Accounting & Auditing | BLI Leadership

Demand for accounting graduates hits all-time high

The AICPA just released its  2015 trends in the Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report, which indicates a 7 percent increase in demand for accounting jobs and record enrollments in undergraduate and graduate accounting programs of 250,000 students for the first time.

“The data in the Trends report is very positive overall, and the outlook for accounting students entering the profession is bright,” said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon in a statement. “At that same time, we’ve continued to see a slight widening of the gap between the number of students who are graduating with accounting degrees and the number of candidates sitting for the CPA Exam, although the growth of the gap has slowed. It is critical that we’re producing enough CPAs to replace the retiring baby boomers and that the profession is continuing to meet the ever-changing needs of the U.S. capital markets. We’ve been looking into this issue in great detail, and are considering a number of profession-wide initiatives to complement our existing programs and ensure that qualified accounting graduates are earning their CPA license.” 

The results of the Trends report are consistent with the findings of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, which forecast employment of accountants and auditors will grow 13.1 percent from 2012 to 2022, representing an additional 166,700 jobs. The BLS Handbook notes that many accountants become CPAs to enhance their job prospects and gain clients and increase earnings. In fact, research from the AICPA indicates that the salary differential of CPAs over a career versus non-CPAs is more than $1 million!

Despite those strong projections, the study also shows a decline in accounting graduates pursuing the CPA license, with a current level of one-third who do not pursue the license.

Here are some tips from the AICPA to reverse that:

Accounting programs that stress the importance of the CPA and on-campus employer recruiting both increase a student’s interest in becoming a CPA, according to AICPA research. Once students graduate, the single greatest influence on sitting for the CPA Exam is support from their employer to pursue their license, including time off to study and financial compensation. Conversely, accounting graduates who are recruited by companies directly out of college, and foreign accounting students who return to their home countries after graduation, are less likely to earn their CPA license than those who begin their careers in public accounting.

MACPA has created a Guide to the CPA in an effort to make it easier for students and employers to understand the licensing requirements and path to CPA. 

We would like to see a lot more millionaire members!

More background on the State of Accounting as a career: