Last September, Wells Fargo made headlines when more than 5300 employees were fired for creating over 2 million phony accounts. Six months later, Wells Fargo continues to struggle in the aftermath of its sales scandal. The bank reported in late January that credit card applications were down 43 percent in Q4 2016 compared with 2015, and that new checking account openings had fallen by 40 percent.

The scandal’s ramifications are being felt in more places than just Wells Fargo’s bottom line. Increased regulatory scrutiny has financial institutions across the U.S. shoring up their risk, compliance and internal audit functions.

As a Managing Partner focused on Accounting and Finance recruitment, I’ve seen first-hand the growing demand for specialized auditing and compliance talent– and the growing challenge businesses are facing when it comes to filling these roles. In an effort to land sought-after talent, companies are upping their compensation packages with everything from bigger bonuses to promises of better work-life balance.

Job candidates with strong auditing and analysis backgrounds can position themselves for success by doing the following:

  1. Highlight the right skills, certifications and experience. Companies are looking to hire accountants with at least three years of specialized experience. Certifications like Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and proficiency in Service Organization Controls (SOCs) are essential. I’m based in Las Vegas and many of my clients are in the gaming industry. While some are looking to hire auditors and analysts who are experienced in gaming, others are open to hiring public accountants who have a diversified client base. Regardless of your background as a potential hire, be sure your resume clearly explains how your skills and certifications have been beneficial for strengthening auditing and compliance at your current employer.
  2. Be willing to relocate. Geographic location can impact the number of available job opportunities as well as the caliber of talent. A willingness to relocate could help you land a higher paying position than what’s currently available in your home city. Here in Las Vegas, for example, the majority of top talent is already employed. Consequently, when companies want to source talent locally, they need to be more aggressive with their offer packages and try to lure talent away from the competition. Depending on your location, the opposite might be true: there could be more available talent than companies looking to hire. By understanding these marketplace dynamics, you can focus your job search on cities where demand is high but available talent is low.
  3. Know the marketplace. Today’s auditing and compliance job market moves fast. Since the available talent pool is limited, companies are making offers quickly. This also means that the time between submitting an initial application and receiving an interview request has been significantly compressed. Be prepared to bring your “A game” to the interview from the moment you submit your resume. If multiple candidates are being considered, the company may even skip extra interview rounds in favor of making an immediate offer to their favorite candidate. Make a stellar impression in the first round and you could be a lock for the offer!

Do you have questions about the accounting job market? Email me at to learn more.

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