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 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.
The Salary Guide from Robert Half offers key insights on hiring trends for accounting and finance roles. Below are three examples of in-demand jobs listed in our latest guide and a brief description of typical responsibilities associated with these roles:
Controllers plan, direct and coordinate all accounting operational functions. Their duties include 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. They are also often responsible for assessing current accounting operations, offering recommendations for improvement and implementing new processes.
Internal auditors need to have strong analytical, organizational and communication skills, as well as knowledge of accounting, finance and internal control areas, internal auditing standards, risk assessment practices, and more. These professionals may be responsible for conducting individual internal audit projects, performing internal audit procedures and preparing internal audit reports, and following up on the status of outstanding internal audit issues. Also, they typically need to have knowledge of internal control concepts and experience with planning, performing, managing and reporting on evaluations of various business processes and functions.
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.
The above list is just a sampling of accounting and finance roles that are expected to be in demand in the year ahead, based on our research for the Robert Half's Salary Guide. Consult the guide for details on starting salaries for these and many other roles.
Now, what about finding the best accounting jobs? Here are five strategies for conducting your 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?
- 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 for the short term or long 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, 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 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 chartered professional accountant (CPA) designation or keeping up with your continuing professional education, 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 specialized recruiter
Recruiters can offer valuable support and guidance during your job search, whether you’re looking for entry-level accountant jobs or management positions. Clients ranging from startups to large companies work with these professionals to locate potential hires with in-demand skills and experience.
A specialized recruiter who works 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 also be valuable steppingstones to permanent roles.
Are you ready to take the next step to find the best accounting jobs?