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Suggestions for a More Effective Accounting or Finance Job Search in 2020

Suggestions for a More Effective Accounting or Finance Job Search in 2020

If you’re looking to land a new opportunity this year, here are a few recommendations to augment your job search.

By this time in the year, most companies have their updated budgets and are hiring for new positions. If you’re in the market for a new opportunity, that’s excellent to hear, right?

Even though the 2020 job market is in your favor, our professional team of experts wants to share a few extra tips to help you land your next career all while saving you time and energy.

1. Keep variations of your resume on hand

The two elements that will increase your chances of an interview with a recruiting firm or potential employer are:

  • resume submission quality
  • resume submission time

What do these terms mean and how are they related?

Resume submission quality refers to you the style, organization, readability and thoroughness of detail for the specific role you’re applying for. While your technical skills, soft skills and experiences don’t change when applying job to job, you may wish to highlight certain accomplishments, responsibilities and/or skills more for specific industries and roles differently than others.

When you modify your resume for specific industries or roles, be sure to save it for next time you apply to a similar role. You can make minor adjustments as you find new opportunities so you can respond to job postings quicker.

Job boards typically receive most resume submissions within the first 10 – 14 days, so it is essential to apply with a quality resume as quickly as possible.

2. Use LinkedIn

Creating an engaging presence on social networks is essential in today’s market, especially on LinkedIn.  Maintaining a LinkedIn profile is critical for active and passive job seekers because it shows more about you than a traditional resume. LinkedIn receives 18M average daily visitors and is the leading channel to distribute B2B content. We recommend keeping your profile active by continuously updating your professional experiences, certifications and skills. Engage with colleagues, previous coworkers, classmates, supervisors, and thought leaders. Join groups that match your interests and preferences. Post photos with colleagues. Celebrate high achieving individuals. Send highly personalized connection requests and take the opportunity to meet with professionals who you think could help you in a career search.

On LinkedIn, we recommend using a professional or business casual photograph of yourself for your profile picture. If you have any LinkedIn related questions or need additional tips, please reach out to your Accountants One recruiter.

It’s worth mentioning that LinkedIn also has an incredible job board for active job seekers. You can mark yourself as “Open to New Opportunities” so that your profile can be discovered to employers and recruiting professionals.

With the unemployment rate so low it is important to clean up your other social media profiles. Don’t post anything you’d regret in the morning! Remember, you can always use Facebook or Instagram as another avenue for networking.

3. Know what you want and what you’re worth

If you’re unhappy in your current role, take the time for serious self-reflection and see what is truly making you feel this way. Some of the top reasons for job dissatisfaction are poor compensation, limited career growth, lack of challenging work, poor management, and long commute time.

Based on findings from a our 2019 survey conducted with a sample of Atlanta’s best accountants, opportunities for career advancement and corporate culture were the leading factors in determining job satisfaction.

Knowing your market value is also very important so that you can evaluate offers from potential employers. For example, if you are a Staff Accountant in 2020, you should be making anywhere from $44,000 to $61,000. For more market trends, check out the Accountants One 2020 Salary Guide if you’d like to see how your current salary stacks up.

A recruiter can act as a career coach and trusted advisor in all of these aspects. Accountants One recruiters are looking to get to know you and your long-term career goals.

Here at Accountants One we listen to understand. We strive to discover your personal, educational and business goals so that we can identify opportunities that match what you’re looking for. If you’re ready to start exploring available opportunities, please view all listings through our Job Listings page. 

3 Career Questions to Ask Yourself Right Now

3 Career Questions to Ask Yourself Right Now

Do you find yourself getting so caught up in day-to-day work that you forget about what you really want to do and how you are going to get there? Instant gratification of the to-dos and the right-nows make it easy to continue putting off the necessary time to really think about your long-term career goals. Between balancing life, work, family, friends, activities, it seems as if there is simply no time to think about your career goals.

Unless you want your professional growth and career to take a backseat forever, you must step back from the daily grind to really reflect about the bigger picture.

We highly encourage you take just a moment to answer these three career planning questions to reach your goals:

What are skills that I’ve improved in the last month, quarter, year?

Think of this as a self performance review. Taking time to write a genuine self-assessment of your skills and contributions to your organization can really help you see where you are in your career journey. Let’s say your long-term career goal is becoming a Controller for a large corporation. What are the necessary skills to continuing advancement to this level?

Qualifications for a Controller might include a combination of technical and soft skills – strong background in financial management, reconciliations, analytical thinking, interpersonal skills, Microsoft Excel, etc.

What are you doing now that will help you to get there?

Tip: Create a running list of all the technical and soft skills needed to get you to your long-term career goal and rate your skills from needs improvement to skills that you feel you’ve mastered. Focus on ways to improve, seek out mentors and jot down notes about experiences that demonstrate you’re improving. Update and review this list either bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Am I making strides in my career trajectory the way I imagined?

It’s essential to reflect on all facets of where you are now and where you want to be. Are you on your career trajectory? Are you happy with it? Is it important to you? Is it one that you still want to be on? If so, great, a congratulations is due! If not, it’s time to turn things around.

Assess the values of your life – relationships, family, hobbies, religion, fitness. Where does your career fall in importance? If your vision is to become Partner but you realize that you value family time and hobbies more, you may need to rethink your career trajectory.

Things aren’t always what they seem. What do you really think you enjoy at work now? How can you have a fulfilling job that makes you happy? Recalibrate your vision and stay on the path that is right for you based on your interests, values and passions. If you’re thinking that you would benefit from a complete 180 career change, listen to your gut and do it (but talk to us first)!

Does my current role support my long-term career goals?

Another way to phrase this question: Are there growth opportunities at my current company that could help me progress? If not, we suggest that you run, not walk, to another position that will help you get there.

The entry level and midlevel points in your career are the most important regarding positioning yourself to reach your goals. These are times of great growth and development in terms of experiences and responsibilities. At the Senior level there are even still ways to improve. Take every opportunity to keep learning and growing.

Either way, this is the most important question to consider. Returning to our first example…let’s say your ultimate career goal is to become a Controller for a large corporation. Are you in a position at a forward-moving company that promotes internally? Are you in a position with a large corporation already doing some operational accounting? Either way, you could be on your merry way to the Controller level.

Remember, it’s nearly impossible to plan your career out at every single step but being intentional and taking time to consider the bigger picture can get you closer to your goals in the long run. Accountants One thinks that keeping you at your career planning best is a win so keep these questions in mind!



Private vs. Public: Questions To Consider Before Making the Switch to Industry

Private vs. Public: Questions To Consider Before Making the Switch to Industry

April 17th, 2019

First off, congratulations! With April 15 behind us you can take a deep breath and relax now that busy season is finally over!

We encourage you to take time for careful self-reflection before choosing to make a career change. Sure, there may be aspects about public accounting that you love and others that you wish you could change, but how you answer these questions will reveal a lot about yourself. A little introspection goes a long way.

Private vs Public
Career Building Steps for Staff Accountants

Career Building Steps for Staff Accountants


The stable accounting foundation, skill set and experience that comes along with a Staff Accountant role will provide you tremendous value once you decide you are ready to grow your career. This is why most individuals choose the Accounting & Finance industry in the first place, right? For great characteristics like interesting career possibilities, salary, and professional growth? These are enticing and certainly make this industry a hard one to pass up. Use the career building steps below to get ahead of the competition.

If you are at all systematic or meticulous when it comes to your career, chances are, you’ve thought about future job opportunities including Senior Accountant, Accounting Manager, Controller and beyond.

The best advice from accounting & finance job recruiters

It’s the time to be proactive! Getting ahead while you are in this mid-tier Staff Accountant role is essential for continued career progression.

Let’s face it, you’re up against stiff competition in today’s job market. Make sure your qualifications that you’ve worked on for years don’t slip between the cracks. You must always, and we repeat always, keep improving yourself.  It will give you the competitive advantage when you are ready to make your move.

Side note: We’ve seen Staff Accountant job opportunities in Atlanta area triple even in the last few months. Employers need strong Staff Accountants both in the public and private sector. Use the 3 career building steps below to get ahead of the competition. Please click here to view available Staff Accountant job listings for direct hire, temp-to-hire, and contract.

3 career building steps for staff accountants

1. Develop Your Skills

Staff accountants must master a wide variety of skills to exceed in their profession. While most of these skills are obtained over time and through on the job experience, you can take proactive steps to better yourself.

Receiving training, asking for help from a mentor, & continuing education are all great places to start. Considering a CPA or CMA certification may be an option based on your role and career goals. Be vocal if there is something you want help with or feel you need to improve on to get to the next level.

2. Show Leadership

Showing leadership is especially important if you are hoping to progress internally within your current company.  Although this is considered a soft skill, it is an important skill to sharpen and perfect! Think about it, once you decide it’s time to make a career move, you will be asked to lead a team  — maybe one, maybe four, maybe ten!

Helping your current managers with daily tasks, making their priorities your priorities, and helping the entire team will get you a long way. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and volunteer for the next challenge. Be proactive! Even if you aren’t planning to stay at the same organization you will receive an exceptional reference from that former supervisor!

3. Use Your Resources

There are several resources available that you should fully utilize once you are ready to begin exploring opportunities.  Resources include, but aren’t limited to, previous mentors, supervisors, former class mates, job boards, peers that have grown their career, and recruitment agencies. Recruitment agencies serve job seekers as a special ‘one-stop-shop’ resource and help professionals with strategic career planning. Accountants One partners for the long-term and gives you a number of advantages including:

  • Access to jobs and companies that you may not necessarily know about
  • Industry expertise regarding culture, salary, in-demand skills, etc.
  • Host networking events and offer continuing education (CPE)
  • Relationships with hiring managers across a variety of industries
  • Advice on career path including transitioning from public to private and switching industries

Ready to start advancing your career?

Whether you’re in Public or Private, real estate or healthcare, there is a high demand for your accounting & finance skill set and experience.

Don’t be opportunistic with your career path. Be intentional and persevere until you get where you want!

Career building steps for accountants infographic


How to Prepare for a Successful Interview

How to Prepare for a Successful Interview


This article features the expertise of John Davis, a professional recruiter with over thirty years of experience in the Atlanta market, 19 of those with Accountants One.

There’s a lot to consider as you prepare for a job interview.  Here, Accountants One recruiter John Davis shares his expertise, having conducted thousands of exit interviews between candidates and their employers during his career.

John encourages job candidates to contemplate several considerations.  For this article, he shared four areas that are critical:

  1. Know your primary objective of interviewing
  2. Be prepared to answer key questions
  3. Be prepared for the “Money” question
  4. Understand the dynamics of your post-interview follow-up

Let’s roll up our sleeves and learn from John’s vast experience:

Primary Objective of Interviewing

Your primary objective as a candidate should always be — to get a job offer!   Concerns, such as “what’s in this for me” questions, can be addressed after the job has been offered.

So, how do you get the offer?

First, focus on THAT job – don’t look ahead to your next promotion.  Remember the company is hiring you to solve their immediate pain Now – the current position as described – not what you can do for them in the future.

Secondly, make a positive impression.  This begins by being authentic.  After all, the person they experience in the interview should be the person that’s going to show up for work — just make sure it’s the very best self you are capable of being).  In this initial interviewer, your job is to let the interviewer know that you are well-qualified to do this job.

This means you need to be mindful of how you present yourself.  Speak up, smile, be as outgoing and enthusiastic as your personality will allow.  You will be amazed how many times an employer will get enthusiastic about you if you show genuine, outgoing enthusiasm.

Look, act, and be professional.   Wear a business suit or business casual attire.  Leave the cologne and perfume at home, as some clients might be allergic.  And, remember, it’s not just what you wear, it’s what you bring.  Along with your enthusiasm, be sure to have an extra copy of your resume in-hand!

Finally, be aware of the importance of how you communicate.  Communication skills rank second only to job knowledge as factors crucial for business success, and those ‘skills’ encompasses a host of qualities, both verbal and nonverbal.  You communicate through your speech patterns, vocal tone and quality, gestures, attire, your posture, your eyes, your facial expressions, your listening skills, your sense of humor, the questions you ask.  Together, these factors make up your professional image and how those in power view you.  Remember, there’s only one chance for a first impression!

Be Prepared For Key Questions

Believe it or not, the interview is not all about you.  (That should be a great relief, by the way.) The purpose of the interview is to address the hiree’s concerns. Interviewers often come into the process from a Mindset of Fear (“What if I make a mistake and hire the wrong person!”).  It’s up to you to alleviate that fear by positioning yourself as their problem solver.  You do this by being prepared beforehand to give concrete examples from your own business experience to answer the interviewer’s four core key questions.  Mind you, they won’t ask these questions directly, but these four questions are the subtext behind almost every query they have for you:

Why are you here?

To answer, ask yourself: What does this job involve?. 

What can you do for us?

To answer, ask yourself: Do my skills truly match this job? 

What kind of person are you?

To answer, ask yourself: Are these the kind of people I would like to work with, or not?

What distinguishes you from the 19 other people who have the same skills as you have?

To answer, ask yourself: Can I persuade them there is something unique about me that makes me different from these other people who can do these same tasks?  Have your own stories and accomplishments from personal experience that demonstrate your skills and how you can solve their problems.

Everything you do and say must answer these questions to the employer’s satisfaction.  Needless to say, speak the truth!  It is one thing to get the job but then you must keep it.  Exaggerating your skills or “enhancing” your experience will backfire every time once you have to perform.

And, though it may not seem like it while in the hot seat, an interview is designed to be a conversation, not an interrogation.  Relax and engage.  Be an active listener and strive to answer questions directly in the first sentence of your response, only elaborating after that as needed.  This approach keeps the conversation focused and on-point for both parties.

You should have several well-thought-out questions prepared as well.   Have your questions written down and in a portfolio folder or small notebook.  It’s best to ask general questions designed to draw out the interviewer so you can better determine what they are looking for in this position, such as:

  • What are the most important skills you are looking for in this position, both technically and personally?
  • What do you wish you had known about this company before you came to work here?
  • How will you measure my success in this position?
  • What is it that I can do to make your job easier?”
  • Has anyone who’s worked for you failed, and why?
  • Has anyone who’s worked for you really succeeded, and why?
  • Who are the company’s “Star” employees, and what are they like?

Needless to say, you must also have several specific questions about that company and that position.  The goal is not to give a good performance but to build real rapport with the interviewer and create a relationship that lasts beyond the interview, and to address the employer’s concerns.  It’s not about memorized answers or any fancy footwork, but overall fit that you’re going for.


Wonder why we buried this important topic way down here?  It’s because salary and compensation are very literally the LAST thing that you want to discuss (and do all you can to avoid it in any initial interview).  The more time the employer invests in you — in interviewing or lunches or revisits or reference checking, etc. — the more you have helped to “tenderize” them when it comes to how much they will offer in compensation.  Time is definitely on your side in this area so relax and don’t bring it up, ever — the employer will not forget to address this subject!

However, what if the employer asks you to commit to compensation first, like filling out an application that asks “desired salary”?  If you must commit something to writing how about “it’s negotiable”; or if you can’t get away with that one gives a very broad range, from the lowest you will seriously consider in base salary to the top of their range as you understand it.

If the compensation question is asked directly to you by an interviewer, you can say something like “while salary is important to me, the duties and responsibilities, the team, the company, the opportunity, etc, etc, are MORE important; so, I’m sure if we can come to agreement on these things, compensation will take care of itself”.  Or my personal favorite: “I am here because I believe there is real opportunity for both of us, so I WILL CONSIDER YOUR STRONGEST OFFER”.  Of course, you want the employer to lay their cards on the table first and commit themselves to a figure. This helps to insure you don’t leave any money on the table that could have been yours.

Post Interview Follow-up

After the interview, what then?

A short “Thank You” email, of course.  Just make sure it looks and reads like a business letter – no time to get sloppy; this is a chance to highlight your written communication skills with a brief letter-formatted email that (1) basically thanks them for the interview and 2) states you are confident you can handle this position because….. (just a very short phrase or sentence — don’t oversell), and 3) you hope to have the opportunity to meet with them again.  If something personal came up during your interview that allows you to make a “human link” – you found out you went to the same college, have kids the same age, etc., this can be a good personal touch.  Again, just don’t overdo it.

Following these tips will not guarantee any offer, nor the perfect salary or perfect position; but it will build your self-confidence and certainly improve your chances of success if you find yourself face-to-face with what might just be the Best opportunity in your career.

The Value of Working with a Recruiter

The Value of Working with a Recruiter

Should you work with a recruiter?

Ten hour workdays. Back-to-back-to back meetings. Looming deadlines. Sound familiar? When your current job keeps your hands full, it can be challenging to reach for that next rung on your career ladder. You don’t have time to check your email, much less check job boards.

This is where a professional recruiter becomes an invaluable partner. A recruiter can navigate channels on your behalf, allowing you to continue doing your job, because they’re doing theirs. In fact, teaming up with the right recruiter arms a candidate with a number of distinct advantages. Let’s look at some of the ways an ethical, engaged, capable recruiter can help you further your career.

It’s a Career, Not a Job

Notice that last paragraph ended with the phrase “further your career”. That’s because, while some recruiters merely attempt to find you a job, the best ones help you plan your career. That’s a huge differentiator.

There’s nothing more deflating than being so hungry for that next gig that you accept it, only to find that it isn’t a true fit. Now you’re stuck between the security of a paycheck and a daily sense of duty to something that doesn’t bend toward your life goals. The right recruiter will work with you to ensure that your next job is part of your career path, not just a place to tread water while you wait for the tides to shift.

Beyond the Boards

A recruiter will also have access to jobs you may not know exist if your main resource is the go-to cache of job boards. Companies often prefer going through recruiters to onboard talent because they know it will save them time, resources, money, and buckets of Extra Strength Tylenol. They know a recruiter can help them resource the best talent quickly, without the challenge of mining through hundreds of online applicants themselves.

A Private Affair

If you’re searching for a new job, the last person you want finding out is your current employer. Job boards, however, leave candidates wide open to discovery, and companies are known to fish around the internet to see who is planning to leave their payroll for other opportunities. With a recruiter, you’ll have the confidentiality of a professional who understands that you prefer discretion.

A Focused Approach

Not only will a capable recruiter lead you to jobs that are not in the public domain, they’ll also help you target specific companies that are a fit with your skills and goals. They also will be more likely to have an understanding of the cultures inherent in these businesses, so you can be aligned with an organization that will feel like home. Because, as we said, your goal should be enriching your career path, not just landing a job.

A True Investment

Run, don’t walk, from any recruiter who tries to charge you for service. Great recruiters make their money from companies enlisted to find talent. Thus, it’s important to find a recruiter who you feel has your best interests at heart and will truly go to bat for you. That kind of relationship can provide invaluable peace of mind as you wait for the right opportunity to become available.

So, what should a candidate look for in a recruiter? Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you seek out your recruiting partner:

  • Find a firm that has an experienced team. Years in business are a good litmus for measuring if a company has been doing the right things consistently over time. Also, a firm that boasts a cohesive team means more mindshare and collective human experience than an independent recruiter functioning in a silo.
  • Find a firm with a solid reputation. Ask around. Have they placed others you know? What does their client list look like? What companies do they serve? How are they regarded in the industry? Do they know their success rate?
  • Find a firm that will tell you what you need – not just want – to hear. That means finding someone willing to honestly compare you to the market and set expectations with you; someone you trust to give you candid feedback and tips designed to make you a more viable candidate.
  • Find a firm focused on the future. Again, you want someone to help you build your career, not just get your next job. A good recruiter will want to support a long term vision for the candidates they represent. That means even after they’ve placed you, they’ll remain your partner, ensuring you are happy where you are, and making you aware of other opportunities down the road if you ask them to do so.

It’s also worth mentioning: you should also actually LIKE your recruiter. This is someone that you will ideally partner with for years. Ask yourself: is this person someone you would grab coffee with?

Finding Your Fit

If you want to sit down with an interviewer for your dream job, your journey begins by doing your homework. Find recruiters who fit the criteria above and schedule a time to chat with them – better face-to-face but a phone call will work. Ask them the tough questions, do your due diligence and find out who the best fit for you is.

Not looking for a job right now? Perfect! This is the time to get started with a recruiter. Just as you want to have your own doctor before you get sick, you’ll want a relationship in place with a recruiter before you are contemplating a job transition.

If you have any questions about the recruiting process, please fill out the contact form below and we will be happy to follow up regarding your inquiry.

In our next installment, we’ll share insights on how companies can benefit from engaging a recruiter. (Hint: It’s not just about filling a position, it’s about partnering for long term success).