Lease Changes and Ramifications

2019 will be a big year for the treatment and reporting of leases and the impacts to the lessee, lessor, and company at large are shaping up to be significant.

Origin of Change

In a news release by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), it was noted that these changes have been a long time coming and first began in 2006 with the teamwork of the FASB and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).

Reason for Change

Given the far-reaching effects, the FASB Chair, Russell G. Golden was quoted in the FASB news release explaining what brought about the changes: “the new guidance responds to requests from investors and other financial statement users for a more faithful representation of an organization’s leasing activities. It ends what the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and other stakeholders have identified as one of the largest forms of off-balance sheet accounting.”

Lease Importance

In their publication “IFRS 16: The leases standard is changing: Are you ready?,” PricewaterhouseCoopers explained the importance of leases to businesses and why, depending on the industry, they can be essential to operations: “leasing is an important and widely used financing solution. It enables companies to access and use property and equipment without incurring large cash outflows at the start.”

The importance of leases, therefore, directly correlates as to why these changes are consequential.

Old Method

Before delving into the changes and impacting ramifications, Work US detailed the old method of treating leases and explained that the reason the changes were made was due to a quest for transparency: “under the current accounting standards, leases must be defined as either finance or operating leases. Operating leases are treated as expenses on our income statement, leaving the balance sheet unaffected. Finance leases…are treated as both assets and liabilities on the balance sheet.”

Central Change

The deletion of the finance vs operating lease notation is the central change to the leasing standard and the basis for the impacting ramifications.

The FASB made clear in their news release that the “new ASU will require both types of leases to be recognized on the balance sheet” and “will require disclosures to help investors and other financial statement users better understand the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases. These disclosures include qualitative and quantitative requirements.”

The significance of this cannot be understated as the effects will be felt by not only the parties to the lease but the accounting and IT departments of the company, as well.

Main Effect

Work US explained that due to the erasing of the finance and operating lease distinction, “all leases will be capitalized” and “trillions of dollars worth of leases are expected to be brought onto company books as a result.”


In their article “New leases standard-effective date and sweep issues,” EY published that the “IASB decided to require entities to apply the new leases standard for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019.”

Work US further detailed that “public companies will be required to retrospectively apply the new standards to their 2017 and 2018 financial statements, with nonpublic companies expected to do the same for 2018 and 2019.”

Further changes

EY included the following decisions as central to the changes:

  • Lease modifications treated as a separate new lease;
  • Reassessment of the discount rate for Floating interest rate leases;
  • Costs associated with returning an underlying asset at the end of a lease;
  • Short-term leases and leases of low-value assets in a business combination;
  • Disclosure requirements for leases within the scope of IFRS 5.

These decisions are worth delving into further for any accountant and or accounting department to understand the true parameters of these changes and how the costs and finances of an entity will be truly affected.

For finance professionals that have just changed companies or are interviewing will new companies, studying the impact of these changes would serve you and the new/prospective company greatly.

Impacts and the way forward

PwC divulged that “the pervasive impact of these rules requires companies to transform their business processes in many areas, including finance and accounting, IT, procurement, tax, treasury, legal, operations, corporate real estate and HR.”

Street Fleet, a courier and logistics company, commented that “those in retail, distribution, agribusiness and logistics are expected to be most affected and should be aware of the potential consequences.” Once implemented, they are hoping for the financial transparency that the standard will require.

Work US suggested that given the likely increase of assets and liabilities for companies, short-term leases should be considered as well as ownership, when possible.

PwC put out the below list of ramifications and they are worth exploring:

  • Financial ratios and performance metrics redefined;
  • Stakeholder awareness and communication;
  • Implementation can be cumbersome and costly;
  • New IT systems and robust processes and controls needed;
  • Benefits to lessees beyond compliance and new opportunities for lessors;
  • Unexpected tax consequences may arise.

As January 1, 2019 is a little less than a year away, affected and interested parties should use the upcoming year to fully grasp the changes and the steps that need to be taken.



“Changes to lease accounting come 1 Jan 2019.” Street Fleet, 24 Jan. 2018. <;

“Changes to leasehold accounting standards in 2019.” Work US, 24 Jan. 2018. <;

“FASB Issues New Guidance On Lease Accounting.” Financial Accounting Standards Board, 24 Jan. 2018. <>

“IFRS 16: The leases standard is changing: Are you ready?” PwC, 24 Jan. 2018. <;

“New leases standard-effective date and sweep issues.” EY, 24 Jan. 2018. <$FILE/Devel114-Leases-Oct2015.pdf>


Friedman Williams Gives Back

Even though the traditional season of giving is coming to a close, the employees of Friedman Williams like to give back throughout the year.

We’ve compiled a list of organizations and efforts that our team is involved with throughout the year:

Friedman Williams cares about building strong, great business relationships as well as contributing to and strengthening our larger community. We hope this list inspires you to take action!

Corporate Tax Rate Reduction

The start of a new year always brings about fresh possibilities and resolutions. This year, in 2018, the American economy was given fresh possibilities by way of the tax bill that was passed just before the new year.

The Cut

Joe Harpaz, a Contributor for Forbes, explains that “at roughly 500 pages, the bill contains hundreds of changes to the U.S. tax code, re-configuring everything from individual income tax brackets to the individual mandate requiring every American to carry health insurance. But the real star of the show is corporate tax.”

The reason for corporate tax getting so much positive attention is because the rate was lowered from the current 35% to 21%, according to Forbes.

Craig Richards for the Fiduciary Trust International details that the bill “attempts to encourage capital spending by allowing companies to immediately deduct 100% of their expenses for qualified property that is purchased between September 27, 2017 and January 1, 2023.”

The Reaction

No matter an individual political opinion, a lessened corporate tax rate that spurs on business and helps grow the economy is a plus.

Dinesh Kanabar for The Economic Times says that the bill makes the “US corporate tax rate extremely competitive and will promote substantial growth.”

The New York Times’ Jim Tankersley, Thomas Kaplan and Alan Rappeport explain that “the bill is heavily weighted toward business, which would receive about $1 trillion in net cuts…”

Tankersley et al. included Speaker Paul Ryan’s opinion: “with this plan, we are making pro-growth reforms, so that yes, America can compete with the rest of the world…”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Policy Officer, Neil Bradley, refers to the bill as a “home run for economic growth,” according to The New York Times.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Richard Rubin and Siobhan Hughes noted that business groups are “praising the decision to cut the corporate tax rate starting next year as well as the elimination of the corporate alternative minimum tax.”

Andrew Schmidt, an accounting professor from North Carolina State University who concentrates on taxes, was featured in the WSJ explaining that “unquestionably, these guys have to be jumping for joy…I can’t think of any business-oriented group that has not been pushing for this for the past 15 years.”

Perhaps a central reason for the passage of this tax bill is a compilation of all these reactions, and is embodied in President Trump’s opinion, found in the Wall Street Journal: “our current tax code is burdensome, complex and profoundly unfair.”

An Arduous Implementation

Because of the intricacies of the complex bill, the actual implementation of the new tax bill will require quite a lot of work. Aspects of a company’s finances that will be affected, according to Forbes, are global trade strategy, earnings forecasting and capital expenditures.

Foreign/Offshore Money

Harpaz explains that the tax bill “also contains special provisions that let U.S. companies repatriate their foreign earnings back into the U.S. at a reduced tax rate.” The reduced rate that Harpaz mentions is 12% for cash and 5% for illiquid assets, as explained by Richards in the Fiduciary Trust International.

The result of this, explains Kanabar, is that “US corporates will have no incentive to leave profits overseas, and would rather get them to the US.” The impacts on foreign money is important as the more money that comes back to the US, the better off our economy will be.

Going into more detail, Richards discusses that “any dividends a business receives from an overseas subsidiary could also be deducted as long as the company owns 10% or more of the foreign corporation.”

Tankersley et al. for The New York Times delves into the reasoning, discussing that “the effort is aimed at preventing companies from shifting profits abroad and grabbing back some of the tax revenue on income earned overseas…the White House has said more than $2.5 trillion in American profits are held offshore.”

The bill is not only structured to provide incentives to bring back foreign/offshore money to America, but it includes a financial penalty for sending money back overseas. Tankersley et al. note that “it would also force American subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies to pay a 20 percent excise tax on any payments send back to foreign affiliates.”

In discussing steps that companies should take, Deloitte suggests that “companies should confirm there is appropriate documentation of existing E&P, tax pools, and foreign tax credit carryforwards.”

Responses and Suggested Steps

Joe Harpaz spoke with a group of well over 1,000 tax professionals that work on corporate and trust taxes and found that about 30% are taking a “wait and see” approach to the changes that will be coming forth from the bill, about 14% are explaining the impacts to their company and about 5% are discussing the tax bill with their senior management and Board.

Just like last month’s GAAP change article ( explained, it is very important to keep upper management, the Board, and key stakeholders in one’s company abreast of salient financial updates and changes.

Deloitte highlights that the “bill would require companies to remeasure their deferred tax assets and liabilities as of the date of enactment. Any tax effects resulting from enactment would need to be accounted for in the reporting period of enactment.”

A second recommendation from Deloitte is that “companies should confirm there is appropriate documentation to support adjustments to the resulting deferred tax, income tax payable or income tax receivable balances.”

The same group of tax professionals that Harpaz spoke with also elaborated on how their accounting strategies will be reformed. As he reported it in Forbes, “59% said they were already considering near-term actions…11.2% said they are planning to accelerate or defer expenses, 4.1% are planning to address their offshore assets…”

It will take awhile for each company to become adjusted to the intricacies of the new tax bill, but 2018 is starting with a corporate tax cut that will create business incentives and maintain a strong economy.



Harpaz, Joe. “Corporate Tax Pros Already Prepping for Tax Reform.” Forbes, 18 Dec. 2017. <;

Kanabar, Dinesh. “Corporate taxation: Prepare for a US homecoming.” The Economic Times, 18 Dec. 2017. <;

“Preparing for Tax Reform: Action items necessary to record financial statement impact.” Deloitte, 18 Dec. 2017. <>

Richards, Craig. “Ready for Tax Reform? How to Prepare for the Unknown.” Fiduciary Trust International, 18 Dec. 2017. <;

Rubin, Richard and Hughes, Siobhan. “House, Senate Republicans Reach Deal on Final Tax Bill.” The Wall Street Journal, 18 Dec. 2017. <;

Tankersley, Jim et al. “Republican Plan Delivers Permanent Corporate Tax Cut.” The New York Times, 18 Dec. 2017. <;

All I Want for 2018 is a Job Change: How to Make it Happen

With under 3 weeks to go until the New Year, scenes of family dinners, fireplaces and presents are already dominating peoples’ minds. If one of those “presents” you are hoping for is a different job, you are in luck because December is a great time to put the wheels in motion for a start date with a different company come January.

Apply-Network-Apply some more

If you have been dreaming of sitting behind a desk at a certain company and want to make it come to fruition, put yourself out there and not only apply to open positions that you are certain are in your wheelhouse, but tap into your network to start relationships within that company organically.

Do some research on LinkedIn and try to leverage your contacts for an introduction and take it from there, being sure to let them know of your interest in the company and willingness to meet them for coffee to learn more about the company and their career.

As your relationship grows, make sure to let them know when you’ve applied to positions at the company and if they could put in a good word for you to the HR department/hiring manager. Any personal connections/recommendations from internal employees goes a long way and will likely shorten your wait time in hearing about interviews/next steps.

Even if you don’t have a specific company you are pining for but instead are on the hunt for a change of title, more job growth, culture change, etc., the same process applies. Do some research and come up with a list of companies you think would fit the bill and then put the time into developing personal relationships with people that could open the necessary doors for you.

Call Friedman Williams

As fruitful as your job search can be on your own once you leverage your contacts, working with us will instantly put you in front of hiring managers. Our deep relationships with our clients puts you ahead of the pack and maximizes your chances of securing an interview. And, the more interviews you go on, the better your chances are in getting the offer you want. Let our recruiters help you today: 855-FW-HIRES or

Build your portfolio of skills

Right before the New Year is the perfect time to sharpen your skills and take advantage of workshops, seminars and certification classes that will add knowledge and value to not only your resume but your next potential company! Putting in the time to invest in your career will not only help you be a better employee but it will also showcase you as someone that takes their career seriously and is proactive and engaged in bettering themselves. Knowledge is never wasted!

If you have a solid skill set and the right attitude and personality, it will only be a matter of time until you find a company that aligns with your goals and experience. And December can be that time!

GAAP Changes for 2018 and the Impact on Accounting and Finance Professionals

The 2018 financial reporting season will be an important one as it marks the beginning of the implementation of the new GAAP changes. All companies will be impacted by the GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) changes, perhaps with public companies feeling it the most. Due to this, all current finance and accounting personnel in companies, (and people looking to secure jobs in these sectors), especially public companies, must be aware of the changes and understand their direct impact on a company’s financial projections.

Origin of Changes

As explained in FASB’s (Financial Accounting Standards Board) Release Notes of the Proposed U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy, the US GAAP is under the purview of The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) and the FASB. Each year there is an opportunity to be part of a public review of the GAAP during certain time frames and once it is in its final form, it is put to use by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Implementation Dates

Brett Cohen, Partner, and David Morgan, Senior Manager at PwC detail the varying dates of implementation based on company type. Because the GAAP changes will be so impactful and arduous to put into practice, an optional deferral date was given by the FASB. For public companies, “the proposed deferral would result in the new revenue standard being effective for fiscal years and interim periods within those fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017.” For nonpublic companies, the implementation would begin on December 15, 2018 and December 15, 2019 for “interim periods within fiscal years.”

The deferral date for public companies is already upon us and has presumably been top of mind for the last year within finance departments. For nonpublic companies, the upcoming year or two will be marked with trying to navigate these changes and doing the heavy lifting in terms of drafting a road map for finance and accounting employees moving forward.

Top New Standards

Denise Lugo of Bloomberg has listed and described the top new standards that will be affecting company’s financial statements:

  1. Revenue
  2. Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting
  3. Cash Flows
  4. Simplifying Measurement of Inventory
  5. Classifying Deferred Taxes.

Lugo explains that for #1: Revenue, it correlates to ASC 606 (Revenue from Contracts with Customers) and promises to be “one of the biggest overhauls in financial reporting” and should be taken seriously as it will go into effect in 2018. This standard “requires a five-step process for customer-contract revenue recognition that focuses on transfer of control, as opposed to transfer of risk and rewards…companies are required to provide enhanced disclosures that focus on the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows from contracts with customers.”

#2: Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting is described by Bloomberg as “making it easier to account for stock forfeitures-losses-because they can be accounted for when they occur instead of having to estimate them…it also liberalizes classification of stock compensation awards for tax withholdings and allows a company to withhold the maximum instead of limiting it to the minimum statutory rate.” This is important as the net income of companies may be affected.

The goal of #3: Cash Flows is to “provide clarity for companies on whether an item should be categorized as operating, financing or investing.” Lugo notes that this factor has not previously been included in GAAP.

Simplifying Measurement of Inventory, standard #4, changes “the measurement principle for inventory from lower of cost or market value to lower of cost and net realizable value.” This will affect companies that sell products and sometimes discontinue products.

The revision to #5: Classifying Deferred Taxes is in the interest of simplicity and efficiency as it “requires companies to classify all their deferred taxes as noncurrent instead of having to go through more complex calculations to determine what is going to happen within the year and what happens after that.”

Changing Taxonomy

In their Release Notes, the FASB compared changes to prior years, and from 2017 to 2018, there was a decrease in new elements and the definition changes and deprecated elements stayed relatively the same, though slightly increased.

The FASB noted that all the GAAP changes were done in the interest of stability and simplification.

The Way Forward: Two Methods

Bradley C. Brasser, Rory T. Hood, Joel T. May and W. Stuart Ogg of Jones Day discuss in detail for Lexology the ramifications and necessary considerations for companies as they grapple with their upcoming first financial reporting of 2018 Q1 under the new GAAP.

Brasser et. al. explains the two methods possible for financial disclosure reports:

  1. Full Retrospective Method: “involves recasting prior periods revenue and expenses to reflect the effects of the new standards;”
  2. Modified Retrospective Method: “will apply the new standard to all contracts entered into after the adoption date and involve an opening balance sheet adjustment for the period for prior contracts with remaining obligations.”

Whichever method is chosen, the earnings described in public companies’ annual and interim reports will be greatly impacted, as this Jones Day team has made clear.

Unsure Footing

Even though these changes have been in the works since 2014, many public companies are still very much in the process of studying the new standards as they relate to their financial bottom line and disclosure practices. The new GAAP will impact companies very differently depending on their size, financial state, etc.

This was seen in disclosure reports made over the summer, specifically with Microsoft and Apple. Lexology included both disclosure statements and Apple was brief and a bit vague regarding the implications of the new standards and Microsoft was more specific and divulging, making mention of specific numbers.

As time passes in 2018 and more public disclosure reports are released from public companies, it will become apparent which method of reporting was chosen and what challenges were faced in doing so.

Historic Changes

Companies, especially public companies that report financial earnings and disclosures, are being affected by “the most historic accounting changes to hit U.S. capital markets in decades,” explains Bloomberg’s Lugo. She highlighted that of the changes, what will be affected are “reporting of revenue streams, balance sheets and net income” and are “likely to roil earnings reports.”

What Employers and Employees Should Do

Also in Bloomberg, Neri Bukspan, a Partner with Ernst & Young in their Financial Accounting Advisory Services division, explained that “companies should also consider creating another, more robust, plain-English articulation to the market about what the changes are. The disclosure should include their effects on company results and comparability.”

It is important for companies to articulate these changes in layman’s terms and make correlations to their specific company since the changes are complex and far-reaching.

This is exactly what Annette Messler has and is doing for Friedman Williams. In leading the internal accounting team of Friedman Williams, Annette works closely with her tax accountants for updates and changes relating specifically to the accounting of our recruiting firm. As with her additional clients, when pertinent updates and or changes come along, she assesses the impacts and delivers what the effects will be to the affected client(s). While Annette doesn’t anticipate an impact for Friedman Williams directly, she explained that there is further research and conversations to be had in order to fully understand the scope of the new GAAP standards.

Adam Brown, BDO USA LLP’s Partner and National Director of Accounting told Bloomberg that “companies should talk to their investor relations team or mention the issue on analysts’ calls where the issue would be noticed so that it can be factored in.”

Keeping the key players in the loop regarding the financial health and reporting of a public company is essential, especially in this time of transition and change.

PwC published the article “New accounting guidance creates volatility in effective tax rates” in which they explain the crucial role corporate tax directors will play during the new GAAP implementation. PwC explains that “over the course of the next two years, companies will need to institute incremental processes to attempt to forecast the impact of stock option exercises…or income tax expense…or potential intercompany asset sales.”

Corporate tax directors play a large role in these forecasts and candidates looking to secure such a position need to educate themselves on how this role will be impacted by the implementation process of these new GAAP standards.

PwC went on to state that “companies with significant stock-based compensation programs will likely experience greater income tax expense volatility, as well as a meaningful impact on net income and earnings per share.”

Companies and those employees that work to design compensation packages should be mindful of this volatility as it affects the recipient as well as company financial forecasts.

Brasser et, al. of Jones Day explains in multiple instances of why it is imperative to involve all key employees in the process of implementing these standards.

They pointed out that the SEC has “publicly encouraged companies to provide transition disclosures to investors about the effects of the New GAAP.” This is largely due to the SEC viewing the new standards as being very impactful on disclosure issues and key stakeholders shouldn’t be surprised on how their company will be affected.

Furthermore, “…is the need to involve the audit committee in the process and to ensure that the SAB 74 disclosures are subject to effective internal control over financial reporting…” The SAB 74 (Staff Accounting Bulletin 74) disclosures reference the necessity of reporting how the new GAAP will affect the financial statements of the company.

The general main theme of the suggestions for employees and companies is to be proactive in informing the necessary people of the effects of the new GAAP standards so there are no surprises in how the company’s finances will be affected.

For people looking to elevate their careers within the accounting and financial sector, it would be wise and imperative to become educated on the new GAAP standards.



Brasser, Bradley C. et al. “Are You Ready For “New GAAP” Revenue Recognition? SEC Disclosure Considerations.” Jones Day, 16 Nov. 2017. <;

Cohen, Brett and Morgan, David. “FASB Proposes One Year Deferral of New Revenue Standard.” PwC, 16 Nov. 2017. <;

Lugo, Denise. “New Accounting Rules Spell Big Changes for Public Companies.” Bloomberg BNA, 16 Nov. 2017. <;

Messler, Annette. Personal interview. 27 Nov. 2017.

“New Accounting Guidance Creates Volatility in Effective Tax Rates.” PwC, 16 Nov. 2017. <;

“Proposed U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy Release Notes.” Financial Accounting Standards Board, 16 Nov. 2017. <;



Please Pass the Eggnog: Make the Most of Holiday Networking

As the Halloween decorations are being put away and the menu for Thanksgiving is being drafted, an even more all-encompassing season will soon be knocking on our door: the winter holidays! With them comes abundant opportunities for networking and making / renewing relationships in both your work and personal sphere. Because not everyone jumps for joy at these chances, here are some tips for coming out of the season unscathed and will success!


The old adage of just showing up applies. If networking makes you nervous or you clam up upon walking in a room of new people, simply doing that over and over again will make it (eventually!) become like second nature. And the odds are there will be at least a few other people there that do not have a room full of deep relationships, so finding these people will make you instantly more comfortable.

Did you watch the game last night?

Kicking off a conversation with a light topic and one that is on the minds of most people will allow conversation to flow and a rapport to build. Being mindful of regional sports as well as topics like current events and cultural shows such as musicals or plays in the area will help as you can offer up these topics as a starting point to a conversation with someone new.

I work at __________.

Having an elevator-type pitch of yourself in terms of where you work and what your job title and functions are will not only help connect you to other people but will simultaneously improve your speaking skills. This shouldn’t come across as self-aggrandizing but rather as a brief and specific snapshot of yourself and what your functions could offer other people. Do you work in retail? Explain upcoming sales and promotions. Working in performing arts? Rattle off a few acts that will be of interest to the general public. The more you explain your profession and strong points of your company, the tighter and more nuanced your elevator pitch will become. Over time, you may walk in the door looking forward to offering your elevator pitch instead of focusing on your nerves of networking!

Actively listen.

Too often people get interrupted by someone constantly steering the conversation back to themselves. Don’t be a conversation hog. Instead, let conversation flow between yourself and other people naturally. That ebb and flow will translate to different topics and maybe to different people as attendees come and go. By being attentive and actively listening, this will allow you to pick up on the likes, dislikes, and nuggets of information people offer about themselves that will pay you back in dividends as not only the event progresses, but time in general.

Remember and engage.

Those likes and dislikes that people offered about themselves? By remembering, you have a list of reasons to contact someone in the future. Upcoming networking event you want to see who will be in attendance? Reach out to the people you became friendly with! The state baseball team won the qualifying game that person mentioned they love? Send a congratulatory email! The restaurant chain that that person mentioned they dislike opened a location near you? Send a snarky email to that person to keep the repour going so you can both laugh! This way, a relationship will continue to solidify and once you steer your contacts towards matters of work, you won’t seem like a sales call or stock email sender.

Happy networking!

Q4 Projections and 2018 Forecasting of the Job Market

November is a month that brings the arrival of many things: Thanksgiving, the precipice of the holiday season and the realization that 2018 is almost here. In terms of the job market, Charles Schwab explains that Q4 connotes budget discussions, personnel adjustments and year-end money management. Thankfully, these corporate agenda items will be discussed in the midst of the continuing bull market.

But First, Some Q3 Notes

ADP made some interesting notations about Q3 performances in their “Workforce Vitality Index.”

They noted that the companies making the most hiring were the ones that had fewer than 500 employees.

ADP also found that the strong vitality growth in the construction and manufacturing industries has contributed to men having vitality that hasn’t been this strong for three years, even exceeding the vitality of women.

Strong Q4

“The market has been very strong over the last few years with our clients looking to hire top talent before the end of the year. And plenty have had the budget to do so,” explains James Martinos, Client Account Manager and Senior Recruiter with Friedman Williams.

Experts from Charles Schwab agree.

Historically since 1952, Charles Schwab experts Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop explain that November and December remain among the strongest performing months of the year.

James has found that in his experience Q4 has been “consistently strong” and he is expecting this one “to continue the recent Q4 trend with the budget and head counts being strong for hiring. The need to hire qualified candidates with the overall profit growth of companies is driving the market.”

Sonders, Sorensen and Kleintop reference the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey as reflecting job openings topping over six million, a banner rate.

Prosperous Job Market

Survey participants of Dr. Richard Curtin, Director, Surveys of Consumers at University of Michigan and Brilliant corroborate the same results while also detailing important predictions for Q4.

The survey findings were of over 850 hiring managers and human resources personnel that hire within accounting, finance and information technology. Respondents predict job openings remaining prosperous with also reflecting the most successful hiring being done through recruiting firms.

An interesting survey conclusion is that the participants noted that corporate accounting jobs such as financial analysts and tax accountants were the most common accounting and finance job openings, with software development and database administrators being the most common in IT.

Christopher Lee, National Group Manager for Friedman Williams, feels that “leadership positions and client facing roles are more and more available; a slow-down in hiring is not what is ahead.”

Not only will the job market be plentiful but the rate at which companies will be making these hiring decisions will be fast.

Quick Hiring Decisions

“If we have the right candidate, our clients are moving very quickly,” states Martinos of Friedman Williams.

The Curtin/Brilliant survey data makes the same conclusion that “nearly all open positions are of recent origin. Of the 38 percent of businesses that reported open accounting / finance positions, 34 percent have been unfilled for 3 months or less.”

These rates support the current successful job market as employees feel comfortable to make job changes knowing that competitive salary and benefits will be offered and, oftentimes very significant to candidates, a quick hiring decision will be made.

Q4 Skills to Improve

When looking for a job change, deficiencies in current skills are highlighted for candidates as they move through the interview process (if there are any). Survey participants were asked to identify the biggest skill gaps and within accounting and finance, the largest was problem solving, followed by communication. This shows that not only are technical skills important but so is the ability to translate information and opinions.

An important notation about skills within the hiring process is made by Lee’s 2017 experience: “The battle of talent is always a crucial one for clients. Many clients are driving their hiring with the most interpersonally qualified candidates, even if they are lacking some of the technical proficiencies needed for a position. They desire the will, the drive for learning and the demonstration of a focused work-ethic and can train in areas not yet developed. This has been even present in 2017 and I see this trend continuing in 2018.”

Harvey, Irma and Maria

As strong and stable as Q4 is projected to be, the recent hurricanes will have an impact on the economic data, albeit not at an overwhelming rate. Charles Schwab explains that since the economic numbers have been steadily increasing, rebuilding in the affected areas may constitute a short bump, but will overall not largely affect the economic numbers other than a slight downward curve. In their National Economic Outlook of September 2017, The PNC Financial Services Group noted that gasoline prices were most affected by Hurricane Harvey this past September.

Q4 Glass Half Full

As with any optimistic outlook, there are usually cautionary factors to consider. Charles Schwab thinks that the bull market is here to stay for the time being and will begin to change to a bear market when the stock market begins to sense a recession.

Tight Labor Market

PNC and the Curtin/Brilliant survey are reporting on the tightening of the labor market.

James Martinos has found that in his experience “great candidates are always in need, more so now than ever. The labor market for highly qualified candidates is thin and our clients are relying on us more than ever to find the skilled candidate for their open positions.”

James’ experience supports the survey result of recruiting firms having the most placement success. As the survey points out, companies oftentimes have to pay a higher salary to replace an employee than if they were continuing that person’s modest wage increase.

Inflation as a Factor

Charles Schwab explains that the factor of inflation could come into play in Q4: the “key to watch will be whether traditional measures of wage inflation starts to take hold…” Charles Schwab expert Kleintop further investigated the issue of inflation and found that the current bull market may be undermined if central banks aggressively anticipate inflation through the tightening labor market, specifically the global labor market. He explains that since the current unemployment rate hasn’t been this low since 2001, wage inflation can start to increase at a faster rate next year if unemployment dips even further.

Thumbs Up for Moving Forward

In their Economic Outlook, Edward Jones assesses the current economic climate as indicators for what will most likely happen in the near future. They anticipate the economy to experience continued growth with regulatory relief, confident consumers, low interest rates, wages continuing to modestly grow and increases in spending due to the unemployment rate lowering.

The possibility of tax cuts may even improve the 2018 numbers even more if it comes to fruition.

Christopher Lee anticipates that “projects and initiatives are continuing from the previous year and being green-lighted for the current year. Our business is accustomed to seeing an uptick in hiring during this time of year; our clients want their new and key team members in place early in the year, helping to drive these projects forwards towards the desired results.”

2018 By the Numbers

The PNC Financial Services Group published their National Economic Outlook this past September and their findings align with those of Edward Jones. They anticipate the Real GDP to increase as well as the amount of payroll jobs (Real GDP has been increasing steadily since 2016).

PNC details that “with solid fundamentals for consumer spending, business investment, and the housing market, the U.S. economy will continue to expand throughout 2018. Real GDP growth will be 2.2 percent in 2017 and accelerate to 2.7 percent in 2018, with support from rebuilding, expected tax cuts, and an expanding global economy.”

In terms of the job market, no matter what year or time of the year, Lee explains that “our recruiters know that constant education and reinforcement of critical market information leads to everyone’s desired career results.”

In short, the current and predicted near future is ripe for exploring the job market and feeling confidence about how the stock market has and will continue to perform.
“ADP Workforce Vitality Index 3rd Quarter 2017.” ADP, 20 Oct. 2017. <;

“Economic Outlook.” Edward Jones, 5 Oct. 2017. http://www.edward

Faucher, Gus, et al. “September 2017 National Economic Outlook.” The PNC Financial Services Group, 5 Oct. 2017. <>

Kleintop, Jeffrey. “Infation May Be The Biggest Question For Investors in 2018.” Charles Schwab, 5 Oct. 2017. <;

Kleintop, Jeffrey, et al. “Schwab Market Perspective: Fourth Quarter Fun…of Folly?” Charles Schwab, 5 Oct. 2017. <;

Lee, Christopher. Personal interview. 9 Oct. 2017.

Martinos, James. Personal interview. 9 Oct. 2017.

Wong, Jim. “Brilliant Q4 2017 Accounting, Finance and Information Technology Hiring Forecast.” Brilliant, 5 Oct. 2017. <BFS_2017_Q4_HiringForecast_WEB.pdf>