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Strong Hiring Demand Forecast for Accounting
Graduates, AICPA Report Shows
ccounting graduates and enrollments are at record
highs. Newly minted accountants have some of the
brightest job prospects in the nation, with nearly 90 per-
cent of accounting firms forecasting the same or increased
hiring of graduates this year compared with 2010, and nearly
three quarters, 71 percent, of the largest firms anticipating
more hiring an indicator of a rebounding economy.
That's according to survey results in the 2011 "Trends in the
Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public
Accounting Recruits" report released recently by the
American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The report shows
record numbers of accounting students and graduates, but
also hints at a potential challenge for the profession:
demand for new talent eventually could outpace supply.
"Opportunities in the accounting profession continue to
expand as the needs of firms and businesses grow ever
more complex and global," said Jeannie Patton, AICPA vice
president for students, academics, and membership. "As the
U.S. and global economies recover, and as seasoned pro-
fessionals begin to retire in unprecedented numbers, it's
even more important to guard against a talent shortage.
Employers increasingly want graduates with advanced
degrees at the same time colleges, facing budget and other
constraints, are restricted in their capacity to train all the stu-
dents who want to join our profession."
The AICPA report echoes findings from the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics, which expects accountants to experience
"much faster than average" employment growth in the com-
ing years. The bureau's 2010-2011 "Occupational Outlook
Handbook" estimates 22 percent growth in accounting and
auditing jobs in the decade between 2008 and 2018, adding
that job candidates with professional designations, particu-
larly CPAs, and graduates with masters degrees have the
brightest outlook.
All told, 226,108 students were enrolled in undergraduate or
graduate accounting programs during the 2009-2010 aca-
demic year, six percent more than in 2007-2008, the last
time the AICPA conducted its survey. A record 68,639 stu-
dents graduated with accounting degrees in 2010. Nearly
four in 10 accounting graduates hired last year by CPA firms
had master's degrees, compared with 26 percent in 2008.
By contrast, 43 percent of graduates hired had bachelor's
degrees, down from 56 percent in 2008.
For detailed requirements or to download an application, visit
A Student Pledge:
Is a full-time undergraduate student or
Is a full-time graduate student taking a minimum of
12 credits per semester.
A CPA Candidate Pledge:
Works in a firm
Has had a bachelor's degree for no more than five years
Has not yet passed the CPA Exam
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