by John Callegari
With the acquisition of Germany’s Deutsche Card Services and its 100 employees, EVO Payments International, a payment processor, also wants to add a handful of financial and accounting professionals at its Melville headquarters.
But CEO Jim Kelly said the company is having a hard time doing that. “The market must be getting better, because we can’t find them,” Kelly said this week. “And I know it’s not a result of the salaries we’re offering them.”
He’s not alone.
Businesses across the nation are struggling to find talented accounting and finance professionals, specifically business systems analysts, tax accountants and auditors. And they’re coping by seeking out less qualified individuals or increasing the salaries they’re willing to pay.
Nationwide, almost 60 percent of companies surveyed in Robert Half International’s annual professional employment report noted it is at least somewhat challenging to find needed accounting and finance employees.
To combat the shortage, Dawn Fey, district president of New York City-based Robert Half International, which helps place accounting and finance professionals at companies in the New York metropolitan area, suggested companies limit their wish list for potential employees to only a couple of must-have skills.
“Some of the skills clients are looking for are still so new and different that few have them,” Fey said. “For example, Dodd-Frank is new for everyone, so not that many people are completely versed in it yet. Expecting job candidates to be completely up on that along with several other skills may not be realistic.”
The current 4.7 unemployment rate for accounting and finance professionals sits well below November’s 7.7 percent national unemployment rate for all occupations. For companies seeking younger talent, the supply is more readily available than for mid- to senior-level professionals, but the key is to get a first crack at them. Michael Nugent, director of the MBA and Finance program for Stony Brook University, recommended companies keep close contact with the career centers at local universities to reach potential employees before they hit the job market.
But with much of the demand for mid- to senior-level finance professionals, some companies have turned to outsourced accounting professionals to meet their needs while combing the market for permanent replacements.
And rightfully so, some would argue. A lot of these outsourced professionals will be able to work with integrating existing internal systems into software such as Salesforce (learn more about these type of integrations on the Salesforce website). This is often a skill that in-house accountants lack.
Huntington Station-based CFO Consulting Partners, a provider of interim and part-time CFO services, has seen its business increase 25 percent in the past year, according to co-founder and senior managing partner Allan Tepper, with the majority of that stemming from smaller to midsize companies and community banks.
“When the banks are feeling pressure from regulators, they must react, so they try to staff up,” Tepper said. “We usually compete with talented people who are in between jobs, but that kind of competition has been taken off the table right now.”
Accounting and financial employees are the second most in-demand jobs nationwide according to a new study by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International. The study noted 37,123 accounting and finance jobs have been added since 2010, a 3 percent increase, second only to software developers, which increased by 70,872 jobs during that same time period. And the number of jobs in accounting and finance is expected to grow between 16 and 23 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Starting salaries for accounting and finance positions, estimated at about $61,000 in 2010 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, are expected to rise an average of 3.3 percent in 2013, according to an annual employment report from Robert Half International. The report noted there will be a particular need for Financial Analysts and business analysts who can support growth opportunities, as well as staff and senior accountants.
While the need for more finance professionals continues to grow, the number of degrees conferred nationally in accounting and finance has remained relatively stable. Locally, Stony Brook University has actually been drawing down the number of students admitted to its business school from 1,200 in 2010 to 1,000 in 2011 and 900 in 2012. This comes at a time when 68 percent of accounting majors nationwide have received job offers, the highest percentage of any major according to a report from the National Association of Colleges & Employers.
Nugent said the school is making its entry requirements more stringent in an effort to lower class sizes. Stony Brook does not have enough professors to handle both the undergraduate and graduate workloads, so the school is focusing on expanding its MBA program. The decrease in undergraduate admissions should only be temporary, Nugent said.
“We’re in the process of expanding the finance and accounting faculty by between four and eight new hires in the next year,” he said. “Once we have adequate staffing, then we can again look at
Richard Paris, CEO of Melville-based Marcum Search, the staffing division of accounting firm Marcum, said he’s seen a large increase in demand for finance and accounting professionals
across the nation for the last six months.
“We have 75 recruiters who work for us, and we are overwhelmed with work,” said Paris, who noted the company just completed an acquisition of Connecticut-based search firm Horton
International on Dec. 1. “We’re having to turn down some work.”
Marcum has even turned to some of its own to help stem the shortage, creating a financial incentive program for all staff members who refer qualified accounting and auditing professionals. The incentive is being used to recruit tax and assurance professionals for Marcum’s offices in Melville, New York City, Pennsylvania, Boston, Connecticut, South Florida and San Francisco.
Paris said the uptick in demand for financial professionals stems from the economy’s turning around enough that companies can afford to fill vacancies in crucial positions like accountants and auditors.
“Companies wait and try to do more with less during bad times,” he said. “Then they backfill in their overhead positions when there’s a rebound. That’s what we’re seeing on the corporate side.”
Nugent agreed, saying companies locally now have to again contend with the large Wall Street firms that have recovered from the 2008 recession. “You have a lot of extra demand here because of New York City,” Nugent said.
And for larger companies with multiple offices, like EVO Payments International, if the talent market has soured in one area, it may be worthwhile to look elsewhere.
“Most of the countries we’re getting into require some work done locally, so while we’ll keep attempting to centralize some of our administrative work [on Long Island], we’ll also staff up our offices in these other countries,” Kelly said.
The partners of the firm are pleased to announce that Eric Segal, head of the firm’s Financial Institutions practice, has been admitted to the partnership as a Managing Director. Eric joined the firm in 2009 and has significantly grown the Financial Institutions practice over the past three years. During that time, he has been the Interim CFO for several public and private banking institutions, and has managed other Interim CFO and senior-level project engagements, such as providing regulatory advisory and compliance services, completing several SEC restatements, developing strategic and capital plans, and assisting in the execution of an M&A transaction. Eric is a member of the NJ Bankers Association and the Financial Management Society (FMS). For a full bio on Eric, please click through to Our Team.
“Panel: Exploring Entrepreneurship as an Option: Maybe not for me….or is it?”
Moderator: Mark O’Connell, Business Development Executive, Grant Thornton LLP
– Tim Anglim, Founder, YesCFO
– Paulette Chatman, President of Always Best Care
– Dana Price founder of Price Advisory Services
– Allan Tepper, Founder, CFO Consulting Partners
Join us for an informative and exciting afternoon. First, with a panel presentation highlighting trends, current themes, the attractiveness, pitfalls and financing considerations embedded in pursuing an entrepreneurial path. The panel will feature leading experts in the field including a business school professor, an owner of a franchise brokerage business and an executive coach.
The panel presentation will be followed by an interactive discussion with individuals who have reinvented themselves and their careers, carving a path from the corporate suite to the entrepreneurial “garage.”
Location: The Union League Club (Library-2nd Floor), 38 East 37th Street (Cross Street-Park Ave), New York, NY 10016
CPE Credit: This session qualifies for two (2) credits
Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Cost: FEI Members: Complimentary
Qualified FEI Potential Member Guests: Complimentary (Contact Andrew Chase to register)
All Non-members & Guests: $20.00
Dress Code: Traditional business attire, jacket and tie for gentlemen and equally formal attire for ladies, is required by the Union League.
For any further information contact:
Andrew Chase, NYC Chapter Administrator
Financial Executives International (FEI) is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.learningmarket.org .
Instructional method: live
Recommended CPE Credits: 2.00
Experience Level: Basic
Prerequisites/advance preparation: none
For FEI CPE credits, one credit hour equals 50 minutes according to NASBA guidelines. Some states boards may differ on how many minutes constitute a credit hour. Contact your state board for more information. Available in all State except those that do not accept Web-based self-study credits (Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and West Virginia).
For more information regarding administrative policies such as complaint and refund, please contact our offices at 973-765-1029.
NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR THE 10th ANNUAL M&A AWARDS AT NEW YORK GALA
NEW YORK, January 4, 2012 —The M&A Advisor announced the winners of the 10th Annual M&A Advisor Awards to a lively, sold-out crowd at the 10th Annual M&A Awards Gala at the New York Athletic Club on Tuesday December 13. The event was hosted by Bloomberg Televison’s Julie Hyman and featured a keynote address by former Massachusetts Governor and leading M&A counsel, William F. Weld.
“The award winners represent the best of the M&A industry in 2011 and earned these honors by standing out in a group of very impressive finalists,” said Roger Aguinaldo, CEO and Founder of The M&A Advisor.” From the lower middle market transaction to the multi-billion Deal of the Year, we are recognizing the leading transactions, firms and individuals that represent the highest levels of performance.”
An independent body of expert judges that span the M&A industry determined the ultimate recipients of the awards. Winners were revealed “Academy-Award style” at the gala.
In addition to the 2011 honorees, leading M&A attorney H. Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell, was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award. In what has become a tradition at the annual black-tie gala, the M&A Advisor inducted 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, Harvey Miller and Bruce Rauner, of Weil Gothsal and GTCR, respectively, in addition to H. Rodgin Cohen. 2011 International M&A Leadership Award Recipients Howard Morgan and Andrew Rice, of The Jordan Company and Castle Harlan, respectively, were also inducted into the M&A Advisor Hall of Fame.
The gala is the premier celebration of the year for the industry’s leading Dealmakers. The 10th Annual Awards was held in conjunction with the 2011 M&A Advisor Summit that featured over 400 of the industry’s leading M&A professionals participating in exclusive interactive forums led by over 65 M&A, media, academic, and political stalwarts. M&A in the BRIC’s; US Financial Reform – Dodd Frank, the Volcker Rule and the Future of Banking; the Eurozone Crisis and The Great M&A Debate on the Global Economic Outlook were just some of the key feature sessions.
THE M&A ADVISOR
Since 1998, The M&A Advisor has been presenting, recognizing the achievement of and facilitating connections between the world’s leading mergers and acquisitions, financing and turnaround professionals with a comprehensive range of services including M&A SUMMITS; M&A AWARDS; M&A CONNECTS™; M&A ALERTS™, M&A LINKS™ and M&A MARKET INTEL™. To learn more visit: www.maadvisor.com.
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The M&A Advisor
Banks teetering. Deals unraveling. New York business holds its breath, hoping this September isn’t anything like that September.
The economy is on the brink—again—and while officials overseas and in Washington try furiously to stabilize teetering banks, this time in Europe, business leaders in New York are beginning to fear the worst. Again.
“In my 30 years of business, this is the second-worst business environment I’ve ever seen, after the fall of 2008 and early 2009,” said Allan Tepper, co-founder of CFO Consulting Partners, which advises manufacturers and distributors. “Frozen is the word that best describes things.”
The bunker mentality is back. Companies are revising projections for next year and cutting back on new investments or hires, reining in discretionary costs such as marketing, and spending only on projects that promise immediate payoffs.
Many local businesses aren’t retrenching, of course. And today’s economic crisis differs in significant ways from the one in September 2008, when the housing bust drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy, nearly destroyed American International Group and paralyzed the entire financial system. Current events are less cataclysmic, at least so far, and focus more on the health of European nations and the viability of the big banks that lent heavily to them than on financial and economic problems centered in the U.S.
Still, while New York’s economy fared better than the nation’s in the recession that officially ended in June 2009 and recovered faster and more strongly, that outperformance ended this past June, when the Big Apple’s private-sector job growth suddenly trailed the national rate.
The city’s economy, ever-tethered to the financial markets, took further hits when stocks fell over the summer as Washington fought over the nation’s debt limit, Standard & Poor’s cut the U.S. credit rating, and Europe’s economic problems extended from Greece and Spain to Italy and even France.
It’s all been enough to spook recession-battered businesses and investors alike. In the past few weeks, Zynga, Groupon and Facebook have been forced to postpone their initial public offerings. Corporate merger activity declined by 18% last month, and more buyers are getting cold feet at the altar. Last week, Avis Budget abandoned its yearlong pursuit of Dollar Thrifty, citing market conditions, and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger called off his $170 million acquisition of the Clock Tower, the landmarked office building overlooking Madison Square Park that he had intended to convert into a luxury hotel and condominium.
Meanwhile, many companies are finding it tougher to borrow money, particularly in the short term. Issuance of commercial paper, the ultra-short-term debt that some companies use to pay suppliers or make the week’s payroll, has declined for nine consecutive weeks.
“It’s a constant beat-down,” groaned market analyst Meredith Whitney at a conference last week. Moments later, Larry Fink, CEO of money management giant BlackRock, urged European officials to bail out their banks much like the U.S. did. “Can we trust governments to do what they did in ’08 and “09?” Mr. Fink said. “If we felt comfortable that Europe will do right thing … [we would] have a dramatic rally.”
Snip, snip, snip
The recent waves of uncertainty forced OwnEnergy, a Brooklyn developer of wind-powered energy farms, to start a cost-cutting program late last week. The directive is for the firm’s 15 employees to spend less on travel and conferences, while delaying spending on less mature projects. Cutbacks are required, said CEO Jacob Susman, because there’s less financing available for alternative energy and the slow economy has cooled demand for electricity.
“We don’t know how long this economic situation is going to last, so we have to be agile where we can,” Mr. Susman said.
Building sales are still getting done but are taking between four and six weeks to close, instead of the two to three weeks seen just a few months ago, said Robert Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal Realty Services. He noted that lenders are now inspecting building boilers—something that is never done in more robust markets. “Buyers and banks want to dot every I and cross every T,” Mr. Knakal said.
The jitters extend to Broadway, already facing a long-in-the-making fall season that will see 15 shows open, compared with 21 two years ago (see “Chilly fall
season on Broadway,” this issue).
“I wouldn’t do a big musical at this time,” said veteran producer Stewart Lane, who is hoping to find backers for a new musical with songs by John Denver. He figures his production will cost around $6 million, much less than the approximately $16 million for a major show.
Marketing and public-relations efforts are also heading for the wayside as corporate giants streamline.
“I’ve spoken to clients who say they’re going to have fewer PR agency partners next year than this year; that’s going to be true of marketers as well,” said Tom Morrissy, executive vice president of client solutions at Synaptic Digital, a video communications company whose clients include General Motors, Google and American Express.
Consumers are also hunkering down. Nat Wasserstein, a crisis manager at restructuring advisory firm Lindenwood Associates, said that retail clients aren’t replenishing their inventories as quickly, while some are slower to fill back orders because that would require them to spend money for supplies. Times are toughest among sellers of housing-related items, such as plants for landscaping or windows. But even businesses that are not in trouble are more cautious than in the past.
“People are so risk-averse, it’s clogging the engine of growth,” Mr. Wasserstein said.
The city’s hospitality business appears to have avoided the economy’s wrath and the euro’s summertime meltdown, at least so far. Tourism remains strong, thanks in part to the weak U.S. dollar and also to the fact that more moderately priced hotel rooms can be found here now than in 2008, said John Fox, a senior vice president at PKF Consulting.
High-end restaurants appear to be thriving still. Drew Nieporent, founder of Myriad Restaurant Group, which owns the Tribeca Grill, Nobu and others, insisted it’s “business as usual.”
“We have a very busy party season now,” he said. “That bodes well for the holiday season.”
Contributors: Theresa Agovino, Lisa Fickenscher, Matthew Flamm, Daniel Massey, Elaine Pofeldt and Miriam Kreinin Souccar
Correction: Tom Morrissy is executive vice president of client solutions at Synaptic Digital. His surname was misspelled in an earlier version of this article, originally published online Sept. 18, 2011.
A version of this article appears in the September 19, 2011, print issue of Crain’s New York Business.
As seen: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20110918/FREE/309189977
Along with spiking the demand for capital and prioritizing the focus on balance sheets, the global financial crisis has spawned a “Perfect Storm” for Bank Secrecy Act compliance and money laundering risks. As CFOs struggle to preserve capital and manage costs of capital, BSA/AML failures can result in significant unbudgeted costs. An inherent consequence of these failures is negative publicity. The prospects of unbudgeted, significant expenses and the potential increased costs of obtaining capital during a period of reputational challenge are worthy of senior management’s attention.
The “Perfect Storm” consists of prosecutorial challenges, regulatory challenges and the challenges of the tracking the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Prosecutorial risks are being driven by a significant increase in criminal investigations. In November 2009 President Obama issued an Executive Order that created the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to investigate criminal activities that contributed to the credit crises. This is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to pursue financial crimes. The number of criminal subpoenas served on financial institutions will increase as a result. Each criminal subpoena tests the effectiveness of your company’s AML Program.
The regulatory challenge consists of heightened regulatory priorities relating to BSA/AML compliance. In 2010 FINRA issued its new FINRA Rule 3310 on money laundering and released its “Updated Small Firm Template” relating to AML Programs. In its 2010 Annual Examination Priorities Letter LIMRA identified fraud detection and anti-money laundering as priorities; and, announced the formation of an “Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence”.
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council released its updated BSA/AML Examination Manual in April 2010 that includes several significant updates and additions regarding regulatory expectations for AML Programs.
The Dodd-Frank law has been estimated to require regulators to create 242 rules, conduct 67 studies and issue 22 periodic reports. It requires a GAO study to determine the need for a self-regulatory agency for private funds to be completed within a year.
The law also provides the SEC with the authority to pay whistle blowers millions of dollars for information regarding misconduct by registered firms. This has immediate implications for registered hedge funds.
We have once again entered into a period of high risk for BSA compliance and money laundering.
The unbudgeted costs of non-compliance and accompanying publicity challenges raise this issue to the executive and board levels.
CFO Consulting Partners has the knowledge, skills and ability to assist your company during this heightened risk environment.
Contact us to explore what we can do for you.
First National Bank of Chester County (West Chester, PA): Eric Segal was recently named the Interim CFO and Principal Accounting Officer for this $1.3 billion bank. Some of Eric’s principal roles are to restate and/or issue applicable SEC reports (such as 10-Q’s, 10-K’s) and to produce documents that meet certain bank regulatory requirements. First Chester is in the process of merging with Tower Bancorp. “Being an interim CFO for a company in the process of being acquired is a typical role provided by CFO Consulting Partners,” says Eric. See http://www.implu.com/releases/2010/20100304/37637/implu_viewer for more information.
NYS Society of CPAs (NYSSCPAs): Allan Tepper has been named Chairman of the Banking Committee of the NYSSCPAs for the 2010/2012 years. Allan has been a member of the NYSSCPAs for over 25 years and a Banking Committee member since 2008. Please visithttp://viewer.zmags.com/publication/5fb9dae8#/5fb9dae8/8 for more information.
Financial Executives Networking Group: Marc Engel has been named Chairman of the Internal Audit Special Interest group. He was previously Chairman of the Litigation Services Committee at the New York State Society of CPAs. Seehttp://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100328/FREE/303289992 for more information.
AccountingWeb: Marc Palker has recently written an article, “A day in the Life of an Interim CFO” that was published in the AccountingWeb.com. Marc covers such topics as SEC reporting, cash management, and biggest challenges. See http://www.accountingweb.com/topic/accounting-auditing/day-life-interim-cfofor more information.
Accountant/Attorney Networking Group: On Thursday October 14, 2010, Marc Palker was elected Executive Vice President of this group. This is a networking group for Accountants and Attorneys. See www.aangny.org for more information.
As most of our readers know, The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed by President Obama on July 21, 2010. This financial reform will introduce a myriad of changes to financial regulation, which raises the question: what are the implications of this act to You?
Many articles have been written, but the three following links provide what CFO Consulting Partners believes is a comprehensive examination by three organizations dedicated to the needs of financial and banking executives.
In the opinion of Allan Tepper, Chairman of the Banking Committee of the NYSSCPAs and co-founder of CFO Consulting Partners LLC, the Act should help avoid a similar banking crisis, and is thus a net plus to our financial system and, by extension, to our economy. However, regulations alone cannot replace the exercise of sound judgment on the part of bank officers whose vision may sometimes become clouded by the profit motive.
CFO Consulting Partners is pleased to announce that we will now be servicing Long Island.
273 Walt Whitman Road, Suite 305
Huntington Station, NY 11746