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Detroit As Desperate For Accountants as It Is For Homeowners

We all know the job market is pretty darn fantastic if you've got an accounting degree, a remedial understanding of good hygiene, a button-up shirt or two and the social skills of a well-adjusted 7 year old. But in Detroit, the market is even hotter:

The competition to hire CPAs in metro Detroit has heated up, and accounting professionals are in enough demand that in some instances, salaries are rising and sign-on bonuses are possible.

Some accounting firms, including Plante Moran, pay referral bonuses to current staff of up to $5,000 to help lure a CPA, and others use senior managers to wine and dine top candidates, tour them around beautiful neighborhoods or take to sporting events.

The best new accounting graduates and experienced professionals both may expect multiple job offers — sometimes before they officially start to look for a new job.

Just like in other markets (we hear PwC was paying a $10,000 bounty for qualified senior referrals recently), seniors are in short supply:

The toughest jobs to fill, recruiters and accounting types say, are tax managers and experienced auditors, those with three to five or more years of experience. Staff accountants and financial analysts also are heavily recruited, Killingback added.

But the candidate's background and expertise need to match the opening, so someone with a banking background may not be chosen for an auto accounting job, she said.

Now "everybody wants a senior accountant. Even if you don't have an opening and you find a great senior accountant, they'll make room," said Ankton.

Unable to compete with large sign on bonuses of up to $15,000 from the bigger firms, smaller joints like the five office Yeo & Yeo are really shaking things up with an unheard of perk: overtime. "[W]e pay an overtime bonus for working overtime hours," said HR director Kymberly Hess.

So, if you've ever considered Detroit, now might be the time to start shopping around for a new gig. Pros: great job market, bonuses, low cost of living. Cons: it's Detroit. Trust me, you get used to those winters after a few years.