NewsForecast 2014 - New Boom In Lateral Hiring Among Metro New York CPA Firms

The leaders of major New York-area CPA firms will increasingly turn to recruiting partners from competing firms to fill gaps in a tightening talent market and to spur growth in a sluggish recovery, according to a 2014 forecast by RF Resources, New York’s leading advisor to CPA firms in succession planning, partner search, and mergers and acquisitions.

“Almost half of the major CPA firms in New York will be looking to recruit the best people they can find to fill lateral positions,” says Robert Fligel, CPA, president and CEO of RF Resources.  “I’ve never seen it so competitive and all signs indicate it will only intensify in 2014.”

The RF Resources study of New York firms shows that as 2014 begins:

  1. Over 40% of all Metro New York CPA firms will be considering partner-rank lateral recruiting as a key strategy for growth and succession.
  2. Among major firms, those with 11 or more partners, 45% are interested, representing a 25% increase from five years ago, a dramatic shift in an otherwise conservative profession.
  3. Among smaller firms, those with 10 or fewer partners, interest in lateral hiring is spreading even faster.  37% are interested, rising from 26% five years ago, a 42% increase – almost double the rate of major firms increased interest.
  4. Fast-track professionals seem to be getting the message. The study shows 29% of partners in Metro New York firms would consider a lateral move, up from 21% five years ago.

“The region’s accounting firm merger mania is creating a pool of accomplished partners who may be suddenly unhappy with the new leadership of the merged firms,” according to Fligel. “In this market, they now have the freedom to choose their firm, instead of, as it used to be, the firm choosing them.”

RF Resources cites three main reasons for the shift toward lateral hiring among Metro New York CPA firms:

  1. The area’s especially intense competitive pressures,
  2. Growing demand for highly sophisticated skills and experience, and
  3. Looming retirements in firms’ top ranks, a situation especially acute among smaller firms.

The study is based on interviews with more than 150 practicing professionals, partners and top executives in the last six months.

“While traditional hiring methods still have their place in the workforce, lateral hiring is allowing firms to take less risk when seeking potential candidates, while still obtaining top-notch talent,” Fligel says. “Firms are achieving faster growth and avoiding the potential pitfalls of untested and unknown hires. Firms are also acquiring more experienced partners who are able to hit the ground running. These partners often bring with them a book of business and bring new niches to the firm.”

Fligel says it is no accident the top in-demand specialties reflect some of the region’s largest and fastest-growing sectors, including:

  1. Financial Services and Hedge Funds
  2. Real Estate and construction
  3. International Tax
  4. Healthcare
  5. Entertainment and Media

“For the partner who might be open to a new opportunity, a fresh start with a new firm can be an invigorating and more rewarding experience, in addition to resolving issues previously holding them back.  Firms and partners alike are making smarter and more informed decisions, which are benefiting both the firms, and the professionals.  It’s good for the firms, good for the CPAs, and, ultimately, good for clients and the profession”, according to Fligel.


RF Resources focuses exclusively on helping New York metro region CPAs and CPA firms plan and implement successful growth and succession strategies.  As advisor, intermediary and consultant, the firm represents buyers and sellers, growth-minded CPA’s and retirement-minded practitioners.  To learn more about RF Resources and how we can assist you, please visit our web site,


Robert Fligel, CPA, is a recognized specialist in M&A, search, and consulting for CPA firms and partners with an in-depth focus on the NY Metro market.  He is a CPA, licensed by the State of New York and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He began his career in audit and tax services at a New York City CPA firm, became an audit manager at a Fortune 500 company and an associate at a national search and recruiting firm.  He was director of human resources for a “Big 4” accounting firm before co-founding what would become one of New York’s largest and most successful executive search firms.  Fligel is active in The New York State Society of CPAs, the National Conference of CPA Practitioners and other professional organizations.  He has placed countless partners and senior professionals in CPA firms, Fortune 500 and privately held companies.  His blog can be found here.

Media Contact: Cheryl Rigdon, RF Resources, LLC, 212-490-9700,

Robert Fligel

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