Landing the best accounting jobs takes work. And whether you're a recent graduate, between employers or looking for a different role in the middle of your career or beyond, you need to manage your time effectively with job search strategies that work.
There are no magic formulas to land the best accounting jobs, of course. But there are several ways to streamline the accounting job search process and get results. First, it helps to know if the role you're targeting is in demand, and what type of starting salary you might expect to earn, based on your skills, experience and the sector you're targeting for employment, such as corporate accounting or financial services.
Robert Half's latest Salary Guide offers key insights. Below are some of the in-demand roles listed in the guide and a brief description of typical job responsibilities for the position:
Controllers plan, direct and coordinate all accounting operational functions. Their duties include coordinating and preparing internal and external financial statements, providing management with information vital to decision-making, managing the budget process, evaluating accounting and internal control systems, and overseeing regulatory reporting.
Financial analysts prepare profit and loss models, balance sheets and other management reports, using Microsoft Excel to forecast financial outcome. They also perform budgeting variance and forecasting analyses for company management to use in business decision making.
Payroll specialists include payroll administrators, who must have strong technical skills, including proficiency with automated payroll processing services. These professionals also should possess excellent communication and problem-solving abilities. Typical duties for a payroll administrator include processing payroll, reconciling the payroll sub-ledger to the general ledger, remitting payroll taxes and governmental reporting, and preparing monthly, quarterly and year-end payroll statements.
Find out more about the payroll career path in this post.
Senior accountants have a wide range of responsibilities, including reconciling sub-ledger to general ledger account balances, preparing financial statements, and assessing internal controls, including risk assessments and reviews of risk areas. These professionals also perform monthly balance sheet and income statement analyses and assist in the design and preparation of budgets for review by management. They may also need to supervise accounting staff.
Staff accountants are typically responsible for reviewing general ledger accounts and preparing and adjusting journal entries. Their duties also often include performing account analysis and reconciliation, maintaining general ledger charts of accounts, assisting with initial internal control evaluations, and posting monthly, quarterly and yearly accruals.
The above list is just a sampling of accounting and finance roles that are currently in demand. See Robert Half's latest Salary Guide for more examples.
Now, what about finding the best accounting jobs? Here are five strategies for conducting your accounting job search:
1. Set career goals and be focused
Before you apply to the first open position that crosses your path, start by clearly defining your goals and mapping out your desired career path. It can help to ask yourself questions such as:
Where do I see myself in five years? In 10 years?
Which areas of accounting am I most passionate about, and how can I gain more expertise in those fields?
Do I want to work longer hours to get ahead quickly, or is work-life balance more important to me at this stage of my career?
Am I open to working remotely, either permanently or for the near term?
What sort of salary and benefits do I need or aspire to in my career?
2. Keep expanding your professional network
Professional networking online can help you connect with valuable contacts who can alert you to job opportunities, introduce you to employers or simply provide some solid career advice. Attend relevant virtual conferences and networking events so you can meet new people and keep expanding your network while also staying on top of industry and career trends.
Also, as part of your networking efforts for your accounting job search, review your social media accounts regularly to make sure they cast you in a favorable light. Always keep your profile information up to date, noting key accomplishments at your current and previous jobs. Your online profile can be just as important as your resume for putting your best foot forward with potential employers and catching the eye of hiring managers and recruiters.
3. Schedule your accounting job search tasks
Having a plan in place can help you stay organized in your search and makes for more effective time management. If you're already working full time, carve out an hour or two in the early morning, after work or on weekends to research companies.
Refresh the information on your resume with career milestone updates, but also consider whether a bigger revamp is needed. Whenever possible, strive to propel yourself toward your career goals, such as getting your CPA or keeping up with your continuing professional education (CPE) requirements, working toward a financial certification or college degree, and taking classes to become more proficient in industry-wide software like Excel and QuickBooks.
4. Work with a recruiter
Recruiters can offer valuable support and guidance during your accounting job search, whether you're looking for entry-level accounting jobs or management positions. Clients ranging from startups to large companies use recruiters to locate potential hires with in-demand skills and experience.
Specialized recruiters who work for a reputable talent solutions firm like Robert Half will invest the time to learn about you, your skills and your job preferences. That extra effort can go a long way toward helping you increase your chances of landing a job that aligns well with your abilities and career goals.
5. Consider working as a contract professional
A recruiter can also help you find contract jobs in accounting and finance that suit your background and career interests. These opportunities offer a way to hone your skills, gain more experience, establish vital connections and earn income all at the same time. And many employers are hiring contract professionals in accounting and finance right now, including for remote roles.
Besides giving you an inside look at various companies, working as a contract professional can provide you with insight into different kinds of accounting jobs. Contract assignments also allow you to get your foot in the door at a company and demonstrate your potential to an employer. That's why these jobs can be steppingstones to permanent roles.
Are you ready to take the next step to find the best accounting jobs?