75% of CPAs
to retire over
the next 15 years.
and auditors, including CPAs, is
projected to grow
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects
142,400 new accounting jobs (11 percent growth)
from 2014 to 2024.
Who Will Fill the
By the Numbers
of multi-owner firms say they
to be a significant issue for their
firms in the next 10 years.
3 out of 5
will have reached
in the next 15 years.
With an estimated 75 percent of CPAs expected to
retire over the next 15 years, according to the American
Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the pressure is on to fill the
pipeline with the next generation and encourage more
young accountants to become CPAs.
"We must work together to ensure that there are enough new CPAs and
accounting professionals to replace the coming onslaught of retirements
and to meet the financial sector's growing hiring needs," explained
CTCPA Executive Director Bonnie Stewart.
In fact, the demand for skilled accountants and auditors is projected to
grow faster than any other occupation through 2018, according to the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those holding an accounting master's
degree will be highly sought after, and "accountants and auditors who
have earned professional recognition, especially as Certified Public
Accountants (CPAs)" will be the most in-demand. Still, many accountants
are choosing not to sit for the CPA Exam.
The Gap Between Accounting Students and New CPAs
While a record number of students have enrolled in college accounting
programs in the past several years (more than 250,000 in the AICPA's
most recent survey), the number of new candidates sitting for the CPA
Exam has remained relatively flat and the percentage of accounting
graduates sitting for the exam has decreased.
Researchers have begun to investigate key factors found in successful
accounting programs where large numbers of accounting majors go on
to become CPAs. At the college and university level, findings released in
the 2016 CPA Candidate Success Research Findings report recommend
advising students on state requirements to sit for the CPA Exam and
become a CPA, inviting CPAs to speak to students so they can understand
the vital role CPAs play in the business world, publicizing graduates who
pass the CPA Exam, and providing students access to accounting clubs
and other student organizations to help create a culture that encourages
the CPA career path.
Still, the accounting profession is broadening. Many accounting
graduates, especially those who work in business and industry after
graduation, are choosing not to pursue the CPA designation.
Based on this research and more, the AICPA has developed a pipeline
pilot program, putting a comprehensive plan on the ground to ensure
that qualified accounting graduates, including those right here in our
backyard, are going on to become CPAs.
By Kirsten Piechota, Managing Editor