For skilled, experienced professionals who are considering the consulting path, 2016 could prove to be an opportune time to enter the field.
Research for the latest Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance suggests that consultants with in-demand skills are likely to be highly sought-after by employers in the year ahead. The guide notes that top accounting, finance and business systems professionals are already hard to find, and many organizations are having difficulty filling roles.
Looking at current trends in the hiring market, both the demand for skilled talent and lack of available candidates persist. According to the Salary Guide, employers are adopting an array of staffing strategies to ensure they have the necessary resources in place to meet business demands and maintain their competitive edge. For example, the guide reports that many businesses are turning to project professionals to access expertise for strategic initiatives.
Here’s an overview of types of in-demand consultants, based on research for the Salary Guide:
Business and financial analysts
Businesses need these specialists to help them identify growth opportunities, boost profits and improve cost control. Skilled consultants in these roles can also help management to use business and financial information more strategically, and plan appropriately for future hiring and other investments.
Business intelligence analysts
Many companies will be specifically seeking business intelligence analysts to help them derive and combine insights from big data, which can be used to inform decision-making for the company.
In fact, a recent survey of chief financial officers by our company found that the process of harnessing and managing big data is one of the greatest pressures that finance teams face today.
Businesses are working with senior accountants to handle everything from preparing budgets to reconciling account balances, and ensure all accounting tasks are performed correctly and according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
Business systems analysts
Whether they’re implementing a human resources system or upgrading a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, many organizations need experienced business systems analysts to lead or support these mission-critical projects.
Another area of opportunity for business systems analysts: the healthcare sector. According to the Salary Guide, healthcare providers are relying on specialized consultants to help ensure a seamless transition to healthcare management systems.
Revenue recognition experts
The new revenue recognition standard developed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in collaboration with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is meant to simplify, and increase transparency in, the disclosure of financial information. FASB recently announced the effective date of the standard has been deferred by one year, but that doesn’t mean organizations moving to the new revenue recognition standard can slow down their efforts.
For public and nonpublic companies alike, the transition to the new standard involves a great deal of preparation. Many are tapping expert resources to help them succeed in making the move on time.
With regulatory compliance demands on the rise, many organizations, especially financial institutions, are bringing in compliance experts to offer objective evaluations of their operations. Consultants with compliance expertise can help recommend ways to improve compliance processes and keep related costs in check.
Compliance demands stemming from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are also affecting project staffing management for healthcare providers and other businesses. For example, many organizations are looking to auditors to help review ACA compliance processes and identify potential issues before regulators do.
SEC reporting specialists
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting and other financial reporting are resource-intensive processes. They can be a significant burden on fast-growing companies with lean finance teams.
Financial reporting also can be especially challenging and complex for businesses that are in the pre-IPO phase, or taking part in a merger or acquisition deal. Expert consultants can alleviate the burden of these initiatives for companies.
Get the guide
Visit the Robert Half Management Resources Salary Center to download the Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance.
Be sure to check out the listings in the guide for in-demand attributes and credentials. They will help give you a clear idea of the types of skills and experience today’s employers seek — including from consultants.
The Salary Center also provides information on regional hiring trends for 2016, from financial positions in demand to the fastest-growing industries in the United States.