these days, proceed to get enough resumes to stock a landfill.

For the most part, the applicants are qualified — in fact often overqualified — with the rare exception of attempts at a career change that have ranged from athletic shoe salesmen to builders of swimming pools.

In the interest of full disclosure, however, I must admit that poring over the past employment histories of job hopefuls and subsequently interviewing them is about the last favorite part of my job. But unless I want to put the publication out by myself, it must be done.

So part of me can really commiserate with the employment situation over at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Basically, they need help – and lots of it. Particularly in the accounting arena.

Congress did its part by providing additional monies to beef up staffing levels at the regulator levels, which over the past several years, more closely resemble California reservoirs.

The agency needs roughly 250 accountants and, to help out, retained recruiter Korn/Ferry International (and believe me, that must be some “retainer”) to help it reach “par” with regard to manpower, or rather auditor power.

SEC chief accountant Donald Nicolaisen said last week that the regulator won’t boast a full staff of accountants until the mid-point of 2004, with many of the initial wave of new hires earmarked for the Division of Corporate Finance.

“It’s tough,” he told a group of accountants just last week.

The nation’s top accountant admitted the SEC doesn’t have the in-house personnel to look over the flood of resumes that have descended upon its offices.

Couple that with the fact that its cross-town regulatory colleague, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, pays a whole lot more.

But on the flip side, it’s not like the agency didn’t know this current HR crisis was in the offing.

Plans to bolster the SEC staff were unveiled back in February amidst the news that the agency would receive more than $841 million under the 2004 federal budget — roughly a 92-percent jump from the regulator’s 2002 levels.

To me that would have set off more than a few bells to get ready to receive a whole lot of oversized business envelopes and crafty cover letters.

Or they could have saved a lot of money and recruited on monster.com — eschewing the occasional job query from a salesman or builder mired in a mid-life crisis.

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