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By Linda Leatherbury, Full-Time Faculty, Kaplan UniversityPublished May 2014
“It’s all about jobs.” That was one of the most famous quotes
from the 2008 presidential election in the United States. Now, some 5 years
later, it is still all about jobs. The United States economy is fueled by jobs.
Fortunately, those individuals possessing accounting degrees may have a bright
future in securing a job.
in accounting jobs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national
long-term job growth for accountants and auditors is projected to be 13 percent
through 2022.* Aztec Connect suggests that this is due to the increasing
complexity of corporate transactions and the Sarbanes-Oxley requirements. Given
the frequent media attention to the jobless rate in the United States during
2012 and 2013, it raises the question, what does the expected increase in jobs
in the accounting field mean to accountants and employers? It would be nice to
be able to say that current accounting graduates will have plenty of job
opportunities. But could this increase in accounting jobs mean that the
profession has lost its appeal and individuals are seeking employment in other
areas? Could it mean that there is actually a lack of qualified individuals to
fill such positions?
getting the job?
Who is getting hired? According to the Graduate Outlook
Survey, “Ninety-five percent of employers from Accounting and Finance
industries employed graduates in 2012. This is around the same proportion as in
2011 and a similar rate is expected in 2013.”
In 2012 there were approximately 87,177 accounting
graduates in the Unities States. In 2012 approximately 50 percent of individuals
passed the AICPA Exam. This would seem to suggest an ample supply of
accountants. Could this data suggest that indeed there have been jobs created
and available for students in the accounting profession?
According to the United States Department of Labor there
were 1,275,400 accounting jobs in 2012. However, because Americans
on average are holding onto jobs longer, not switching employers, and retiring
later, one may question uture employment
opportunity in the accounting profession.
to the future
Is the future promising for individuals looking to enter
the accounting field? Is there an increase in new positions or a downturn in
the appeal of the profession? Are individuals who major in accounting switching
their profession once they graduate?
During the recession of 2008, banking sector failures
such as that of Fannie Mae resulted in backlash financial firms on Wall Street.
Banks, insurance companies, and some investors in the finance sector looked to
the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for explanations. What was
uncovered was a shortage in personnel at the SEC. This revelation came to light
during the Bernie Madoff investigation. Investigators were trying to reconcile
the lack of scrutiny the SEC provided auditing Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
the experts see
According to Monster.com and Accountemps, employers are
seeking additional accountants. Graduates want to know where these jobs are
located. Often those who aim for the illustrious title of “CPA” envision
themselves working in one of the top accounting firms. But are these accounting
jobs created in that sector of the job market? Some of these accounting
opportunities have been created in the government. If indeed these job
opportunities are in the federal government, students may have cause for
concern. Given the enormous debt of the federal government and its difficulty
achieving a balanced budget, employment of accountants in this area may not be
Finally, given the persistent ongoing unemployment in the
United States (As of January 2014 the national unemployment rate was 6.6
percent), it is worth asking whether recent accounting graduates have the
opportunity to fill these positions given that there are so many job
applicants? According to AICPA, there are an increasing number of accounting
graduates. According to the survey there were 226,108 individuals enrolled in
accounting courses in 2011. The survey also indicates that CPA firms hired
approximately 33,000 accounting graduates. On the surface it may seem as though this
increase in jobs in the accounting field means that there are plenty of
opportunities for those wishing to enter the profession. However, time will
tell whether these graduates are filling positions formerly occupied by
experienced accountants or newly created positions requiring little experience.
What exactly are employers seeking? Who specifically is doing the hiring? Those
students choosing to bank their futures on this profession may want to examine
what type of positions have actually increased and whether these are entry-level
or more experienced positions.
Linda Leatherburyis a full-time
faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are
solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational
Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Accountants and Auditors, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or
short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Trends and Survey- http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/AccountingEducation/NewsAndPublications/DownloadableDocuments/2011TrendsReport.pdf
in accounting job openings by 2016- http://connect.aztecsystems.com/2011/06/10/increase-in-accounting-job-openings-by-2016/
Campbell, Annhenrie -Trend in Accounting
Student Characteristics: Results from 2005-2010 Archival Transcript Data
ERIC NAGOURNEY- New York Times -Published:
October 10, 2012 Will I Ever Get Off This Treadmill? http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/11/booming/11question-booming.html?_r=0
Linda Leatherbury is a full-time
faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are
solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
By Jerry Taylor
By Geoffrey Vanderpal
By Dr. Denise Schoenherr
By Stanley W. Self, CFE
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, School of Business
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