Winter Accounting: Trends, Tips and Timelines

During a recent trip to Portland, our Career Connections team members met with several firms to discuss how the Fall recruitment season went and how they were doing during the winter. Fall and Winter are typically busy times in the accounting recruitment space in prep for the next internships and full-time jobs of the next year.

Many large firms are moving to rolling recruitment deadlines on a monthly basis (as opposed to previous years where the seasons were highly structured with strict deadlines in the fall and winter.) This has created opportunities and challenges for both students and recruiters – some recruiters noted that it is more confusing than ever for students to know when to start the recruitment process.

Some small and medium firms reported growth, along with growing pains on the hiring front. Finding candidates has been a balance this season between less available internship and job roles in the Portland and broad Oregon market, and high demand for candidates nationally. Your first role might be in-person (or virtual) anywhere across the nation.

A few other trends that were mentioned included:

  1. Resumes need clearly stated CPA eligibility (the number of hours you’ve completed toward certified public accounting test requirements)
  2. Brush up those Excel skills! Multiple firms noted that the volume of work you can achieve is strongly connected to your ability to use those Excel shortcuts on the keyboard.
  3. Students are strongly encouraged to be professionally curious and ask questions! Many new candidates enter the profession feeling hesitant about asking for help – you don’t have to know all the answers on day one.

Some tips for your accounting internship and career search:

  1. Start with a visit to Mohr Career Services! You can book here or simply stop by Lillis 155 for drop-in on Monday through Friday, 10am-4pm.
  2. Attend a meeting with the Beta Alpha Psi accounting club! You can learn more about the profession, meet professionals who come to speak, and network with your fellow students!
  3. Follow the firms and companies you are interested in on LinkedIn, Handshake and other social media. You can discover great opportunities including job postings, scholarship applications, and learn more about the firm or company culture and workstyle.
  4. Keep a keen eye on the timelines for the accounting roles you are interested in. Some of the jobs have early closing dates in September, so you may need to apply before you return to school. You can find additional information about timelines in the Accounting Digest which is published weekly in fall, winter and spring.
  5. Introduce yourself to recruiters – this could be on virtually on LinkedIn, during a tabling event at Lillis, or it could be during ‘Meet the Firms’ or ‘Meet the Students’ – the major accounting recruitment events for fall and spring presented by Beta Alpha Psi.
  6. Remember that ‘exploding offers’, high pressure offer from a firm that doesn’t allow you time to consider your options, are never acceptable.

Remember that you have lots of resources and people who can help – reach out and get started today.

By Keith Dussell
Keith Dussell Associate Director, Industry Engagement