The Bay Area’s Top 5 In-Demand Accounting and Finance Consulting Skills of 2018


Are you looking to advance or launch your career as an accounting or finance consultant? Here are 5 skills Bay Area employers will be looking for this year.

By: David Sullivan, Partner, DeWinter Consulting

Do you work as a consultant? Have you considered exploring a career in consulting? Becoming a career consultant can be a lucrative career path for those who have refined their technical skill sets over the years. Not only do you remove yourself from the politics of the 9-to-5 workday, but you also gain flexibility and have the option to work on a variety of different engagements which results in developing new skill sets and experience to add to your resume.

Each year the DeWinter Group’s contract and consulting division, DeWinter Consulting, works with hundreds of finance and accounting consultants who assist Bay Area employers with everything from seasonal accounting support to overseeing the timely completion of special projects. We speak with our clients daily regarding the challenges they currently face to understand what professional resources they need to get the job done.

Despite being only three weeks into the new year, we have already identified several trending needs for accounting and finance departments across the Bay. Some carried over from 2017. Some are resulting from recent legislation and market trends. If you are or have considered consulting, now is a better time than ever to understand what skills the market is in need of to further advance or even launch your career as a consultant.

Here are the most in-demand accounting and finance skills in the Bay Area as we enter 2018:

  1. Revenue Recognition
  2. ASC 606 Accounting Pronouncement
  3. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Reporting
  4. International Consolidation
  5. Payroll Management

1. Revenue Recognition

That’s right! Revenue recognition, or “rev rec”, is in such high demand right now it made the top two in-demand skills on our list. Revenue recognition tops our charts in 2018 as Bay Area’s most in-demand skill as a result of the complex, high-risk nature of revenue recognition work paired with a large number of IPO’s and publicly-traded tech companies in the Bay Area. Although many Bay Area employers have internal accountants who assist with revenue recognition responsibilities, companies continue to seek out consultants as a secondary means to ensure the integrity of the company’s financials with their knowledge and expertise.

Becoming a Revenue Recognition Consultant

The easiest measure of gauging a consultant’s technical abilities when it comes to revenue recognition is a review of their direct experience. Director-level revenue recognition consultants spend a minimum of 10 years working in a variety of environments and industries to hone their understanding before becoming consultants. This experience is gained from working with a variety of clients as a public accountant or through natural career progression in corporate accounting. Ongoing education is also key to ensuring the viability of the work they do for clients.

2. Revenue Recognition Standard, ASC 606

Although ASC 606 falls under the umbrella of revenue recognition, we’ve decided to make this an in-demand skill all on its own this year due to the havoc it is currently wreaking within the accounting departments of many Bay Area tech companies. Pronouncements like ASC 606 don’t appear very often, but when they do they ‘change the rules’ for companies operating within specific industries. This one arguably affects the software industry the most given the complex nature of the software industry’s revenue recognition process.

Becoming an ASC 606 Consultant

Again, only folks with extensive, hands on revenue & contract review experience become ASC 606 consultants.  Because the pronouncement is so new, finding a real life ASC 606 consultant is like finding a unicorn!  Those interested in becoming an ASC 606 expert apply their knowledge of prior standards to make informed decisions when updating a company’s revenue recognition structure to align with the new pronouncement.

3. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Reporting

Number 3 on our list is SEC Reporting. When third-party reporting is involved, deadlines quickly become bottlenecks for a company’s accounting department. With SEC Reporting, the accurate and timely filing of a company’s 10-K and 10-Q is key to ensuring confidence in a company’s financials and, more importantly, that stock prices are not adversely affected! As a result, companies continue to seek additional support to ensure timely & accurate filings are consistently provided to public markets.  

Becoming an SEC Consultant

SEC consulting is a great career path for 10 - 15 year accountants who have experience in financial reporting and/or SEC compliance. The review of a company’s financials is a very detail-oriented (and sometimes monotonous) process that is quite high risk.  Consultants generally assist companies with SEC reporting for only a few months of the year and will often work as Interim Accounting Directors or Interim Controllers to diversify their workload and gain new experiences.

4. International Consolidation

International consolidation ranks no. 4 on our list for 2018. The need for consultants with experience in international consolidation continues to remain in-demand due to the maturity of the Bay Area market and large number of publicly-traded companies headquartered in our area. Companies face a huge time pressure as a result of third-party reporting and compliance. The added complexity of foreign currency conversion only compounds the ongoing need for timely, expert guidance and professional support.

Becoming an International Consolidations Consultant

International consolidations consultants have a minimum of 5 - 8 years working in public accounting or corporate accounting. They have first-hand experience working with currency conversion and are extremely detail oriented.

5. Payroll Management

Last but not least, payroll management ranks no. 5 on this year’s list of in-demand consulting skills. Payroll is a necessary component of every company’s accounting organization. If employees don’t get paid, they don’t work. It’s that simple. Working in payroll is highly scrutinized, deadline oriented and requires extreme detail. As a result, organizations continuously seek consultants to both provide additional support, as well as fill in when payroll related positions open.

Payroll is also in-demand due to a large number of start-ups in and around the Bay Area. Start-ups commonly employ one person to manage payroll. If this individual falls ill or abruptly leaves, the company is in dire need of a replacement fast which generates further demand for payroll consultants.

Becoming a Payroll Consultant

As with most consulting positions, Payroll and Payroll Management consultants have 5+ years of experience working in payroll or payroll accounting at multiple organizations. They are detail-oriented and work well under deadlines.  


If you are interested in learning more regarding how you can develop a career as a finance or accounting consultant, contact a member of our DeWinter Consulting team! To learn more, visit us online at