There’s no end in sight for the job market demand for CPAs who possess the highly defined set of skills and insight needed to meet today’s tough economic and regulatory challenges. Even in the face of a generally poor job market, research confirms that the demand for accountants and CPAs in particular, remains healthy.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow faster through 2018 than for all the occupations the bureau tracks. It adds that the best prospects are for those “who have a college degree and professional certification, especially a CPA.” CNNMoney.com, which ranks the “hottest” jobs based on “great pay and superior growth prospects” and “work that's meaningful,” puts CPA as number 6 on its top-ten list.
Why? At least four major factors have emerged to create sustained demand for CPAs even in adverse economic times.
Demand Factors. Why the CPA job market remains strong
Continuing demand is good news for CPAs. It means career stability, excellent compensation, increased mobility, and continued career growth opportunities. Several factors have combined to sustain demand for CPAs.
- Corporate Scandals and an Intense Focus on Business Ethics
Intense focus on corporate accountability as a result of widespread fraud and wrongdoing continues to fuel demand for CPAs. Companies must now meticulously scrutinize every aspect of the entire accounting process, and corporate leaders — many of whom are not accounting experts — must personally attest to the integrity of their financial statements. Expanded and more stringent regulations also mean government agencies are hiring CPAs to monitor how well companies comply.
- The Global Economy and a Move Toward International Reporting Standards
The global economy and proliferation of multi-national organizations increases the demand for CPAs both internationally and domestically. The world marketplace today needs experts who understand everything from international business ethics to International Financial Accounting Standards. CPAs who can adapt to other cultures and understand global business perspectives and regulations are extremely valuable.
- Business Complexity and Constantly Advancing Information Technology
New business models, more complex information, and evolving technology mean CPAs with solid IT skills are needed to design, integrate, and implement advanced software systems. They are also needed to serve as consultants to link technology solutions with sound business practices.
- Projected Retirements of a Large Number of CPAs in the Near Future
According to the AICPA, 75 percent of today’s CPAs—by and large the baby boomers—will be retiring within the next 15 years. As they leave full-time active practice, the demand for qualified CPAs to fill the ranks will continue to increase. A side effect of an aging population in general is an increased need for CPAs to assist in retirement planning.