Demand for Accountants Surging

Accountants tend to be portrayed as a rather boring lot, but that job sector is generating a lot of excitement in the staffing and recruitment arena.
Yvonne Rainwater, branch manager for the Tulsa office of Robert Half International Inc., in the Triad I Building at 7666 E. 61st St., Ste. 100, said the past two quarters and the outlook for the fourth quarter in Tulsa has shown a “very, very big impact in the finance and accounting arena.”
“We currently have 45 finance and accounting positions that we are actively recruiting for, up from last year,” she said.
She expects the demand to continue into the first quarter of 2008.
“It’s amazing. It seems like Tulsa – we have always kind of been on that bubble – and now the bubble is gone, and business is here. It feels very good,” Rainwater said.
Jason Regan, managing partner with The Addison Group, a Tulsa-based executive search firm at 9216 S. Toledo Ave., echoed Rainwater’s contention that demand for finance and accounting positions is strong, but has seen a steady growth over a longer period.
“I think what we are seeing right now is a pretty consistent need,” he said. “It seems like – really specifically in public accounting – they have a solid need at this time for experienced audit professionals. That is something we have seen that doesn’t seem like it is going down.”
David Moore, founding partner of The Addison Group, said the firm has more than 100 positions open in its Tulsa office with more than half of those in the accounting and finance fields. The Addison Group has expanded to Oklahoma City and Houston after opening in Tulsa five years ago.
“You can go maybe even as far back as four years ago, our company was started kind of toward the end of the slower period (in the Tulsa economy), and after that first year we saw an up-tick in growth for jobs,” Regan said. “The demand for high-level people really started to go up. It’s a good sign that it really hasn’t gone away.”
“What we are seeing in Tulsa, there definitely is an increase in manufacturing, oil & gas and public accounting,” he said.

Region Beats the Nation
Rainwater, who also sees a strong local demand in the construction field, noted that a poll of 1,400 CFOs by Robert Half International showed that the outlook for hiring in finance and accounting for the fourth quarter is two percentage points higher for the West South Central section, which includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, than the national outlook. The national outlook showed a net 6 percent increase nationally, up three points from the third quarter projection.
Robert Half International Inc., the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm, reported revenues and net income of $4 billion and $283.2 million, respectively, for 2006.
“Two points higher than the national average is good,” Rainwater said. “A lot of CFOs are attributing that to growth in business. In Tulsa, a lot of businesses are experiencing growth, but there are also a lot of new companies moving into our area and the surrounding communities. So we are seeing an increase from new business and also from growth in existing business.”
She said the demand has been across the board in the two divisions represented in the Tulsa office.
“One is Accountemps, and one is Robert Half Finance & Accounting. One focuses on permanent placement, and Accountemps is a lot of the contract project work, the unemployed market. So we see all levels,” she said. “We see everything from entry level accounting clerks all the way up to CFOs.”

For What It’s Worth
Pay scales are also across the board.
“The sky is the limit,” Rainwater said. “We have actually placed a couple of CFOs in this area – positions all the way up to $150K and $175K.”
Regan said pay can range anywhere from $12-16 per hour for accounting clerks and up to $50,000-80,000 for auditors in the public accounting arena.
“What’s good about those numbers is that the growth in demand is not specific to one level of positions,” he said. “I think we are seeing across the board at all levels that there is a consistent demand for people.”
The level of demand often sends recruiters out of the region to fill positions.
“The market is tight overall, and the level of business in which we recruit is less than 2 percent unemployment,” Rainwater said. “It has been tight for quite some time.”
“I would say there has probably been 30 percent of our positions in which we relocated people,” she said. “That’s a good thing for Tulsa because we are finding talent that left our market and we are bringing them back. That’s exciting.”
Regan said recruiters look first at home to fill positions.
“We always want to be able to find people locally and take care of the talent that we have in the state so we don’t lose people,” he said. “But inevitably, finding people from outside of the state is going to need to be an option as well. We have had to do that at some level.” ?

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