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Connecticut CPA
September/October 2015
nrollments in undergraduate
and graduate accounting pro-
grams increased in the 2013-
2014 academic year, and combined
to cross the 250,000 threshold for
the first time. On the recruiting side,
accounting firms hired a record num-
ber of accounting graduates in 2014,
representing a seven percent increase
from the previous survey. That's
according to the 2015 Trends in the
Supply of Accounting Graduates and
Demand for Public Accounting Re-
cruits report, released recently by the
American Institute of CPAs. (Read
the full report at
The report found optimism from both
universities and firms that the growth
of the accounting profession will
continue. Ninety-seven percent of
bachelor's programs and 70 percent
of master's programs report that they
expect their enrollment to be the
same or higher within two years of
responding to the survey.
Building upon the record levels of
hiring, 91 percent of firms reported
that they expect to hire at the same
or an increased level in the following
year. Larger firms are particularly
optimistic about future hiring, with all
firms employing more than 200 CPAs
reporting that their hiring will either
increase or stay the same in the next
year. This indicates that job prospects
for current enrollees in accounting
programs as well as recent graduates
remain extremely bright.
While the data on enrollments and
hiring represent a continued upward
trend and increase from the previous
survey, the number of degrees awarded
for both undergraduate and graduate
degrees combined showed a slowing
of momentum. Degrees awarded held
steady at the previous record high level
(less than a one percent decrease),
which was driven by a sharp increase in
master's degrees awarded (31 percent)
and a decline in bachelor's degrees
(11 percent).
"The data in the Trends report is very
positive overall, and the outlook for
accounting students entering the
profession is bright. At that same
time, we've continued to see a
slight widening of the gap between
the number of students who are
graduating with accounting degrees
and the number of candidates sitting
for the CPA Exam, although the growth
of the gap has slowed," said Barry
Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president
and CEO of the AICPA. "It is critical
that we're producing enough CPAs to
replace the retiring baby boomers and
that the profession is continuing to
meet the ever-changing needs of the
U.S. capital markets."
Complementary AICPA research has
found that accounting programs that
stress the importance of the CPA
designation and on-campus employer
recruiting both increase students'
interest in becoming CPAs. Once
they graduate, the single greatest
influence on sitting for the CPA Exam
is support from their employer to
pursue their license, including time off
to study and financial compensation.
Conversely, accounting graduates
who are recruited by companies
directly out of college and foreign
accounting students who return to
their home countries after graduation
are less likely to earn their CPA license
than those who begin their careers in
public accounting.
The results of the report are consistent
with the findings of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics 2014-2015 Occupational
Outlook Handbook, which found that
employment of accountants and
auditors is expected to grow 13 percent
from 2012 to 2022, representing an
additional 166,700 jobs.
The AICPA report found that the
number of accounting students
graduating with master's degrees has
continued to increase dramatically. In
2014, public accounting firms hired
the largest number of accounting
graduates with master's degrees,
reflecting an 11 percent increase from
the previous report.
Job prospects for current
enrollees in accounting
programs as well
as recent graduates
remain extremely bright.
Accounting Enrollments Continue
Upward Trend, Reach All-Time High
AICPA Report Finds Public Accounting
Firms Hired Largest Number of Accounting
Graduates on Record in 2014