Hiring Binge Pushes Salaries to New Records

Staffers showing increased restlessness with their current jobs. (Source: CPA Trendlines Research)
Staffers showing increased restlessness with their current jobs. (Source: CPA Trendlines Research)

Foot-dragging firms lose out on best candidates as hiring trend forces wages upward.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The tax and accounting industry's new growth spurt is leading to increased volatility in the ranks, with a surge in the number of CPAs looking for better jobs and firms scrambling for talent, according to CPA Trendlines Research.

In this report, CPA Trendlines covers:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, tax, payroll and CPA segments of the industry, indicating growth and shrinkage among sectors.
  • Average hourly wages for key segments, with trends in employee pay rates.
  • Typical hours worked per week, showing utilization and productivity.
  • Trends concerning women in the workforce, including hiring rates.

Today 28% of employees report they could change jobs in the next few months, up from a preceding12-month average of 19%, according to CPA Trendlines Research. This comes as 57% of firms say they are adding to their rosters, with only 39% holding steady and 6% cutting staff.


"We need to continue to build depth," says Jim Lewis, managing shareholder at KPM CPAs in Branson, Mo. "Staff isn't as loyal as in the past, so turnover continues to be a problem."


At the Xponent group n LaGrange, Ill., founder Catherine Riddick reports "business is growing and we need additional staff to handle the workload."


At Vine Dahlen in Lynnwod, Wash., Becky Mackenstadt reports, "We are currently looking to fill about six positions." She adds, "We offer a great variety of career options. You get to interact directly with clients quickly. And we have a great client base to work with."


Jodi Chavez, senior vice president of Accounting Principals, says that right now, accounting is one of the fields where there are more openings than candidates. The better news? "We don’t see any indication that it is lightening up."

In the CPA Trendlines tracking poll, a manager at a smaller regional firm said they will be adding as well, “Because my firm had significant turnover in the past year and a half of experienced staff.” Calling it “a great place to start with a fantastic culture,” the same manager noted that because they specialize in a few industries, “our scope of work is somewhat limited.”

Specialization is a positive elsewhere. A manager at one large firm said they will be adding staff because of “growth in certain sectors, especially healthcare IT transformation.”

Employers also may be taking advantage of the large number of candidates to do some weeding out they couldn’t afford when times were worse.

A metro Atlanta firm noted, “We have to replace a couple positions that we had laid off non-ideal staff from,” and a manager elsewhere said, “We have assessed our needs after this past tax season and hired new individuals to replace others that were not productive.”

Already a PRO Member? Click Here to Login & Continue Reading →

Go PRO Today: Choose one of these great offers


Monthly Plan, $24.97
Save $5/month (17%)!


7-day, no-risk free trial
then billed to your credit card monthly.
(Cancel any time)
Regular monthly rate: $29.97


Yearly Plan, $249.95
Save $110/year (30%)!


7-day, no-risk free trial
then billed to your credit card annually.
Regular annual rate: $359.95

See our Special Covid Crisis Special Offer!


One-Time, $12.99
Some limitations may apply.


Get instant access, expires in 24 hours.
One-time, non-recurring, charge of $12.99

Rick Telberg

Rick Telberg

About the Author

Rick Telberg is a veteran analyst, advisor, commentator, editor and publisher. He brings a unique background and perspective to research and advisory services for the professional services community.

Mr. Telberg may well be the accounting profession's most widely-known commentator through his long associations with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Accounting Today magazine, and today, CPA Trendlines.

As an expert in management, marketing, media and e-commerce, Mr. Telberg has served as Senior Editorial Director of Pro2Net Corp., now www.smartpros.com, and as Director of Online Content at CPA2Biz, www.cpa.com.

Previously, Mr. Telberg served as the early Editor-in-Chief of Accounting Today, and as Vice President/Group Publisher at Thomson Financial (now SourceMedia), overseeing Practical Accountant, Accounting Technology, and what is now AccountingToday.com.

Mr. Telberg was presented with a special citation by the National Society of Accountants for service to the profession and has served on a variety of boards and steering committees, including BKR International and the IBM Small Business Advisory Council. He is a graduate of New York University.

Click here for more by Rick Telberg