Your Guide to Creating a Successful Company Onboarding Program

Starting a new job used to mean confirming a start date and hoping there was an available desk when you arrived. But now, onboarding is often a much more detailed and thoughtful process — or at least it should be. Giving newcomers the support they need upfront helps them quickly ramp up in their role and strengthens company culture by making people feel welcome and valued.

Designing and implementing a great onboarding program takes work, but it is well worth it to boost your employees’ productivity and morale. It also provides continuity between the recruiting process that convinced them to join and the reality of the job — prospects are often looking for red flags and inconsistency or disorganization is one of them.

Here are some great onboarding principles that will help employees get a running start in contributing to your business goals.

Start Before the Start Date

It’s never a good idea to ask employees to start working before their first day, but there are things you can have them do in advance that will help everyone involved.

This works well for tasks such as filling out payroll and benefits paperwork, which will get important information into your systems and prevent delays in employee paychecks and perks. Before the start date is also a good time to schedule a team lunch (virtual or in person) for the new member’s first week, and you should prepare and send a preliminary schedule for their first few days so they know what to expect.

Another benefit of productive advance communication is that it signals to your new employees that your company is organized and excited for them to join the team.

Build in Opportunities To Derive and Create Value Right Away

New employees need to get up to speed on many things quickly, but it is both overwhelming and ineffective to rely on written material you hope they’ll read and absorb. Instead, create a more dynamic learning program that includes some combination of 1:1 meetings with leaders and/or team members, workshops on topics important to the business and a clear picture of your expectations for their first week, month and three months.

At the same time, it’s important for new employees to feel that they’re adding value even as they’re on a learning curve. Identify projects they can own and deliver a piece of within their first week or two. This doesn’t mean throwing them into the deep end without support, but it does set them up for an early win that can build confidence and enable ongoing success.

Prioritize Mentorship

Everyone expects new employees to have a lot of questions, but the newest team members might not know whom or how to ask. This is why every newcomer should be paired with a more tenured colleague they can turn to with everything from “Where’s the coffee?” to “What could my career path look like here?”

Ideally, a mentor is someone with more experience both at the company and in the industry who doesn’t directly manage the new employee. The official relationship could last for a week, a month or a year, but there’s no better way to establish a positive, career-nurturing culture and integrate new employees from the get-go.

Key Questions Every Manager Should Ask in Employee Reviews

Employee reviews. A time when managers can find themselves intimidated with what questions to ask, and how to deliver meaningful feedback. Sure, while the idea is to assess an employee’s performance, identify areas for improvement and set goals for the future — the objective of these meetings is flooded with intention and purpose. And as a manager, to maximize the productivity and meaningfulness derived from these one-on-ones, you need to ask the right questions. That’s why we’ve rounded up the essential questions you should ask during employee reviews.

1. What have you achieved this year that you’re proud of?

The best way to put both parties at ease during the annual review? Starting off on a positive note. By asking this question, you’re able to shine a light on the employee’s strengths and provide validation for their hard work. Plus, this will help you when it comes to highlighting contributions toward the organization’s overall goals.

2. What were the biggest hurdles you faced this year?

Equally important to discussing accomplishments: recognizing challenges within your team. Likely you’re already aware of the key obstacles your team members have faced throughout the year, but utilize this as an opportunity to follow up. Ask the employee how they managed to overcome this challenge and if they would do anything differently. By encouraging employees to reflect on their problem-solving abilities, you can lead them to insights on how to tackle future obstacles. It also provides visibility into the challenges your team is facing, which better equips you in helping your team avoid those hurdles in the coming year.

3. What professional skills would you like to develop? How can I support you in this?

According to a Gallup survey, 61% of American workers say upskilling opportunities are an important reason to stay at their job, and 48% of workers would switch to a new job if offered skills training opportunities. So, consider this question important in the eyes of employee retention. Specifically, this question demonstrates your interest in the employee’s professional growth and shows that the organization is committed to helping them advance their career.

4. What are your goals for the upcoming year?

As a birds-eye-view type of follow-up to the previous question, ask your team members what their short- and long-term career goals are. Take time to consider if the skills they’re interested in developing align with the goals they share. If not, make recommendations for specific skills and focus areas to help them reach these goals.

5. What feedback do you have?

While the primary goal of the review is for you to provide feedback to your team members, it’s also crucial to allow time for your employee to share their own feedback with you. Often, there aren’t many organic opportunities for the employee to do so. By asking if they have any opinions or concerns, you’re demonstrating that you’re open to receiving input and are committed to improving the work culture.

Employee reviews are a crucial aspect of being a people leader — but they don’t have to be intimidating. By asking the right questions, you can ensure that employees feel valued, acknowledged and motivated to continuously improve. For more insights, check out our 2023 Q3 Accounting and Finance Employment Report.

2023 Q3 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

As we embark on the last half of 2023, the labor market in Q1 and Q2 exhibited surprising resilience — despite rate hikes and other measures by the U.S. Federal Reserve to help fight inflation. In fact, the Wall Street Journal says, “lay-offs are still at a historically low level,” and there continue to be more job openings than available candidates.

And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, companies added 209,000 jobs to their payrolls in June, with the unemployment rate increasing slightly to 3.6% with gains in government, health care, social assistance and construction industries.

2023 Q3 employment report for accounting and finance professionals
Signs of a slow-down are making themselves known, however, with more white-collared professionals seeking the assistance of recruiting firms to aid in their next career move as employers become less urgent about growing their teams. We breakdown what both accounting and finance professionals and companies can expect for Q3 in our forecast.

For Employers

While employers are becoming increasingly selective in their hiring efforts, businesses need to adjust their leisurely pace when it comes to engaging with accounting and finance professionals. Why? Well, frankly, because there’s been a significant workplace exodus of skilled workers in these functions — with a drop of 17% in the past two years.

From the boomer generation starting to leave the workforce to job seekers transitioning to more alluring career paths in finance and technology, the talent gap has led to employers offering salary increases to win over talent or utilizing temporary consultants to manage workloads. Both are tactics in line with current hiring trends as we head into the second half of the year.

Our latest Salary Guide’s No.1 theme for 2023: money matters. And, according to Salary Budget Planning Survey by WTW, this could continue into next year.

“While we are seeing lower salary increases forecasted for next year, they’re still well above the ones we’ve seen for the past 10 years. This shows that companies are striving to stay competitive in an everchanging work climate,” says Hatti Johansson, a research director at WTW. “Those companies that have a clear compensation strategy as well as a pulse on the factors affecting it will be more successful attracting and retaining employees while keeping pace with an evolving environment in which yesterday’s certainties no longer apply.”

Our 2023 compensation report has current salary data for more than 40 accounting and finance roles to help employers ensure they are offering their prospective and current employees competitive salaries that are at or above market rate in their region.

Other key motivators of today’s workforce are engaging company cultures, as well as organizations that emphasize employee development and encourage feedback outside of annual reviews. One great way to make this part of your business’ operation? Regularly scheduled stay interviews to help establish an open line of communication.

For Job Seekers

The candidate shortage offers an exciting environment for seasoned accounting professionals. For one, experienced talent in this sector are particularly desirable in the current hiring landscape — paving the way for career opportunities that provide the growth, pay and benefits that are most important to them.

Secondly, this is an ideal time to explore additional job duties through temporary or contract work. Is there a software or industry that you’re looking to explore, but don’t have the chops for a direct hire role? Consulting provides the flexibility to tackle assignments on a temporary basis, allowing accounting and finance professionals to grow their experience and networks at various companies with competitive compensation. Many employers are more open to temporary hiring solutions as they navigate the changing market environment.

Partnering with staffing and recruiting experts can help in this quest — identifying job opportunities not currently on job boards and advocating for top-notch benefits and pay on your behalf. Contact our team today to get started!

Is it Time To Add Consultants to Your Hiring Strategy?

Today’s accounting and finance climate is fast-paced and evolving. That’s why — in order to stay ahead — companies need to be agile and adaptable. One way employers can optimize operations? By adding consultants to their hiring strategy. Hiring a consultant (or someone fulfilling a contracted position) allows businesses to bring in skilled workers for a specified time period — be it full- or part-time work. If you’re looking to achieve the following things, it’s likely time to consider adding consultants to your team.

1. Market Responsiveness

You’re likely well aware that the accounting and finance market is known to have sudden shifts — especially in today’s economy. That’s why one of the biggest benefits of adding consultants to your hiring strategy is the ability to react to those shifts. Companies that are slow to respond to sudden market changes can quickly find themselves falling behind. Consultants offer specialized knowledge and expertise that companies should use to their advantage to meet changing demands.

2. Flexibility

How can you react to changes with finite labor resources? As we enter a highly uncertain economic climate, flexibility is key. And a key benefit of working with consultants? You guessed it — flexibility. As new opportunities arise, many companies often don’t have the internal resources to handle the new work that comes subsequent to those opportunities. Without the time burden of hiring permanent staff, companies can quickly scale up their workforce efficiently by hiring consultants. This mitigates the risk of wasting resources while opening doors to expansion or reduction, as needed.

3. Diversity of Thought

When you add consultants to your team, you’re also adding fresh perspectives and new ideas. Often, employees currently immersed in a project have a harder time identifying new opportunities or approaches that might be offered from a fresh set of eyes. For that reason, companies can gain a competitive advantage by bringing on consultants.

4. Cost-efficiency

Working with consultants can be a cost-effective solution. Not only can the hiring and training of new long-term employees be time consuming, but it’s also expensive. Doing so also runs the risk of the new hire not working out. By working with consultants, companies have access to top-tier talent — without the long-term commitment and expense of hiring a full-time staff. A hybrid mix of long-term and contract employees on your team ensures you have the right talent in place. It also better allows you to complete projects on time and within budget.

Ultimately, adding consultants to your hiring strategy allows your team to be agile and adaptable. Learn more about today’s hiring landscape for finance and accounting professionals or one of our hiring experts to find the best solution for your team.

2023 Q2 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The Big Picture

Employers increased their payrolls by 236,000 jobs in March—including gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, government and health care industries. And the national unemployment rate dipped slightly from February’s 3.6% back down to 3.5%.
Q2 2023 accounting and finance employment
Credit: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

This growth remains healthy by traditional standards but lay-off announcements and rising interest rates have begun to decelerate employers’ hiring efforts. Still, the labor shortage for accounting and finance professionals has created a different experience for this community of workers—as well as the companies who hire them.

We break down our forecast of what employers and job seekers can expect in Q2.

For Employers

More than 300,000 accountants and auditors have left their profession in the past two years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The cause? Well, a few things. Generational shifts in the workplace is one factor, with many baby-boomer professionals heading toward retirement. But probably most concerning for employers is the significant drop of recent graduates entering the field and a large group of professionals of all ages exiting since 2019. In fact, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountant’s reports a near 9% decrease in accounting majors for quite some time now — seeing the drop as early as 2012. Other more enticing fields, like finance and technology, are providing more of a draw to these workers recently.

In response, companies have raised accounting and finance role salaries to help attract more talent to filling open positions. An article in The Wall Street Journal says the starting salaries for entry-level U.S. accountants and auditors rose 13% to nearly $61,000 a year in 2022. Employers hesitant to make serious hiring decisions in this market are now turning to temporary or temp-to-hire solutions to address the lack of talent, while still getting the accounting and finance departments’ workload addressed.

Starting salaries for entry-level U.S. accountants and auditors rose 13% to nearly $61,000 a year in 2022.

Partnering with staffing and recruiting firms that have viable, up-to-date talent networks who have the experience to hit the ground running is an essential resource in 2023. These hiring experts have an intimate understanding of the latest hiring trends that are currently swaying candidates’ decisions and can offer insights on how to win talent over. Another tactic that’s proven successful for employers is broadening qualifications for certain roles and hiring for potential rather than specific credentials or experience that can be learned on the job.

For Job Seekers

While the trajectory for accounting, tax, finance and audit professions may seem lackluster— the potential in these roles can be fulfilling and lead to long, exciting careers. Not only is it lucrative, especially with the current talent shortage, but this profession can provide the foundation for those more enticing opportunities in technology or finance down the road.

Now’s the time to explore what this field has to offer. Take on temporary or temp-to-hire positions to expand your knowledge, software experience and industry knowledge. Learn what type of benefits, culture and career development initiatives are most important to you and seek them out in prospective roles. To jump-start this process, check out our latest job opportunities in an area near you.

Unlocking Untapped Talent: Why You Should Hire for Potential

If you’ve posted a job listing, you’re likely aware about the emphasis on experience when hiring a new team member. However, times might just be changing as new approaches to evaluating job candidates are emerging. In the realm of accounting and finance, companies need skilled professionals who can handle financial data, interpret trends and make strategic decisions that impact the bottom line. As a manager in this industry, you know just how valuable experienced employees can be. However, you may be missing out on an untapped source of talent by focusing solely on experience. Let’s explore why hiring for potential might just be as important (if not more so) as hiring for experience in the accounting and finance industry.

1. It’s a long-term investment

Experience is valuable, but it can also be limiting. People who have been doing the same thing for years may not be open to new ideas or ways of approaching problems. By contrast, hiring someone for their potential — or hiring someone based on their skill set rather than their years of experience — can prove valuable.

When you hire someone with potential, you’re investing in their long-term growth and development. They likely have fresh ideas, are eager to learn and, ultimately, they’re more likely to take on new challenges that can benefit your business.

2. It creates diversity

When it comes to diversity, it’s important not to overlook diversity of thought. When you hire strictly based on experience, you tend to hire people with the same qualifications, with similar backgrounds. This opens the door to a lack of creative thinking and problem-solving skills within your team. But when you pursue candidates with different experience levels, backgrounds, education levels or interests, you’re more likely to build a well-rounded team that is more apt to look at challenges from a multitude of perspectives.

3. It can add unique skills and strengths to your team

Hiring for potential is not synonymous with hiring inexperienced candidates. Rather, it means hiring someone whose potentially nonlinear professional background has led to unique skills or strengths that may look different from those typically in the accounting and finance path of progression. For example, someone with experience in a different industry might bring skills (like attention to detail, for example) that can be applied to the field of accounting and finance. Or, a candidate with strong analytical skills from a different field can still be a valuable asset to your team. The key ingredient in successfully hiring for potential is looking for an eagerness and a willingness to learn.

4. It can reduce the risk of burnout

Burnout is a hot topic in today’s accounting and finance industry. If an individual has been doing the same day-to-day tasks for years, chances are they’re going to become bored or dissatisfied. But by focusing on someone’s potential, you’re hiring candidates that are eager and excited to take on the new challenges of the role. This creates a healthy culture of growth while also reducing the risk of burnout. 

Ultimately, by focusing on potential, you can build a team that is passionate to learn and eager to grow with your business. Are you currently looking to add a member to your team? Contact us today; we’re here to help you with your talent search.

2023 Q1 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The Big Picture

In 2022, the U.S. added 4.5 million jobs — the second-most on record, according to the New York Times. And while job production maintained its slowing trend, employers increased their payrolls by 223,000 jobs in December, which included gains in construction, retail trade, manufacturing, financial activities and transportation industries. The national unemployment rate edged back down to 3.5% from November’s 3.7%.

2023 Q1 accounting and finance employment report
Credit: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

So, what does this mean for the quarter ahead?

ITR Economics‘ 2023 outlook remains cautiously optimistic and continues to expect GDP growth throughout the year. In fact, the likelihood of a mild recession on the horizon is tempered by what they foresee as a relatively tight labor market compared to prior recessions.

“There are roughly two job openings for every unemployed person in the U.S.,” ITR explains. “We are not likely to see that ratio reverse to a negative number during the next two years, which will keep upside pressure on wages and indicates consumers will have the ability to continue spending, even if the pace is not as robust as in the prior years.”

We detail more of what employers and job seekers can expect in Q1 for 2023:

For Employers

Demand for temporary workers in the U.S. is expected to increase by 1.1% this quarter, even as the need for consultants has been softening for the last few months, according to Palmer & Associates’ Palmer Forecast. Employers rely on temporary workers to complete key projects and assist with brimming workloads without having to commit to a long-term arrangement — and is clearly a hiring tactic that’s expected to continue in 2023.

Even more, the New York Times highlights that the low unemployment rate translates to another year of talent having the upper hand in the labor market, with half of the global C-Suite leaders surveyed in the Palmer Forecast expecting wages to remain on the rise.

Along with competitive offers and at-market compensation, hiring for key skills instead of credentials is a trend hiring managers are expected to lean into. Identifying specific soft talents can start as early as the interview process or as late as your most tenured employee. In fact, upskilling is a cost-effective way for companies to invest in their current staff to provide professional development opportunities while meeting their business goals.

Request top financial talent for your temporary or direct hire needs today.

For Job Seekers

Sure, while the tight job market illustrates two job openings for every available candidate, inflation and other economic concerns are leaving some employers cautious when it comes to growing their teams.

Stand out from your peers by prepping for the future interviews using our research guide — making sure you know how to adeptly quantify your value through past performance situations. Employers are also putting more emphasis on your digital footprint this year. Take inventory of your online presence and adjust accordingly.

Get a start on your job search by checking out our newest accounting and finance opportunities near you.

Top 2023 Talent and Recruiting Trends

With the global talent shortage expected to continue into this year, companies will need to be more proactive than ever when it comes to talent and recruiting. To remain competitive and find top-tier candidates, there are certain trends that employers should consider in order to attract and retain talented professionals. Here are the top trends for companies to watch for in 2023:

1. Competitive Compensation & Benefits

Competitive compensation is no longer just about offering a competitive salary – it’s about offering a comprehensive package of benefits that allows employees to feel valued and appreciated. This means thinking competitively about all elements of your benefits package: medical coverage, retirement plans, commuter benefits, childcare support, and other perks such as wellness programs or flexible work arrangements. All in addition to compensation that aligns – or slightly exceeds – the employee’s skill level.

2. Quick Recruiting Processes

Competition for talented workers is at an all-time high; and that’s not expected to change in the near future. Therefore, you need to streamline your recruitment processes in order to move quickly when you find top candidates. Have standard work for the recruitment process, which may include using automated applicant tracking systems or utilizing social networks like LinkedIn and Indeed as part of the process. Additionally, companies should consider virtual interview strategies as part of their hiring practices in order to reduce time-to-hire and make their recruiting efforts more efficient.

3. Focus on Employee Mental Health

Employers have started to prioritize mental health – and will need to continue to do so – by proactively creating an environment of acceptance and support for employees. This could mean providing access to mental health resources through an employee assistance program or offering training on how managers can better recognize signs of stress or depression in the workplace. Additionally, it’s important that, as an employer, you’re prioritizing flexibility.

4. Emphasis on Career Growth Opportunities

Employees want meaningful work experiences with potential for advancement. In addition to competitive salary and benefits, they want a job that provides long-term career growth opportunities as well as avenues for upskilling and expanding their abilities within the organization. Therefore, employers need to create career development paths within their organization that allow employees opportunities for learning new skills or advancing into higher positions over time.

Here’s a quick guide to some essential retention tactics.

For Managers: How To Avoid These 3 Interview Mistakes

Interviewing a candidate can be a daunting task. But what if it didn’t have to be? At the root of it: you want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to find the best possible candidate. However, to make the process smoother and more efficient, there are some interview practices you need to avoid. This article will help you avoid those bad interview practices — steering you towards a process that is more enjoyable for you, and for the candidate.

Don’t Make the Interview Process Unpleasant for the Candidate

Interviews are a window into what working for your company is like. They’re also the candidate’s first experience with the company. Therefore, it’s crucial that you leave a good first impression.

  • Consider alternatives to in-person interviews: The digital world is here. And with it comes the opportunity to make the interview process more conducive to a candidate’s busy schedule. Especially if the candidate is currently working full time, consider making the interview process virtual – you might even be opening the doors to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to make an in-person interview.
  • Respond to the candidate regardless of your decision: Failing to respond – or ghosting – a candidate is unacceptable. Plus, word travels fast: you don’t want to lose out on future candidates because of a bad-interview reputation. Instead, be sure you inform candidates whether or not they will be advancing to the next interview.

Don’t Ask Questions That Are Biased or Ignore Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

In addition to illegal questions to avoid, it’s important that you’re considerate of something that 76% of candidates find important in potential employers: diversity and inclusion*.

  • Properly pronounce their name: The first step in creating a positive interview environment: ensure you’re pronouncing the candidate’s name properly. Sounds simple, but a mispronounced name for the duration of an interview is something that people remember – and not in a positive light. Instead, if you’re unsure, simply ask “Am I pronouncing that correctly?”
  • Ask each candidate the same questions: Doing so will help you avoid bias in the presentation of your interview questions – establishing a fair foundation to base your decision off of.

Don’t Forget To Make the Conversation Two-Sided

Hint: interviews aren’t only for the benefit of the employer. It’s important to make the candidate feel that this interview process is mutually beneficial.

  • Share information and allow the candidate to ask you questions, too: Interviews are two-sided. That means you need to talk about what the company culture is like and how the team operates. This will help candidates determine if the company is the right fit for them.
  • Avoid being artificial: It’s important to be professional, but also real. Talk openly and honestly about the company culture, but avoid overselling. Candidates are human; if you’re overzealous and make big promises about what it’s like to work at the company, often they’ll see through it.

2022 Q4 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

The Big Picture

The U.S. added 263,000 jobs in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — highlighting notable gains in professional and business services, as well as leisure and hospitality and health care sectors. The national unemployment rate also dipped slightly from August’s 3.6% to 3.5%.

In the past 12 months, hourly wages have increased by 5%. This trend is in line with employers using competitive pay as a tactic to win over skilled talent, especially as high interest rates and inflation continue to impact the everyday consumer. Coupled with the tight labor market and unclear forecasts of a looming a recession, companies are still trying to grow their teams while keeping their budgets in mind.

Credit: LinkedIn

But as LinkedIn notes, wage growth has begun to slow in the last two months — which may hint toward a brighter outlook for the economy in Q4 and 2023. We share what this means for employers and job seekers in the coming months.

For Employers

LinkedIn sees the recent data as a possible glimmer in the cloudy expectations of what’s to come, specifically the moderate salary growth and plummeting job openings. Down from two openings for every worker, that number has slid to 1.7.

“This is consistent with indicators like hires, quits, and job openings coming down — i.e., the labor market cooling from ‘extremely hot’ to just ‘very hot,'” the popular platform explains. The key takeaway: “The Federal Reserve might succeed in bringing U.S. inflation down without causing major damage to the U.S. labor market.” The economy could scrape by with a “soft landing” instead of a full blown recession.

For hiring managers, this “very hot” market still has skilled candidates driving the hiring landscape. In fact, the unemployment rate for degreed professionals is down to a low 1.8% — leaving experienced accounting and finance professionals in incredibly high demand. Offering candidates compensation at market rate is critical, as well as a flexible work arrangement. What was once not-so-important on the wish list for job seekers in 2020, is now within the top three most significant factors when evaluating a new career opportunity, according to a new Qualtrics report.

To learn more about candidate insights and what matters most to current professionals, check out our blog.

For Job Seekers

Hiring freezes and layoffs are at the forefront of recent news headlines as companies try to grapple with the economic uncertainty of 2023. But even as some business are making cuts, others are making plans to grow their teams. In a PwC survey of 700-plus executives, 83% said they are focusing their business strategy on growth — with only 30% viewing the possibility of a recession as a serious risk.

One indicator that points to a strong labor market: the staffing penetration rate. Employment in this area continued its upward trend in September with 27,000 staffing jobs added. And this need is only expected to increase in Q4.

So what does this mean for skilled accounting professionals and job seekers? Well, the market is yours — at least for now. Use this to your advantage. Identify opportunities that align with your most important criteria, including pay, work schedule, growth opportunity and more. Step into consultant roles to stretch your skill set or learn more about a company you’re interested in working for.

Partnering with staffing and recruiting firms can aid in this process, helping to connect professionals with top direct hire or temporary opportunities that would best meet their needs.