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.
Robert Half’s 2021 Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals offers key insights. Below are some of the in-demand roles listed in the latest guide, a brief description of typical job responsibilities, and the midpoint starting salary (or median national salary) for the position:
Accounting managers prepare and review ledger entries and reconciliations, maintain the general ledger system, prepare financial statements, and assist with regulatory reporting. Professionals who hold this position, which is also known in the industry as a general accounting – manager role, may also research accounting issues for compliance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), coordinate the budget process, and hire, train and supervise accounting staff.
Midpoint salary (corporate accounting sector): $95,750
Controllers plan, direct and coordinate all accounting operational functions. Their duties include coordinating and 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.
Midpoint salary (corporate accounting sector): $121,500
Financial analysts prepare profit and loss models, balance sheets and other management reports, using Microsoft Excel to forecast financial outcome. They also perform budgeting variance and forecasting analysis for company management to use in business decision making.
Midpoint salary (corporate accounting sector, up to one year of experience): $53,500
Companies in the financial services industry hire loan administrators to process and monitor loan payments, handle customer inquiries, identify signs of suspicious or unusual account activity, and make recommendations to minimize risks.
Midpoint salary (financial services sector): $53,500
Staff accountants are typically responsible for reviewing general ledger accounts and preparing and adjusting journal entries. Their duties also often include performing account analysis and reconciliation, maintaining general ledger charts of accounts, assisting with initial internal control evaluations, and posting monthly, quarterly and yearly accruals.
Midpoint salary (financial services sector, three to five years of experience): $75,500
The above list is just a sampling of accounting and finance roles that are currently in demand. See Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide for more examples.
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 in those fields?
- 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 permanently or for the near 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 CPA or keeping up with your continuing professional education (CPE) requirements, 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 recruiter
Recruiters can offer valuable support and guidance during your job search, whether you’re looking for entry-level accounting jobs or management positions. Clients ranging from startups to large companies use recruiters to locate potential hires with in-demand skills and experience.
Staffing professionals who work for reputable firms 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 temporary accounting jobs
A staffing specialist can also help you find temporary accounting and finance jobs 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 accounting and finance talent on an interim basis right now, including for remote roles.
Besides giving you an inside look at various companies, temporary work can provide insight into different kinds of accounting jobs. Interim assignments also allow you to get your foot in the door at a company and demonstrate your potential to an employer. That’s why temporary assignments can also be steppingstones to full-time accounting positions.
Are you ready to take the next step to find the best accounting jobs?