August 25, 2020 | 5 min read
How COVID-19 Has Impacted Hiring Across The Public Accounting Industry


Most industries have been impacted by COVID-19, and public accounting is no exception. Hiring and jobs in March and April 2020 took a hit due to the pandemic, but things are starting to kick off for public accounting roles. However, employees and candidates are taking different steps moving forward.

What public accounting firms are doing differently in 2020

With the pandemic came different reactions from public accounting firms. While some firms are still financially stable, others had to make pay cuts and furlough employees. As things progressed over the summer, many firms have worked toward putting a system in place to handle remote work. Although each firm’s plan of action will look different, all public accounting firms are gearing up for important tax deadlines and will need the manpower to take the work on.

October 15th is still a deadline many public accounting firms are trying to tackle. As a result, many organizations expect to begin hiring after Labor Day to plan ahead for the 2021 busy season.Most public accounting firms will want to start bringing in talented candidates sooner rather than later,” says Irv Myones, Senior Managing Director of the Accounting/Finance division at The Execu|Search Group. “This will give public accounting firms the time they need to test out the systems they have in place with their new hires before the upcoming busy season.”

What public accountants are doing differently in 2020

As public accounting firms establish their new normal and begin hiring, many public accountants are also taking the time to think about their current situations. Each firm reacted differently to the COVID-19 pandemic and many public accountants are taking their organization’s reaction to heart. This means that many public accountants will choose to leave their organization if their firm’s reaction was not up to par with others.

Along with considering their firm’s reaction and communication during these times, many public accountants are also considering new opportunities based on location. With work from home becoming the norm over the last few months, many public accountants may not want to return to their old commute once they can re-enter the workplace. This has many public accountants looking for roles a little closer to home.

What public accountants need to consider moving forward

Each firm will have a different strategy for moving forward. Taking the time to understand if your organization is aligned with your future goals is something you’ll need to think about.

If you are starting to consider leaving your organization, be open to conversations now to get a better understanding of the market and see what’s out there. Although it may seem daunting to look for opportunities before busy season begins, you’ll be ahead of the curve and more likely to find the right role for you. If you wait too long to start your search, you may start panic applying to roles at the end of year and accept any job offer regardless of whether it’s the right fit.

“There’s no better time to feel out the market,” advises Irv. “When will you have another chance to have these discreet conversations from the comfort of your own home? Staying in your current role may feel like a safer option in these uncertain times, but it may not be the best decision for your long-term career goals. There might be several promising opportunities that might be more aligned with your needs, especially in light of all these evolving industry trends! Don’t miss out on them by avoiding a job search.”

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