'Tis the Season For Job Hunting - Prepare For Tax Season

By Robert G. Epstein, President and CEO of CareerBank.com

The holiday season brings job opportunities as companies prepare for Tax Season. As winter begins, thoughts of holidays and shopping replace job hunting in the minds of most job seekers. This can be a mistake.

The interval between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when many retailers earn most of their annual revenue. What many people don't realize is that, just like the retail industry, public accounting has a seasonal nature. The "busy season" for public accounting firms runs from January 1 to April 15, a span of weeks leading up to Tax day. During this time, many public accounting firms earn up to 70% of their annual revenue preparing tax returns for their clients.

To prepare for the busy season, the prime hiring season for public accounting firms typically runs from September through December. The hectic holiday season is actually the best time to look for public accounting positions.

The savvy job seeker can get top dollar from CPA firms as they gear up for their busiest time of the year. Wait until the start of the new year, though, and you will have lost your best opportunity to maximize your earnings and achieve the best possible position/title.

Public accounting firms typically need to procure their new hires sometime before the busy season begins so that they have enough lead time to train them on their systems, policies and procedures. It also allows the firm enough time to integrate new employees into the company workflow.

Waiting and switching jobs during the busy season can also have some negative impacts. First, employers will have less time to train new hires, which puts job switchers more at risk for getting laid off when the season ends. Second, an individual may take a hit when it comes to their reputation. After all, the person left one accounting firm high and dry during the most critical part of the year, without adequate time to find and train a replacement. An employer has to wonder if they'll do it again...to them.

It's a good time of year for temporary tax help, when companies need extra heads for the season. And the private accounting area looks good during this season as well. As year-end fast approaches, private accounting firms are in a crunch to finalize numbers and perform corporate tax planning. With many employees taking vacations during the holiday season, this puts extra pressure on these firms to get the job done despite being understaffed.

The bottom line is that the salaries and positions that accountants can realize are heavily influenced by supply and demand. Right now, the demand is high and the supply of job seekers is low. This means great things for job seekers. However, if you wait until April 15, 2003, the situation reverses dramatically. The demand is substantially lower, and the market becomes flooded with employees laid off at the end of the busy season. This lowers salaries and increases competition for the best jobs.

A savvy job seeker will take advantage of the season, not to celebrate a holiday, but to find a rewarding position with a company when the conditions are just right.

You may like these other stories...

Legislation coming out of Washington just might reduce homeowners' burden for disaster insurance. It's a topic very much on everyone's minds since the mudslide in Oso, Washington. The loss of human life was...
Divorce is hard, and the IRS isn't going to make it any easier. The IRS generally says "no" to tax deductions that might ease the pain of divorce. In certain circumstances, however, you might be able to salvage...
IRS chief: New rule on the way for tax-exempt groupsIRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the USA Today on Monday that the agency will likely rewrite a proposed rule regulating the political activities of nonprofit groups to...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
Apr 30
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.