The current business and regulatory climate has fueled so much demand for accountants across the board that it will make seasonal staffing during tax time more difficult than ever, according to industry observers."Demand is even higher than last year, with more needs and less people available," said John Grammer, CPA, regional managing director of Spherion's professional services division in New York. "Firms are calling up and wanting to increase our fees, hoping if they pay us more we'll send qualified people to them rather than somewhere else. But besides being unethical, even if you pay me double it won't make any difference as to how many qualified candidates I can get."

"It's definitely a candidate's market," agreed Neil Lebovits, president and chief executive of Saddle Brook, N.J.-based Ajilon Finance. "Without question, job candidates are in the driver's seat, and it's more so than last year."

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