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Engaging the Next Generation of CPAs

college students graduating

The latest employment numbers indicate that it continues to be a tough year for many Americans struggling in the job market. Yet, I am encouraged by recent AICPA research that shows the demand for accounting professionals is poised to buck national trends. The AICPA’s 2011 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits reports on a national survey of public accounting firms hiring and colleges and universities granting accounting degrees. The report identifies key trends in accounting enrollment, graduation and hiring through the 2009-10 academic year.

Mark Koziel, AICPA Director - Specialized Communities & Firm Practice Management, says “the 2011 Trends numbers jibe with what we’re seeing among our members’ 2011 PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues Survey results. Even though client retention is generally the top concern, among larger firms, succession planning still ranks within the top five.” Firm clients are struggling in the poor economy, but firms still face the pending retirements of their boomer partners and staff.

The good news: the accounting profession continues to offer an exciting career option for students and the AICPA is seeing directly how engaged the student audience is with their future profession. Take a look at just a few of the numbers:

  • The number of students in grades 9-12 interacting with our high school student website, StartHereGoPlaces.com, has increased from just over 170,000 unique visitors in 2009 to more than 325,000 to date.
  • More than 28,000 students have built and saved profiles or “FutureMe”s on StartHereGoPlaces.com since this feature first launched.
  • The Clearly Pretty Awesome Competition challenged high school students to come up with the most creative way to explain what a CPA does not stand for and more than 1,300 students participated.
  • Since we launched our college and graduate student website, ThisWayToCPA.com, in fall 2010, we’ve had over 150,000 visitors and over 15,600 students have registered on the site.
  • Sixty teams—240 college undergrads—participated in our first ever accounting case study competition in the fall.
  • We had a record number of students—2,728—apply for AICPA scholarships this year.
  • Nearly 80 students (30 scholarship recipients) participated in our Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop, which seeks to strengthen minority students’ professional skills and guide them toward earning the CPA credential.

Want to know what you can do to help guide high school and college students toward a fulfilling career in accounting? Submit a CPA profile for StartHereGoPlaces.com.

Does your choice to pursue a career in accounting have you feeling confident about the future? Let us know your thoughts.

Scott Moore, Senior Manager - College & University Initiatives, American Institute of CPAs. Scott manages the AICPA’s national programs to encourage the best and the brightest college students to pursue careers in the accounting profession and ultimately become CPA's.

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