As summer vacations wind down and students return to school, there is another notable phenomenon that takes place in the world of accounting, finance, tax, and audit – the September surge. This annual event carries significant implications for the final quarter of the year.
This uptick in activity has historical roots and continues to present unique opportunities, despite the occasional illusion of a downturned market in 2023. For those with a background in public accounting, this is an especially promising time to consider making a career change.
History of the September Surge
The phenomenon known as the “September surge” is not a new concept. It refers to the annual increase in economic and financial activities that typically occur during the month of September. This surge in hiring activity typically begins in September and continues through the remainder of the year, with a noticeable impact on job seekers and employers alike.
In 2021, the Labor Department reported that in the month of September alone, more than 4.4 million workers left their current jobs and there were more than 10.4 million job openings total in the United States1. In 2022, we saw this trend in full force when the labor departments reported 10.7 million job openings in September, far surpassing August’s 10.1 million2.
While the reasons behind this surge are multifaceted, there are several historical data points that help shed light on this recurring trend:
- Job Market Activation: September marks the end of the summer vacation season for many professionals. Companies that may have been operating on a slower hiring pace during the summer tend to kickstart their recruitment processes in earnest. For accountants, finance professionals, and tax experts, this means a greater number of job opportunities coming to the fore.
- Fiscal Year-Ends: Many businesses and government entities operate on a fiscal year that ends on September 30th. As this date approaches, organizations ramp up their financial activities to close out the year, reconcile accounts, and prepare for audits. This heightened demand for accounting and finance professionals often creates a surge in job openings and project opportunities.
- Tax Deadlines: In the United States, individual and corporate tax deadlines typically fall on September 15th (for corporations) and September 30th (for individuals who requested an extension). This results in a flurry of last-minute tax preparation and planning, requiring the expertise of tax professionals.
- Budget Planning: After the summer lull, many organizations begin the process of planning their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year in September. This involves financial analysis, forecasting, and strategic planning, all of which necessitate financial professionals’ input.
The Illusion of a Downturned Market in 2023
While the September surge has historically been a reliable phenomenon, the year 2023 brought with it an unusual set of circumstances that might have created the illusion of a downturned market. The ongoing global pandemic, economic uncertainties, and supply chain disruptions have led to market volatility and hesitancy among investors. This environment has left some wondering whether the typical September surge would be disrupted.
Recent reports tell us that though the market is “cooling”, it is still strong- especially in the Accounting and financial sector. In August, employers added 2.7 thousand new jobs in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services3.
Additionally, a recent report states 44% of employers plan to increase hiring in the final quarter of 20234.
However, it’s essential to remember that economic and market conditions can be cyclical. The challenges posed in 2023 are not necessarily indicative of a long-term trend. In fact, the demand for financial and accounting professionals during the September surge might be even more critical during uncertain times. Companies need experts to navigate complex financial landscapes, identify cost-saving opportunities, and provide strategic guidance.
Why It’s a Good Time for a Change
JFSPartners recently conducted a poll of 1008 people, asking “How likely are you to make a job change between now and the end of the year?” to better understand ideas surrounding the current market. Here’s what we found:
Extremely Likely: 28%
For those with a background in public accounting, the September surge represents a golden opportunity to explore new career avenues throughout the remainder of the year. Here’s why:
- Diverse Opportunities: The surge isn’t limited to one industry or sector. Accounting and finance professionals are in demand across various fields, including technology, healthcare, government, and nonprofit organizations. This diversity allows for career expansion and specialization.
- Post-Busy Season Reevaluation: In the world of public accounting, the months leading up to April are often frenetic as firms strive to meet tax deadlines. Once the dust settles, many professionals take stock of their careers and consider whether it’s time for a change. September is an excellent time to explore new roles and take advantage of the self-reflection that follows the busy season.
- High Demand: The demand for skilled accountants, financial analysts, and tax professionals remains strong, especially during the September surge. Employers actively seek individuals with expertise in these areas.
The September surge is more than just a historical pattern; it’s a testament to the enduring demand for accounting, finance, and tax professionals. Despite the challenges that 2023 may present, the final quarter of the year promises to be a dynamic period in these sectors, characterized by growth, opportunity, and the potential for career advancement. Your skills are in demand, and the financial world awaits your expertise.
Are you ready to make a change in your career before the year ends? Click here to schedule a confidential conversation with a recruiter.