It’s a good time for Accounting.  The job market outlook is maybe the best it’s ever been and the number of college students in accounting programs is at an all-time high.  Consider:

  • The number of students enrolled in accounting programs broke 250,000 for the first time according to the AICPA’s 2015 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and Demand for Public Accounting Recruits Report.
  • A recent examination by Georgetown found that accounting is the third most popular field of study for undergraduates..
  • “At Virginia Tech, accounting is the most interviewed major on campus – and has been for a number of years,” says Stuart Mease, Executive Director for Student Advancement and Career Services in the Pamplin College of Business-Undergraduate Programs at Virginia Tech.
  • The AICPA report also revealed that hiring increased across the board by 7% from the previous year, and 91% of firms expected to hire at the same or an increased rate next year.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that 166,700 new accountants and auditors will be needed by the year 2022.
  • Accounting ranks #3 on the Best Business Jobs list from US News & World Report.

There are a couple of factors in this that stand out.  For companies, there’s been an increased focus on keeping accurate financials ever since the rampant fraud of the Great Recession.  For students, a big reason is most likely the versatility of the degree.  Graduates can use the degree to go into fields such as auditing, tax examination, financial analysis, and personal financial advising.

And the future’s even brighter for CPAs.  What is interesting to note is that, according to Barry Melancon, President and CEO of the AICPA, the data shows that, along with growing number of accountants, there has been a slight decreasing trend in the number taking the CPA exam.  So CPAs will be in even more demand and should command commensurately higher incomes and employment security in the coming years.  Stuart Mease says, “If accounting students obtain their CPA, there is almost a lifetime of job stability because of one having that designation in the marketplace.”

So keep your heads up, CPA candidates.  The  struggle will be worth it in the end.

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