06Jun

Welcome back to #WeAreGreenKey, where we shine a spotlight on our powerhouse recruiting team.  

We met up with Alyssa Durham, Senior Recruiter on the Accounting & Finance National team at Green Key. With previous experience in recruitment, Alyssa joined the firm six months ago and is already blending with her team and making strides. 

What are the biggest green flags you see in your candidates? 

Anybody who can speak really well. Being able to concisely answer a question and get your message across is crucial. Candidates should let their interviews run as a true conversation, rather than providing book-long answers or going on a tangent. Speaking professionally is key in this industry and one of the biggest green flags when I meet with candidates. 

So, candidates should know how to elaborate on their experiences, while also keeping the conversation flowing seamlessly. 

Absolutely.  

Are there any major hiring trends happening in Accounting & Finance right now? 

Companies want to go back to the office, which they find is better for collaboration. This can be challenging because candidates still want to work remotely. So, we have to have direct and honest conversations on this topic. Sometimes they choose not to move forward because of that, which is totally fine, but a lot of them are understanding. 

How many days a week are your clients expecting employees in the office? 

I would say we’re truly getting a big push for four and five days back in office. 

What are some major questions your candidates should be asking in interviews? 

Firstly, always do your research on the company. You want to go in educated on their mission and values. Some good questions to ask might be: 

  • “If I’m here six months to a year, what would my production look like?” 
  • “What brought you to this company?” – This question takes down the hiring manager to candidate wall and allows for a personal conversation. 

In terms of their own experience, what should they be bringing up? 

Anything in the job description. Focus on the job specifics. For example, if you’re interviewing for a private equity or hedge fund, use key words pulled from the bullet points of the job description. 

In terms of education, becoming a CPA is how you’ll advance your accounting career. A master’s degree is not necessary; many of these companies want to grow their people organically and on the job. If it’s something an employee really wants to achieve, it can become a conversation with the company on whether they’ll sponsor you to go back to school. 

What are your goals for 2023? 

I want to get a good book of business started back up after previously working for an international agency. I’m newer to Green Key, so I’m starting fresh with all of my clients. The goal is really to place as many people as possible.  

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Accountants Are Facing a Tax Season Like No Other

Accountants may want to stock up on extra strength aspirin this tax season because, in the words of the chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt, it will be “one for the ages.”

In an interview with Accounting Today, Mark Steber ticked off the issues tax accountants must confront before they even begin a return. There are the stimulus payments, and the details of the CARES and SECURE acts. There have been changes to the rules around retirement plan borrowing and small business loans, and, for those individuals who lost jobs, unemployment benefits and withholding on those benefits.

“There are so many issues to keep front of mind — a lot more to manage this year than any year in the past decade,” Steber said.

And then there are the taxpayers themselves and the surprises they may find.

Steber, and Mark Luscombe, principal analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting, both predict that accountants are likely to have more than a few clients who believe their unemployment benefits were not taxable or failed to have withholding taken out.

Unemployment is taxable and with the extra $600 supplement so many received last year, those who didn’t have taxes withheld as they do from a W-2 paycheck may be facing a hefty tax bill. Complicating the situation is that some states tax unemployment while others don’t.

Besides the surprise about the taxability of unemployment benefits, Seber said many taxpayers who have been working from home are expecting a deduction.

A survey by his company found 80% expected a tax break for working from home. “But,” said Steber, “The deduction can only be taken by the self-employed. Because of the pandemic, a lot more people have a home office, but a lot more people do not necessarily get the tax deduction for a home office.”

Barbara Weltman, a tax attorney and author of Small Business Taxes 2021, told Accounting Today that the big issue for accountants right now isn’t necessarily taxes but helping their business clients complete the paperwork for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Said Weltman, “The biggest challenge will be finding the time to devote to counseling on the PPP loans while preparing tax returns.”

Then there are the conversations accountants need to have with their clients, including about fees and the additional work this year’s returns will require.

“These may be time-consuming, so it’s best they are addressed early in the filing season,” she said.

“A lot of the work is automated and practitioners will rely on their software, but they will still be working longer and harder as a result of all the law changes and uncertainties.”

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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