Key Steps To Negotiate the Best Salary After You Accept the Job

After spending time and energy searching for the right new opportunity, you’ve accepted the offer. You know you should negotiate your salary, but you’re not sure how best to do so.

Don’t worry! The start of a new job is one of the best times to negotiate for more money because companies expect to have to offer a new hire more money to bring them on board. In fact, not negotiating now can hurt you down the line in two ways: future negotiations will start from a lower baseline, and the company may assume it’ll be easy to get you to settle for less.

Consider these tips to help you prepare to make your best case and make the most of this prime time to raise your salary.

1. Get Help From the Experts

Staffing or executive recruiters have the skills and insider knowledge of the current job market and can help you negotiate the best compensation package. You may feel like you have a good idea of what your skills are worth, but recruiters see what new hires are earning across industries and areas and can provide you with more insight into compensation trends that are most relevant to you.

2. Consider Your Benefits and Perks

Salary is usually the first thing you consider when considering your compensation, but it’s not the only element. Your benefits and perks can add a lot of non-cash value to your total compensation package. Depending on what you need and value, you can try to negotiate for more vacation time, a more flexible schedule, funds for professional development, increased benefits and more.

3. Back Up Your Argument

No company will give you extra money just because you ask. The stronger a case you can make for why you deserve a higher salary, the more likely you are to get it. You make that case not by pointing out how expensive things are or the size of your student loans — you have to show what you bring to the table. Review your work history to highlight tangible achievements — when you improved workflow to reduce errors, created a more efficient process, or increased sales. Ideally, you’ll have hard numbers to back that up, but a compelling story can be effective, too.

Negotiating a higher salary is important and nerve-wracking, but help is available. Download our 2024 Salary Guide to help ensure you have the best information for your next salary negotiation.

4 Benefits of Building Your Professional Brand in Finance and Accounting

Whether you’re an up-and-coming professional looking to get noticed or an experienced veteran ready for your next challenge, a thoughtfully curated digital presence helps you stand out. It puts you in control of the narrative surrounding your expertise and accomplishments, increasing your visibility and opening doors to job prospects and career growth opportunities. After all,  Employers take notice of candidates with a visible, credible online footprint.

Here are four benefits of developing a powerful professional brand in finance and accounting.

1. Expand Your Realm of Influence

Sharing insights and thought leadership on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and industry blogs and publications showcases your expertise. You expand your influence and bolster recognition of your knowledge and expertise.

Give more people a chance to see your impressive background and knowledge. A vibrant, professionally focused online presence gives you more visibility while solidifying your reputation as a trusted voice.

2. Build Credibility and Instill Confidence

Credibility and trust are crucial in finance and accounting. A polished, professional online brand instills confidence in potential employers and clients. Your digital footprint allows employers and prospective clients to verify your background and observe your professional aptitude easily. It also shows that you are genuinely invested in the industry and committed to driving it forward.

3. Redefine Your Career Trajectory

An influential, far-reaching digital brand builds a network of people who know and trust you. As you gain recognition within your field, you’ll get noticed by hiring managers, internal recruiters and leadership teams. Your profile, portfolio of work and professional insights can put you top-of-mind for new opportunities.

4. Score Higher-Paying and Harder-to-Find Roles

An influential online presence can help you access opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach. An authentic, well-rounded brand presence conveys the full depth of your professional knowledge, skills and passion for your profession. This competitive edge allows hiring managers and recruiters to understand the unique value you’d bring to their team.

When you differentiate yourself through skillful brand-building, you position yourself to find your dream job with an earnings potential to match.

Unlock Exclusive Career Opportunities with Century Group

If you’re considering elevating your professional brand, you know the value of an insider’s edge. That’s where Century Group’s extensive employer network and long-standing relationships can help. We can give you exclusive access to career opportunities you won’t find advertised on public job boards — connecting you with roles perfectly aligned with your expertise, salary goals and long-term ambitions. Search our available jobs or submit your resume today to accelerate your career ascent.

4 Reasons to Become an Auditor

You may be surprised to learn that an auditor is a dynamic profession offering diverse opportunities, ongoing growth and the potential to make an impact.

Auditors safeguard businesses from the devastating pitfalls of financial discrepancies while helping to uphold public trust in vital economic systems. If you like the idea of a career that combines accounting and analytical skills with ethical responsibility, becoming an auditor might suit you perfectly.

Here are four ways becoming an auditor can bring you professional achievement and personal satisfaction.

1. You Learn Highly Valued and Transferable Skills

Skills you develop in a career as an auditor can empower you to take your talents anywhere. While a mastery of finance and accounting is foundational to the job, auditors are strategic evaluators armed with an expansive and cutting-edge toolkit.

In addition to traditional analytical abilities, today’s auditors develop data visualization, analytics and IT capabilities. New technologies help auditors work smarter and faster, whether reviewing anomalies or tracing transaction cycles. This gives them the resources to tackle risk, provide strategic advice and generate vital insights.

As an auditor, you also develop communication skills that forge a solid foundation for later leadership positions. Honing abilities like identifying patterns and exceptions, critical thinking, explaining complex concepts to different people and brainstorming with colleagues make you versatile, valuable and recession-proof.

2. You Can Work Anywhere

As an auditor, you can work with companies anywhere across the country or worldwide. Skilled auditors are in high demand, and many corporations with offices in the U.S. have offices or do business with companies in other countries. If you want to travel and see the world, becoming an auditor can help you do that.

If you work in or with companies in a foreign country, you will need the appropriate licensing for that location. It’s also essential to learn applicable laws and regulations.

If you don’t want to travel, you can still work internationally. In today’s digital and virtual workplace, you can work with international companies from home or a local office.

3. Auditors Are in Demand

There is a high demand for qualified auditors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 1,538,400 U.S. auditor and accounting positions in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 4%. Firms prioritize hiring an auditor after discovering an accounting or operational failure. Auditors are critical in helping businesses maintain integrity.

4. Work With Innovative and Interesting Clients

Working as an auditor gives you an inside view of innovative companies in every industry worldwide. Every public company has an external auditor, which means you have the unique opportunity to peek behind the curtain of some dynamic organizations.

Future Proof Your Skills by Becoming an Auditor

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, working as an auditor can position you for outstanding professional experiences and long-term growth. As recruiting experts dedicated to accounting and finance, Century Group is here to help.

Elevate Your Output With These 3 Efficiency Hacks

As a finance and accounting professional, you bring essential expertise to the team. Efficiency hacks are a tool to help you leverage your available time, freeing you to deliver on high-value tasks. Whether you’re a manager looking to hire top talent or a job seeker ready to elevate your career, here are three game-changing tips to make every minute count.

1. Prioritize Ruthlessly.

Effective prioritization is one of the best ways to consistently meet deadlines and avoid last-minute marathons to get projects done.

Utilize the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is an easy-to-implement but powerful tool. It helps you sort tasks into four categories:

  • Urgent and important
  • Important but not urgent
  • Urgent but not important
  • Not urgent or important

By categorizing tasks this way, you can quickly see what needs your attention first. This allows you to focus on tasks that impact your productivity and career growth. It can also help you say yes to higher-value tasks and no to tasks that might bog you down and don’t require your expertise.

Set Clear Daily Goals

At the end of each workday or in the morning, list the top three tasks that need to be accomplished. These tasks should align with your core responsibilities.

2. Leverage Technology

Technology has an equal capacity to distract and support you during your workday. Leveraging technology in efficiency hacks requires thoughtful strategy. Each tool you implement should give you back time, streamline your day or make tasks more manageable.

Here are a few ways you can use technology to create efficiency hacks:

  • Automate routine tasks like data entry, scheduling or report generation
  • Use cloud-based tools to facilitate collaboration and ensure you have access to files when and where you need them
  • Utilize analytical tools to gain insights and make informed decisions efficiently
  • Keep your tech skills up to date to stay on top of new tools that can benefit your field

3. Embrace the Power of Breaks

This efficiency hack may seem counter-intuitive, especially if you’re in a high-volume or high-pressure position. However, research shows that the right breaks can increase focus and productivity, reducing burnout or fatigue.

Understand the Science

Regular, short, intermittent rest helps your brain learn and perform faster. In addition to giving your brain short breaks during the day, it’s important to include opportunities in your life for it to reset and rest. If you’re always watching TV or on your phone, your brain doesn’t get the time it needs to be restored.

Give yourself time during the week to walk in nature, do something creative, meditate, listen to music or rest.

Efficiency Hacks Make Your Life Easier

Leveraging your time helps align your daily actions with your long-term career goals. This approach will enhance the quality of your work, making you an invaluable asset.

Top Hiring Trends for 2024

Talent acquisition has always been an evolving process, and this year is no exception. Rapid technological advancements and evolving social values reshape how businesses and employees approach the job market.

Here are three pivotal 2024 hiring trends to keep in mind. Understanding these trends will help hiring managers and candidates excel in a dynamic and competitive environment.

1. The Use of AI in Hiring

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are poised to streamline how hiring managers connect with and evaluate potential candidates. In the competitive hiring landscape, 56% of U.S. job seekers say an employer’s responsiveness during the hiring process is essential, and 41% cite a lack of communication as the most frustrating part of the job search.

AI can enhance candidate engagement. Chatbots are AI-driven and can answer questions and guide applicants through recruitment, keeping them informed. This can be a win-win for busy hiring managers who can handle critical touchpoints while delivering an engaged and smooth candidate experience through onboarding.

AI tools can also analyze historical data to help predict a candidate’s job performance and retention, helping hiring managers make speedy yet informed decisions. While a data-driven approach is helpful, it doesn’t replace a recruiter or talent acquisition’s expertise and understanding of people.

2. Employer Branding and Company Culture

The hiring landscape has changed in some crucial ways over the past decade, and one is an emphasis on company culture. This can encompass a spectrum of factors, from hybrid work schedules to DEI initiatives.

A strong company culture correlates with better employee engagement, workforce growth and increased net profits.

While there is no one-size-fits-all for company culture, developing your employer brand to reflect your organization’s values, culture and benefits is essential.

A strong brand draws candidates who are aligned with your company’s culture.

3. Hiring for Skills

Degrees and pedigrees still matter — especially in fields like accounting and finance, which require specialized expertise — but are no longer the sole indicators of a candidate’s potential or capability. More employers are emphasizing skills and experiences, a strategy that targets job seekers willing and capable of growing and adapting in a rapidly changing economy.

By focusing on skills and potential, companies can tap into diverse talent sources, including non-traditional candidates who may not have formal qualifications but possess immense potential and relevant capabilities. Soft skills like critical thinking, adaptability, learning, and emotional intelligence are particularly valued and can help job seekers level up.

It’s Still All About People

While technology and employee expectations lead 2024 hiring trends, the essence of employment remains the same. People with skills seek employers who value and recognize their contribution, ideally giving them both stability and pathways of growth.

Work is more digitized and data-driven, but these tools only realize their potential in the hands of skilled professionals. By focusing on people, candidate experience and employer branding, organizations can build a workforce that is not only skilled but also resilient.

6 Career Development Strategies for 2024

Continuous learning enriches every career path. With technology evolving at a mind-blowing pace, ongoing skill development is critical to career success.

Whether or not your position uses technology, versatile soft skills are highly sought after and will help advance your career. Here are some strategies to help you level up professionally this year:

1. Develop Niche Skills

Specialization can set you apart. Identify a niche within your field that interests you and dive deep.

Having specialized expertise can put you in high demand. It positions you to be known as an expert in your field and command a higher salary.

2. Network and Build Relationships

Your professional network can be one of your greatest assets, especially if they know your capabilities. People you know can connect you with information, insights and opportunities you may not otherwise find.

Your network also provides opportunities for mentor-mentee relationships. Whether you are ready to mentor another professional or seek an experienced mentor, the relationship benefits both parties.

3. Step Up and Take On Challenging Projects

Volunteer for projects that are a step out of your comfort zone. Taking on challenging projects demonstrates your abilities and shows you are capable of more significant responsibilities.

Innovation, problem-solving and adaptability are all highly valued in the professional world. By stepping up, you develop yourself professionally while contributing to the success of your team and organization.

4. Build Your Professional Brand

Developing visibility helps the people around you recognize your potential. Don’t hide your ideas and abilities; speak up and offer your thoughts and solutions.

Many professionals wait to be asked. Instead, you can become known as a strategic thinker by proactively adding value with suggestions and solutions.

Another strategy for developing visibility is to take on speaking engagements. Being recognized as a thought leader can accelerate your advancement.

5. Sharpen Critical Soft Skills

In today’s collaborative work environments, strong communication skills make you a valuable asset. There are many ways to develop your written and verbal communication skills, from daily journaling or taking classes to joining a local Toastmasters club.

Other in-demand soft skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, adaptability, leadership, emotional intelligence, collaboration, and innovative thinking. Identify the soft skills that will most benefit you in your career and set and follow a personal development.

6. Maintain a Positive Attitude

A positive and professional attitude can open up opportunities. It makes collaboration smoother and more pleasant. People are drawn to positivity and professionalism, making you a preferred colleague, leader, or partner.

A positive mindset makes you more open to new ideas, spurs creativity, and can increase your performance by keeping your energy strong and steady. Positive people are more resilient and adaptable and even have better health.

Let 2024 Be a Year of Advancement

Century Group supports your goals, whether you’re looking to take your career to new heights or seeking the perfect candidate to complement your team. Connect with us and let’s make 2024 a milestone year.

Level Up Your Job Search Game This Fall

Are you embarking on a fall job search? Some times of the year are more fruitful for job seekers than others, but the real game changer in your job search is a personal one: your confidence.

Here are insider tips on timing your efforts for maximum impact and how to level up your fall job search game.

Seasonal Hiring Trends

Understanding the ebb and flow of the hiring cycle helps you leverage your efforts and improve your response rate. Fall can be an excellent time to find a new job, but only if you get it going before the holiday rush.

Companies are gearing up for the year-end in the fourth quarter. If they have vacancies, there’s usually a push to fill them before the holiday slowdown. This rush makes fall an opportune time for job seekers.

If your fall job search doesn’t yield the position you want, January and February are considered the best time to find a job. The post-holiday positivity, combined with new budgets and projects, means many employers are searching for qualified candidates.

Conversely, summer, particularly August, can be as challenging as the holidays for job hunting. Between vacations and the back-to-school rush, hiring takes a backseat.

Know When To Submit Your Resume for Maximum Impact

While your qualifications, experience and skills distinguish your application, knowing when to hit that “submit” button gives you an advantage.

Sending in your resume over the weekend can backfire. Resumes sent on a Saturday or Sunday often land in a stack of other applications.

Like most professionals, hiring managers have a weekly rhythm. The best time to send in your stand-out resumes is Tuesday through Thursday, when hiring managers have gone through the weekend pileup and can review incoming resumes with a focused mind.

You can use the weekend to find job listings and prepare your applications, but strategically wait until Tuesday morning to submit them. The exception might be a time-sensitive posting where you can be one of the first submissions.

The Employment Edge

When is the best time to find a new job? When you already have one.

Whatever time of year you’re looking, the best moment to land your dream job is when you feel empowered and self-assured.

Being employed provides a safety net and boosts your confidence, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers. When you feel secure, you communicate more positively and are better in interviews.

If you don’t have a job, you can still give yourself an edge by maintaining a positive mindset or by leveraging the expertise of a recruiter. Harnessing this “Employment Edge” can tilt the scales in your favor and help employers see your strengths.

Ready to boost your job search? Connect with one of our recruiters today.


3 Red Flags to Recognize Before Accepting a New Job

Searching for a job in the accounting and finance space can be exciting. But while you’re being offered positions, it’s crucial to remember that not every offer will necessarily be the right fit. Fortunately, when you know what to look out for, protecting yourself from a negative experience can be easier than ever. Here are three red flags to recognize before accepting a new job.

Unclear Job Descriptions

Make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you before accepting the job. Consider this: the job interview is when the company is on their best behavior. It’s during this time that they’re actively trying to impress you in hopes that you’ll join their team. If during the interview stage they’re unable to provide a clear outlook on the job you’re applying to, it could be foreshadowing what it would be like (if not worse) should you accept the position. Plus, if you’re having to ask questions to get this information from the hiring team, that’s also a bad sign. It’s standard practice to have clear expectations of what the job entails in the job posting.

Consider Salary or Lack of Benefits

Often when we think of salary as being a red flag, our minds gravitate toward the company offering too low of a salary. While that is a red flag to consider, a salary on the opposite end of the spectrum should also raise some questions. Typically, when applying for jobs, you’re well-versed in what the going salary range is. (If you’re not, check out our Salary Guide.) When a company offers a number far beyond that threshold, it can be tempting to accept it without any second thoughts. But you need to question why they would offer such a number. Ideally, they really just want to hire you. However, they could be signing you up for a role that stretches beyond the normal 9 to 5 schedule; a role with expectations that are greater than you realized. To reiterate point 1: there’s great importance in fully understanding the job description.

No Career Growth Potential

What will this role look like in the future? If career development within a role is important to you, you’re not alone. A recent study found that 83% of employees noted improving their skills as one of their top priorities. The role you’re applying for might be the perfect fit. But what about in three to five years time — will the role grow with you? Will you have opportunities to be promoted? If the answer is unclear on either of these questions, you might need to dig a bit deeper into the company culture. Accepting a job with little to no promised opportunities for growth is a temporary joy —  it’ll be great in the short term, but you might need to consider other options in the long term.  

Looking for more insight in the interview process? Check out these job search etiquette rules.

Work Smarter, Not Harder This Summer

It’s no surprise that those in the fast-paced industry of accounting and finance are expected to work efficiently and productively. However, proverbial burnout is proving that working harder is not always the best strategy for long-term career success. The alternative? Making the most of your time and resources to achieve and maintain peak performance. A.K.A.: working smarter. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Improve Your Surroundings

If you’re noticing your productivity levels are depleting, the first step is to check in on your working conditions. Key descriptors of an ideal working environment include spots that are quiet, comfortable and free from distractions. If working remotely, try a change of scenery like a coffee shop or library. If you’re going into an office, try to make the space more enjoyable and comfortable with a plant or bring some nice headphones with you to “get in the zone.” The main goal is to achieve a state of mind where you’re completely absorbed in your work; that’s where you’ll be able to reach maximum efficiency. It’s also important to take regular breaks, stretch your legs and get some fresh air to help alleviate the risk of burnout.

Gamify Your Time

We live in an era where digital rewards are plenty. One strategy to increase your productivity at work this summer: gamify your time. Apps like Forest turn focusing on work into a game, limiting access to distractions on your phone to reach a goal. The app rewards you by growing a virtual forest the longer you stay focused. You can even share your progress with friends.

If you’re more of a pen-and-paper person, consider tracking your daily accomplishments. Adding a quantitative element to your daily goals provides a sense of fulfillment, which ultimately fuels productivity.

Reset Your Mindset

One shared characteristic of those that work smarter: they maintain a positive mindset. The way you treat yourself via thoughts and reactions plays a big role in your confidence level. Focus on the positive aspects of your work and remind yourself of the ultimate goal that’s being met because of your efforts. Celebrate your wins, learn from your setbacks and continually find ways to learn and grow.

What Does Success Look Like to You?

Finally, at the start of each work day, define what success will look like to you. Create a daily list of goals that could include breaking bigger projects into smaller, more achievable tasks. Also be sure to incorporate tasks that add a social element to your day, such as connecting with coworkers. Ultimately, by focusing on what’s truly important to you, you’ll boost the enjoyment of your work and be less apt to get distracted.
Find these tips a little too late? Check out these hacks on how to handle burnout.

The Job Search Etiquette Rules That Still Matter

Undoubtedly, job recruitment practices have changed and adapted over time – so too has job search etiquette. However, there are still some unwritten rules that have withstood the test of time. And, in the realm of accounting and finance where attention to detail is essential, adhering to these job search etiquette rules will ensure you leave no stone unturned. Let’s dive into the three rules to keep in mind before, during and after the job search process.

Before the Interview

Research. Before the interview takes place, it’s crucial to gain insight into the company you’re interviewing for. While it can be time consuming given all the positions you’re potentially applying to, coming into the interview with a few tidbits of insight in your back pocket holds benefits that are twofold. One, by taking the time to learn about what the company does, it shows your high-level of interest in the position. And two, it helps prepare you for the interview by learning about the company’s culture and values. 

So, when it comes to researching the company, where can you start? The company’s website, social media accounts and any recent news articles are all great jumping-off points. The key is to collect information about what the company does, their goals and their values. During the interview, connect what you’ve learned in your research back to you in a way that feels natural. Doing so successfully will highlight your qualities, show you did your research and create a connection between you and the company: a win-win-win.

During the Interview

One piece of etiquette that is often overlooked by the candidate, yet rarely missed by the interviewer: bringing your resume. While some candidates may feel it’s unnecessary to bring a copy of their resume to an interview, doing so has greater benefits than not. 

“I always recommend my candidates bring a copy of their resume to the interview, ” notes Deanna Gutman, Senior Director of Executive Recruiting. “Even if the hiring manager already has a copy on file, it shows them they are prepared and professional.”

Additionally, bringing your resume allows you the opportunity to reference specific details, making it easier to discuss past experiences. If possible, bring a few copies of your resume – that way the interviewer has the opportunity to share it with other members of the team should they want to. By printing them on high-quality paper and placing them in a portfolio, you’re adding to the sense of professionalism you bring to the interview room.

After the Interview

An attitude of gratitude goes a long way after an interview. Sending a follow-up email can make a significant impact by showing your high-level of interest in the job. In the email, thank the interview for the opportunity, reiterate your interest and mention one specific detail from the interview that you’re appreciative of. 

A follow-up email helps you stand out from other candidates and serves as a great reminder to the interviewer of your skills and qualifications. It proves you’re professional and can communicate effectively. 

Looking for more job interview hacks? Check out our tips on interview behavioral cues that hiring managers always notice.