It took ‘a whole year to find the person I’m hiring’: Small business owner

Small business owner Nesha Pai said it took her a year to find a strong accountant for her accounting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“If you’re a big company, maybe you have a bigger pool, but for the small company – for me, for example, it’s been very difficult,” Pai said. “It took me a whole year to find this person I’m hiring now.”

Pai reviewed more than 150 resumes and interviewed about 10 people for the part-time position, which offered $25-35,000 a year, benefits and a 401,000 matching contribution plan.

“It’s just hard to find good talent,” she said.

Pai CPA already has five employees, serving approximately 80 small business accounting needs across different industries. Demand has skyrocketed during the pandemic as small businesses have sought accounting services to apply for PPP loans and survive lockdowns.

“My demand far exceeds my capabilities,” Pai said. “Suddenly the floodgates opened for me. I have the demand, I don’t have the capacity.”

Kayla Marx places an order outside the door of the Day’s Espresso and Coffee Shop (REUTERS/Bryan Woolston)

“This is something I have never witnessed in 30 years of activity”

Al Cediel, the owner of the ALFA driving school in Atlanta, faces the same problem.

Cediel says business increased once classes went live during the shutdowns. However, his job postings as $20-an-hour drivers haven’t attracted many applicants over the past two years.

“In these two years I have only been able to hire 2 qualified people and I am looking for at least 3 more,” Cediel said.

“It’s very difficult. It’s something I’ve never witnessed in 30 years of business,” he added. “I had to put myself as an owner, in the position to do everything.”

“Humans are the fossil fuel engine of growth”

Hiring is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses, according to WSJ/Vistage Poll small and medium enterprises.

“Humans are the fossil fuel engine of growth, and there just aren’t enough humans for the number of jobs,” said Joe Galvin, director of research at Seen told Yahoo Finance. “We still see 54% of our members say their inability to hire is impacting their ability to operate at full capacity.”

Galvin added, “52% of our community still plan to increase membership in the coming year.”

Katherine Anderson and Zach Lucido plan a delivery schedule as part of an effort organized by The London Plane restaurant to donate more than 1,000 meals a day to local hospital workers on the front lines of the coronavirus disease (COVID) outbreak -19), at the London Avion in Seattle, Washington, U.S., March 20, 2020. REUTERS/David Ryder

Katherine Anderson and Zach Lucido plan a delivery schedule as part of an effort organized by restaurant The London Plane. (REUTERS/David Ryder)

Survey shows economic conditions led one in five small businesses to slow their pace of hiring, with just 8% implementing hiring freezes, layoffs or rescinding job openings .

Compared to their early 2022 hiring plans, most small businesses’ plans (70%) have not changed. Small businesses say the main factors that help attract talent are higher salaries, benefits and bonuses.

“Me included, and even my restaurant and retail clients face this. In order to attract this higher talent pool, we have to offer higher compensation,” Pai said. “There is almost despair.”

Pai says she is always on the lookout for more accountants for her growing business.

“I know it’s out there because before 2020 when I was hiring, I had a lot of candidates to choose from at the time,” she said. “I’m still looking – because it might take me another year.”

Ines Ferre is a reporter for Yahoo Finance and covers the US stock market from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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