One of the areas we are seeing strong demand is for Staff Accountants with approximately two years of experience. With a high number of accounting graduates going directly into public accounting, access to early career accounting professionals is becoming more challenging for companies in private industry. Public accounting firms are leveraging leadership conferences and internship programs to gain access to top students earlier than ever before – typically making offers to students in their junior or senior year of undergraduate study.
To attract high-quality staff additions within budget, we routinely recommend that clients look at new graduates for positions historically requiring up to two years of experience. Accounting graduates are entering the workforce more prepared and should be able to hit the ground running relatively quickly. Universities are providing stronger coursework in business software applications, promoting internship experience during their undergraduate coursework and encouraging CPA exam eligibility – many students are graduating with all or parts of the exam under their belt.
For companies in the private industry, we recommend establishing an internship program to employ accounting students during the summer in corporate accounting, financial reporting, audit or tax areas – even if you start out with only one intern each summer. Highly motivated students are seeking summer internships as early as sophomore year and can add value to your department by taking on accounting administrative tasks. There are multiple wins to this arrangement: cost-effective help during busy times, providing managerial and mentoring experience to your existing accounting staff to supervise an intern, and with any luck developing a long-term relationship for permanent employment upon graduation.
Contact accounting professors and/or career placement professionals at the universities near you to promote your internship opening and gain access to some of the best and brightest before they’re off the market!