SOX Is a Hot Skill in Accounting
Dona DeZube, Monster Finance Careers Expert
The accounting scandals of the past few years may have ended a few accounting careers, but they’ve also created thousands of jobs for accountants who understand the new accounting rules and procedures that came about as a result. Many companies need auditors who can help them comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (aka SOX), the federal legislation that tightened auditing rules.
“Sarbanes-Oxley increased the demand for accounting in the corporate and public worlds, because it imposed a whole structure and hierarchy of requirements with which companies need to comply with respect to their financial operations and reporting,” says Bea Sanders, director of academic and career development for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. “To comply with these regulations, companies need in-house financial expertise. They’re also looking to external auditors to help them.”
Ironically, companies searching for experienced auditors are having a tough time finding them. That’s because enrollment in university accounting programs began declining in the mid-’90s as students flocked to information technology majors. In fact, Cheryl Levy, national director of recruiting for KPMG, spent a few months looking for accountants with three or more years of experience.
“We know that all of our competition is looking for the same thing,” she says. "There’s a definite dip in terms of quality individuals in the marketplace. That makes us more creative.
By “creative,” she means hiring accountants from small firms and offering training programs for parents returning to work. She also promotes the company’s flexible work programs, which allow employees to work part-time schedules such as three days a week or six months a year.