Bolstering reports of a suddenly surging profession with a high demand for top talent, CPA firms are hiring a record number of graduates.
At the same time, the pipeline of accounting students is bulging, suggesting to some that the continuing high demand for new recruits can be met by newly minted graduates for the next few years.
This will come as good news to firms facing growing new-business opportunities, tougher competition and a growing need for entry-level staff.
It does not, however, help alleviate the catastrophic stall in growth dating back to the 1990’s with the spread of the so-called 150-hour rule that has left the profession with a gaping hole in its succession and business continuity strategies. The profession, already facing a succession crisis due to the aging-out of the Baby Boomers, now finds itself with a dearth of 40- and 50-something senior managers and junior partners to take over management and control – a fact that a record supply of new graduates won’t correct for 10 or 20 years, if ever.
Top trends include:
– Accounting graduates are enjoying an “unprecedented” level of demand from public accounting firms, with a record 40,350 accounting graduates hired in 2012 and 89 percent of those firms forecasting the same or increased hiring of graduates this year.
– And for the companies and firms who need newly minted accountants, there are record numbers of accounting graduates, as well as the highest number of enrollments in undergraduate and graduate accounting programs on record, indicating “a thriving pipeline of accounting talent.”
– Overall, there’s a 19.7 percent increase in accounting graduates, with 82,177 accounting degrees awarded in the latest year available.
– Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are at their highest level in 40 years
– In addition, the 240,380 accounting enrollments in both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs represent an all-time high and demonstrate a continued strong interest in the accounting profession as a career choice.
– The trends are consistent with other CPA Trendlines research, which found that employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16 percent from 2010 to 2020, representing an additional 190,700 jobs.
– Job candidates with professional recognition, such as a CPA, as well as those with Master’s degree in accounting have an advantage in the job market.
– The number of accounting students graduating with Master’s degrees has more than doubled in the last ten years, and that 41 percent of accounting graduates hired by public accounting firms have graduate degrees.
– The percentage of students enrollments by ethnicity is increasing across the board
– Minority student enrollment has hit 31 percent at the BA level, up from 23 percent.
– Minorities comprise 38 percent of enrollments in Master’s programs, an increase from 21.6, and minority enrollment in Ph.D. programs totaled 34.4 percent.
– In addition, minorities comprise 25 percent of employees at public accounting firms, up from 21 percent.
– Minority representation at the partner level increased to 10 percent, up from the 6 percent