Patrick Jones: a passionate accountant and entrepreneur

Justin Runquist

In order to be truly successful, you need to be true to yourself.

This is advice that Patrick Jones of Gateway Search Associates offers to college students. He, better than anyone, knows the advantages of circling the professional and personal aspects of life around a passion. As the president of one of the largest headhunting firms in the Philadelphia area, Jones said he conveys this advice often to clients searching for employment. He preaches this because he has succeeded by being true to himself.

When Jones founded Gateway Search, he created a way to mix his talents and passions into one job. It’s a career that he finds exhilarating.

He finds great satisfaction in placing quality individuals in quality companies. Jones likes using his undergraduate experience in advertising journalism and his MBA experience in accountancy everyday. Above all, he said he enjoys interacting with different people and different companies on a regular basis.

Pat Jones’ career path is unique and exciting because it’s based on subjects that genuinely intrigue him.

The importance of accounting

“Accounting is a great foundation for anyone,” Jones said. “It is the bedrock of almost any business. But accounting is like a tool, because it’s what you do with it that matters most.”

Jones emphasized that the accounting knowledge he gained in his nine years as an audit manager for Deloitte & Touche opened up windows of opportunities. “Auditing was always an exciting career for me,” he said. “I enjoyed working with people during my time at Deloitte, but I wanted to move on to new challenges.”

His accounting experience and CPA certification made it easy for him to work for a national headhunting firm. Professional headhunting became a vehicle for combining his love for accounting, marketing and networking.

The versatility of headhunting

“People are often hesitant to use the term ‘headhunting,’” Jones said. “Headhunting is a great opportunity to help individuals find their interests and companies to succeed by finding good employees. So, the term really captures the essence of what we do.”

Being a headhunter allows Jones the opportunity to be a key player in the Philadelphia business community. Networking is key in his industry. According to Jones, 50 percent of his business comes from referrals. “We may find six interviews for a candidate but they may not land a job,” Jones said. “But if we introduce him or her to quality firms, it’s still a success for both parties.”

Take it from the pro

With plenty of experience working as a CPA for Deloitte, Jones understands accountants. He understands the way consulting firms work and the kind of employees they look for. Jones’ know-how of career searching and accounting is what makes him a good facilitator between clients and companies during the employment process.

“We’re always on the look for good students and experienced accountants,” Jones said. “Essentially, we’re the eyes and ears for companies such as Cigna and Honeywell. As headhunters, we act as the human relations department for many companies

Jones said the most successful professionals are ones who are active, but maintain a good balance.

“Our best candidates for job positions usually excel in four areas: grades, interpersonal skills, leadership and, finally, the ability to keep a balanced lifestyle.”

According to Jones, balanced people land the best jobs. “Amicable people with 2.6 GPAs aren’t the best candidates, but students with 4.0 GPAs and no activities aren’t the best either,” said Jones. “The ideal candidate is highly motivated, sociable and looking to keep a job for the long-haul.

“Our job is to pull the best qualities out of people,” says Jones. “We spend time with them to see what makes them tick.”