Financial hiring survey shows anticipated increases for 2008 | AccountingWEB

Financial hiring survey shows anticipated increases for 2008

Ten percent of chief financial officers plan to add accounting and finance staff during the first quarter of 2008 and 4 percent anticipate personnel reductions, according to the Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index. The net 6 percent increase is unchanged from the fourth-quarter 2007 forecast. The majority of respondents, 86 percent, foresee no change in hiring activity.

Forty-two percent of CFOs who expect hiring increases cited rising workloads as the primary reason, while 30 percent attributed the demand to anticipated business expansion.

The national report is based on interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half International, the world's first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. Robert Half has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992.

"Many employers are concerned about their ability to recruit skilled accounting and finance professionals amid continued competition for this talent," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "The demand has resulted in higher salaries for positions such as staff accountant, internal auditor and financial analyst."

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region

Hiring is expected to be strongest in the West South Central region (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas), where a net 12 percent of CFOs anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance professionals: 14 percent of executives surveyed will be hiring and just 2 percent project cutbacks.

"Companies in the West South Central states are hiring accounting and finance personnel to help meet expansion objectives," Messmer said. "In particular, employers seek professionals for positions in general accounting, cost accounting and tax."

Hiring activity in the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania) and Pacific (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington) states also is expected to exceed the national average. A net 9 percent of CFOs in the Middle Atlantic region and 8 percent in the Pacific states expect to add staff during the quarter.

Robert Half has conducted additional CFO interviews in major metropolitan areas to provide snapshots of financial hiring trends in these markets. You can see the local results .

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry

Among all industries, executives in the business services sector are most optimistic about hiring. A net 15 percent of CFOs from business services firms expect to hire additional staff in the first quarter.

Above-average hiring activity also is expected in manufacturing: 12 percent of executives said they plan to expand their accounting and finance teams during the first quarter and 3 percent foresee personnel reductions, a net 9 percent increase.

Financial Hiring: By Region

Percentage Increase Decrease No Change Undecided Total
United States 10 4 86 0 100
New England 6 5 89 0 100
Middle Atlantic 13 4 83 0 100
South Atlantic 7 4 89 0 100
East N. Central 10 3 87 0 100
West N. Central 9 4 87 0 100
East S. Central 3 3 94 0 100
West S. Central 14 2 84 0 100
Mountain 8 8 82 2 100
Pacific 12 4 84 0 100

New England: CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
Middle Atlantic: NJ, NY, PA
South Atlantic: DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV
East North Central: IL, IN, MI, OH, WI
West North Central: IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD
East South Central: AL, KY, MS, TN
West South Central: AR, LA, OK, TX
Mountain: AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY
Pacific: AK, CA, HI, OR, WA

Financial Hiring: By Industry

Percentage Increase Decrease No Change Undecided Total
United States 10 4 86 0 100
Manufacturing 12 3 85 0 100
Retail 9 8 83 0 100
Fin., Ins. & R. Estate 11 8 81 0 100
Prof. Services 10 4 86 0 100
Construction 7 1 92 0 100
Wholesale 6 1 92 1 100
Transportation 5 0 94 1 100
Bus. Services 15 0 85 0 100

Comparative Data: Two-Year History of the Financial Hiring Index

Quarter Percent Increase Percent Decrease Net Increase
1Q08 10 4 6
4Q07 9 3 6
3Q07 6 3 3
2Q07 7 2 5
1Q07 6 3 3
4Q06 6 2 4
3Q06 7 3 4
2Q06 5 4 1
1Q06 8 8 0

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".


William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.


Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (, a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.


Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website:
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.


Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.


AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.