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Accounting and Finance Professionals Like Their Job Prospects While the Rest of the Workforce Is Screwed

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

The Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index increased 0.6 points to 53.9 in the third quarter of 2010, according to a recent survey. The index is a measure of overall confidence among U.S. accounting and finance workers.

The survey indicates a decline in employee confidence in the economy and job market, while workers’ optimism in their own personal employment situations increased. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by The Mergis Group, the professional placement division of SFN Group, Inc.

Additional results from the Accounting & Finance Employment Report:

• Twenty-three percent of accounting and finance workers believe the economy is getting stronger, representing a 10 percentage point drop from the second quarter of 2010.

• More than half of accounting and finance workers (60 percent) believe there are fewer jobs available, up 10 percentage points from the previous quarter.

• Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of accounting and finance workers are confident in the future of their current employer, an increase of 11 percentage points from the second quarter of 2010.

• More accounting and finance workers are confident in their ability to find a new job, with 44 percent reporting confidence as compared to 36 percent the previous quarter.

“While our Accounting and Finance Confidence Index showed little movement in the third quarter, our latest report reveals significant fluctuations in workers’ viewpoints,” Brendan Courtney, president of The Mergis Group, said of the report’s findings.

“The report illustrates that workers’ confidence in the economy and job market have dimmed. Conversely, workers are now indicating greater confidence in the future of their current employers and in their ability to find a new job. Moreover, three in ten workers indicate that they are likely to make a job change in the next 12 months,” Courtney said.

“With 2011 right around the corner, employers are encouraged to make an extra effort by acknowledging employees who have weathered the economic turbulence with the company,” he said. “Employers who heed these statistics are less likely to be faced with an unhappy workforce that jumps ship at the first sign of a full economic recovery.”

Additional demographic and survey background information.

Accounting Jobs Get Stamp of Approval from CNN/Money Best Jobs in America Ranking

Good news for accountants of all stripes – CNN/Money reports that jobs you currently or could possibly hold down are some of the best in all the land!

The bad news is that, compared to last year, the number of accounting jobs in the Top 100 is considerably less. Jobs not making this year’s cut include: Senior Financial Analyst; Finance Director; Senior Internal Auditor; Senior Tax Accountant; Financial Analysis Manager; Financial Controller.

You could chalk this up to semantics (we don’t trust CNN o to anything accounting-related) but it’s entirely possible that there was an overwhelming outcry from people in those positions that are completely miserable.

But that’s neither her nor there. Let’s get to this year’s goods, shall we?

Top 100
9. CPA (#6 last year) – “Maintain financial records and analyze the numbers. Especially in this time of economic turmoil, CPAs are needed to make sense of increasingly complex financial transactions — from buyouts to businesses grappling with changing tax laws.” Also: Popular target for blamestorming and/or beatdowns, particularly by rich guys, faux-celebrity clients and washed-up athletes.

62. Tax Manager – “Participates in tax planning and research activities. Supervises accounting staff. Oversees tax returns and compliance for corporations, partnerships, trusts, and individuals.” In other words: makes sense of the enigma created by Congress.

69. Accounting Director– “Manages the accounting department’s daily activities. Collects and provides information for audit inquiries and gives assistance to auditors. Assists in the development and implementation of policies and procedures relating to financial management, budget and accounting.” Must have: High tolerability for answering lots of stupid questions.

78. Auditing Manager – “Determines financial status of establishments and prepares financial reports concerning operating procedures. Supervises staff and examines and analyzes accounting records.” Critical skill: Willingness to ask the same awkward questions over and over and over.

Median Pay
19. Accounting Director – $119,000

Top Pay
18. Accounting Director – $169,000

Job Security
6. Tax Manager (69.6% say their job is secure)

Future Growth
6. Tax Manager (89% say jobs like theirs will grow in the future)

As you might expect, none of the accounting jobs were anywhere to be found on the low stress, flexibility, satisfaction or benefit to society lists. Can’t have it all now, can you?

Best Jobs in America [CNN/Money]
Making Sense of Robert Half’s 2011 Salary Guide

Analyzing the Hiring Outlook for Accountants

Okay, so Roberto Half dropped their quarterly Financial Hiring Index and the message is that things are turning around for accounting and finance peeps looking for jobs out there. Their rationale? It’s the first net positive hiring outlook since the first quarter of 2009. Are we convinced that the ship is turning around? Hardly, dude. Let’s take a look at some of these details to see what’s is going on.

Good news: A net 1% (8% hiring, 7% firing) of CFOs surveyed plan to hire new employees in the last three months of the year. The fact that 84% of the CFOs surveyed don’t plan any hiring isn’t exactly thrilling but considering the last 2, wait 3 (going on 4?) years this, everyone is probably used to seeing even more dismal numbers.

Bad News: The hottest area of the country for hiring is the West South Central – defined as Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas. Bob tells us (via Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of RHI) that a net 6% of CFOs surveyed plan on hiring in Q4. This is due to the “Retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and oil and gas services companies in the region are rebuilding their teams,” sayeth Maximilian. Of course if you cut Texas out of the equation, that amounts to approximately 12 jobs total. If you include Texas, then it’s more like 112. If you were considering moving to TX, those 100 or so jobs will likely be taken by migrants from AR, LA and OK before Halloween.

What is actually promising is that net 5% of CFOs surveyed plan on hiring in the “Pacific” states – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington (IOW, California). Whether this actually pans out is another matter entirely.

Overall, only three out of nine regions in the survey have net positive results.

The other problem is that the industries that are doing most of the hiring are manufacturing and wholesale sectors. That means the outlook for all you people in financial (includes insurance and real estate), business/professional services and construction is still looking bleak.

So what can we take from all this? Basically that the only certainty at this point is that no one has any idea what’s going on.

CFOs Reveal Fourth-Quarter Hiring Expectations [Robert Half via FINS]

Job of the Day: Majestic Research Needs a Senior Financial Analyst

Thumbnail image for Need_a_job.jpgMajestic Research Corp. is looking for an experienced professional to fill a financial analyst role on their finance and operations team in New York.

Responsibilities include preparation of monthly reporting and tracking financial metrics.

Qualifications include 3 to 8 years experience as a financial analyst or a large accounting firm and highly proficient with Excel and Access. Experience with Great Plains is a plus.

Company: Majestic Research Corp.

Title: Senior Financial Analyst

Location: New York

Responsibilities: Prepare monthly reporting packages that enable the company to track financial and business metrics including revenue, bookings, salesperson productivity, and renewal rates; Lead budget process and monthly variance reporting; Responsible for sales bookings validation and database maintenance; Work with the accounting team to prepare GAAP-based monthly financial statements; Prepare cash flow, income statement, and balance sheet projections under various scenarios; Various ad hoc reporting and analysis for senior management.

Qualifications/Skills: Excellent accounting skills and understanding of how to prepare financial statements; Highly proficient with Microsoft Excel and strong knowledge of Microsoft Access; Ability to generate reports and pivot tables using Microsoft Excel. Ability to create and maintain reporting files and queries using Microsoft Access; Ability to interact with all levels of an organization; Experience with MS Great Plains is a large plus.

See the entire description over at the GC Career Center and visit the main page for all your job search needs.

Job of the Day: UCLA Needs a Strategic Planning Analyst

UCLA’s Office of Academic Planning & Budget is looking for a Senior Strategic Planning Analyst.

This person in this position will provide analysis and recommendations to the University’s Executive Budget Committee.

Qualifications include knowledge of corporate accounting standards, GAAP, GASB (including internal and external audit processes), Sarbanes Oxley, and budgeting concepts, as well as a working knowledge of strategic planning and budgeting.

Company: UCLA – Office of Academic Planning & Budget

Title: Senior Strategic Planning Analyst

Location: Los Angeles

Compensation: $66,900 – $120,200

Description: The Senior Strategic Planning Analyst will provide strategic support to senior campus decision-makers on issues relating to the campus planning and budgeting process. Analyst will also provide strategic analysis and recommendations to the Executive Budget Committee which support the resource allocation decision process for selected Vice Chancellors and Deans.

Responsibilities: Perform analytical studies of the application of actual or proposed budget policy; the interpretation, application and implementation of approved budget policy; and the effective use of campus resources; ensure adherence to budgetary policy, assessment of campus wide impact of actual or proposed operating budget policy, and the identification of when changes in policy are necessary. For selected Schools/Colleges and Administrative Units, serve as internal consultant, advising Vice Chancellors/Deans on application of UC and UCLA budgetary policy and practice to strategic planning and budgeting processes.

Qualifications/Skills: Working knowledge of strategic planning and budgeting. Ability to integrate complex operational and financial considerations while using critical thinking skills; Possesses an assured, professional approach in facilitating a wide range of programmatic and technical issues; Strong analytical skills to develop creative, creditable solutions and recommendations; Demonstrated skill in all facets of financial analysis, planning, administration, control and evaluation of a master budget with multiple fund sources; Knowledge of corporate accounting standards, GAAP, GASB (including internal and external audit processes), Sarbanes Oxley, and budgeting concepts; Demonstrated ability to coordinate, facilitate and chair meetings for the purpose of resolving differences and working toward institutional goals; Strong writing skills to produce effective reports, correspondence, and other documents suitable for signature by senior administration; Strong platform skills to make presentations to diverse academic and administrative groups at every organizational level; Demonstrated skills in using computer software to facilitate budgetary, programmatic and financial analysis; expert skills in MS Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access), MS Outlook, and SQL; Working knowledge of integrated financial systems and data warehouses, including budget input and reporting capabilities, Hyperion preferred.

See the entire description over at the GC Career Center and visit the main page for all your job search needs.

Job of the Day: Nemours Needs an Assistant Treasurer

Nemours is looking for an experienced accounting or finance professional to fill an Assistant Treasurer role in its Jacksonville, Florida location.

The position requires an MBA with three years experience and knowledge of accounting principles and financial analysis.

Company: Nemours

Title: Assistant Treasurer

Location: Jacksonville, FL

Description: This position is responsible for providing assistance with analysis and management of short- and intermediate-term investment pools. Additionally, will provide assistance with analysis and management of self-insurance, captive and risk retention group investment pools. Finally, this position will be responsible for ongoing monitoring and analysis of existing debt structure.

Responsibilities: Prepares analyses and provides reports on investment holdings and investment performance of Nemours short- and intermediate-term investment pools; Prepares analyses and provides reports on investment holdings and performance held by Nemours’ wholly-owned subsidiaries; Researches and coordinates new cash management products and procedures. Provides assistance in designing and implementing technical and process improvements to the organization’s cash management functions, including float optimization and maximization of portfolio earnings and acceleration of cash collections; Assists Managing Director of Finance/Treasurer with cash flow analysis to ensure optimal investment of funds. Ensures funds are available to meet the needs of all Nemours’ expenditures, including Payroll and Accounts Payable, while timing availability to maximize investment of unexpended cash.

Qualifications/Skills: MBA with an emphasis on Finance, along with three (3) to five (5) years of related experience; Excellent written and verbal skills; Knowledge of general accounting principles; Knowledge of financial analysis techniques and methods for assessing the operating effectiveness and financial condition of organizations.

See the entire description over at the GC Career Center and visit the main page for all your job search needs.

Job of the Day: Sterling Stamos Needs a Financial Analyst

Private investment firm Sterling Stamos needs an experienced professional to join its Finance team in their newly established Charlotte, North Carolina office.

Candidates should have a minimum of three years experience with a CPA preferred but not required.

Company: Sterling Stamos

Title: Analyst, Finance

Location: Charlotte, NC

Description: This position will perform a range of portfolio management and monitoring duties to ensure client deliverables are met and investment portfolio risk is mitigated.

Responsibilities: Input and analyze private equity fund and portfolio company finance data into models that drive valuation and other quantitative analysis. Perform a broad and complex range of private equity fund and portfolio level analysis, modeling and reporting. Must demonstrate a strong knowledge of finance, accounting and private equity practices and be able to independently analyze and interpret financial statements

Qualifications/Skills: B.A./B.S. degree in Accounting, Finance, or related discipline; Minimum 3 years relevant work experience; CPA preferred but not required; Experience supporting a transaction-based or portfolio monitoring business within the financial services industry.

See the entire description over at the GC Career Center and visit the main page for all your job search needs.

Job of the Day: Deutsche Bank Needs a Finance Manager

Deutsche Bank is looking for someone to join its Finance Division as a Finance Manager of Global Banking. Responsibilities will include stakeholder management, business solutions, validation and control.

Candidates need a minimum of seven years experience with background that is familiar with both U.S. GAAP and IFRS.

Company: Deutsche Bank

Title: Finance Manager – Global Banking

Location: New York, NY

Responsibilities: Stakeholder Management – the establishment of stakeholder priorities and the development of open communication and feedback with them. Prioritizing business requirements given the resources available; Business Solutions – providing innovative solutions to business requirements, reviewing new structures and business opportunities. You will also challenge new product initiatives to ensure that business assumptions are accurate; Validation & Control – reviewing offshore produced profit and loss (P&L) and risk data produced by service centers. Monitoring key performance indicator performance and developing a thorough understanding of the products and business drivers. This includes P&L, Balance sheet and risk weighted asset analysis; Acting as the contact point to advise on local generally accepted accounting practice and regulatory requirements; Continuing to develop and enhance the relationship and business knowledge of the Professional service centre in Mumbai and to ensure proper accounting is followed especially by the offshore production teams; Move existing onshore finance production to the PSC

Qualifications/Skills: Accounting or Finance background (IFRS and US GAAP); Relevant product knowledge-Securities Lending, Trust And Securities Services (Custody, Hedge Fund administration, Corporate Trust-Structured Financial Services, Global Debt Services); Strong Excel, Essbase and PowerPoint skills are required; 7-12 years of experienced desired.

See the entire description over at the GC Career Center and visit the main page for all your job search needs.

Job of the Day: VP, Finance Activities Credit Review & Audit at BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas is looking for someone to join their North America Audit Group as a VP for Finance Activities Credit Review & Audit.

An ideal candidate will have a blend of both credit review and audit experience.

The position requires a minimum of five years experience, MBA, CPA or CFA is required and French language skills are a plus. Some travel is required to offices in San Francisco, Chicago, and Dallas/Houston.

Get more details on the position, located in New York, after the jump.

Company: BNP Paribas

Title: VP, Finance Activities Credit Review & Audit

Location: New York

Experience Required: 5 – 10 years

Description: BNP Paribas is seeking a candidate for a VP position in its North America Audit Group as a member of the credit review team to perform credit reviews and traditional audit aspects of these reviews.

Responsibilities: responsible for the audit and credit review coverage of all banking groups and related support areas including: Corporate Banking, Energy & Commodities, Media & Telecom, Merchant Banking, Asset Securitization, Security Industry, Portfolio Management and Risk Management.

Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance; MBA, CPA (or equivalent), or CFA required; 5 – 10 years financial services work experience; Credit analysis skills with a solid understanding of the credit process and controls; French language skills a plus but not required

See the entire description over at the GC Career Center and visit the main page for all your job search needs.

The Job Outlook Is Good for Accountants…But More Competitive

With one major deadline passed and two more coming up next week, some of you might be thinking about your employment options. It’s a common occurrence post-busy season to reflect on the past three-ish months, contact a recruiter and explore your options.

idea of what kinds of jobs might be attracting accountants in the year ahead so we got in touch with recruiter Adam Klitzke, Managing Partner of Emerson Search, LLC in Denver, Colorado.

Adam told us that he thinks that “2010 and…2011 are years where there is a “hot” background or skill set,” as opposed to a hot position (e.g. financial reporting, IFRS, or technical accounting). “[D]uring the previous 3 months, we haven’t seen the same job come up twice, but we have seen clients targeting the same type of candidate.“

So what does a hot “background or skill set” look like? Adam shared four primary characteristics that recruiters are currently looking for:

• 4-7 years of experience, the majority of which has been spent at a Big 4 firm.

• Experience with clients that comply with SEC regulation.

• Has experience supervising staff.

• Has obtained their CPA license.

“These candidates are not having any trouble landing interviews,” Adam told us. He added that in terms of your competition, there are far more bodies jockeying for a position, “in the current market we are seeing 5-10 candidates like this [with the ideal skill set] competing for the same job, whereas 3 years ago, a client would be lucky to see 2 candidates with this background.”

What if you don’t have the ideal skill set? Don’t worry, it’s not hopeless, “a second tier would look like someone with non-Big 4 public accounting experience coupled with industry experience (with a mid to large size public company – $200M+), supervisory experience, and a CPA license or an MBA,” Adam said.

Naturally, if your current background is lacking in these , it will be more difficult for a recruiter to help you land some interviews. Adam told us that while there are jobs out there for people with backgrounds that don’t fit the model above, those candidates typically find jobs without the services of a recruiter. If you’ve got bigger plans for yourself than that, it will be worth your time to pursue some or all of the points above.

The good news for those of you looking to make a move now is that you can expect to do well in terms of salary. As Adam told us, “Salary negotiations will be firm, but fair. Candidates will be able to negotiate an increase in pay and do NOT need to take a pay cut.”

Finally, another development he has seen has to do with the morale, “employee morale seems to be quite low and neither department heads or human resources are doing anything to combat that.” So, if you’re meeting with a recruiter it pays to be honest why your old employer didn’t give make you feel so good about yourself, “clients have asked us for ideas on how to improve morale and we have been able to help them as there are things a company can do other than increase salary to improve [that].”

Bottom line is that whatever your situation, it pays to be honest with recruiters about exactly what you are looking for. If you don’t like what you’re hearing from them, be honest and don’t settle for a position that you’re definitely not interested in pursuing. It may be a more competitive market but if you’ve got a strong background, you’ll have options.