Places and candidates do not always match in public finances
In some parts of the country there are more jobs in federal government finance than there are applicants. This has led to greater openness to remote working arrangements, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic has shown it can be done.
New research from Gartner shows that several cities with a high number of federal accounting jobs – including Austin, Texas; Denver; Indianapolis; and Kansas City, Mo. – are not the primary sources of public finance talent with in-demand skills.
Some cities with the most talent in government accounting and finance – Dallas, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco – are not major recruiting centers for federal financial jobs. As a result, places that have a lot of federal finance jobs may have difficulty hiring. More than 80% of the federal government works outside of Washington, DC, said Mallory Barg Bulman, practice director at Gartner Finance.
âFederal agencies, or any business for that matter, don’t just need to look for talent in their backyard,â said Barg Bulman. “[They] can really recruit from a larger pool of individuals that gives them access to the best talent. It also allows for more diverse hiring. “
Remote work has been allowed for some federal jobs for a decade, or even longer in some cases, but Barg Bulman said the legislation doesn’t necessarily change the culture. After a year in which many people worked virtually, however, public finance officials might be willing to embrace remote recruiting, she said.
“What COVID did that not [legislation] could do is demystify teleworking a bit and really show managers that they can be accountable for their staff’s work and positive outcomes even if people are not in the physical workplace, âshe said. declared.
To distinguish oneself
Employment practices are also changing for some state agencies.
At the Tennessee Office of the Treasury Comptroller, a new post-pandemic policy allows auditors to work remotely two to three days a week, depending on their role and the job at hand. This is another incentive that recruiters have added to attract accountants to the state public service.
âWe looked at the past year – what worked, what we were able to do and what it may look like in the future,â said Christy Behnke, Head of Talent in the Human Resources team at the agency.
The 560-person office employs more than 300 auditors who, by state law, audit both state and local government agencies across Tennessee. These audits are subject to deadlines set by lawmakers, so when COVID-19 hit last year, they continued to operate. The stability of public employment, Behnke said, is attractive to some job applicants.
The office also continued its practice of providing internships for accounting students during the pandemic. With some students losing internships in the private sector last summer during the pandemic, Tennessee’s willingness to move forward with internships was another differentiator.
Over the past three years or so, the office has intensified its recruitment efforts. In a typical year, Behnke said, the office should fill 50 to 65 positions.
His position was created specifically to help the organization compete more effectively with accounting talent.
âThe leadership believed that the market was going to continue to be difficult and challenging and that we were really going to have to differentiate ourselves,â she said.
Local struggles for employment
While it can be difficult to find people with the right skills for local government finance and accounting jobs, hiring someone who works remotely from another state is not common, at least not yet.
âWe are looking for CPAs who understand fund accounting,â said Carrie Kruse, CPA, CGMA, economic development administrator from Des Moines, Iowa. “It’s hard, I think, to find in the Midwest. University students have very little exposure to fund accounting. Some have a class, if any, in government accounting.”
For some entry-level positions, Kruse recruits from local colleges and universities. For higher-level positions, however, it performs a national search.
Boulder, Colo. Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Pattelli, CPA, said it was difficult to find candidates with the skills she needed and then recruit them in Boulder, a city with the cost of living is high.
“We have a post of head of tax control which has been vacant for some time,” she said.
âThere are a lot of great people in public finance on the Denver subway – actually all over the state of Colorado,â she said. “But getting them to change their position is really difficult.”
Many employees worked remotely during the pandemic, Pattelli said, but the city is considering a policy that would allow more flexible working arrangements – potentially including full-time remote work – even after COVID restrictions were relaxed. 19.
But, unlike the federal government, local and state governments are less likely to be open to hiring someone to work remotely in another state. Some local governments have residency requirements requiring employees to live in or some distance from the jurisdiction. State civil service regulations also sometimes impose restrictions.
âBeing far away would give us a competitive advantage to find talent and work with talent from anywhere. At the local level, I think we will always have the political reality of wanting officials, who are stewards of our taxpayer money, to invest locally in the community and physically present in the community, âKruse said.
âWe report to elected officials who live in the community,â she said. “It’s going to be hard to get away from these political realities of wanting your officials to be local.”
Visit the Global Career Center from AICPA & CIMA for help with job search or recruitment.
– Marc Tosczak is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. To comment on this article or suggest an idea for another article, contact Chris Baysden, a JofA associate director at [email protected].
Main finance job sites
- Washington DC
- New York City
- Philadelphia cream
- Austin, Texas
- Kansas City, Missouri
Main sourcing sites for funding applicants
- New York City
- Washington DC
- Philadelphia cream
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco