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Still Not Convinced Accounting is the Way to Go?

Last week, in his Nov. 2 CPA Success blog post, How to choose a major: Step 1 -- pick accounting. QED, Bill Sheridan, CAE, electronic communications manager and editor at the Maryland Association of CPAs, affirmed that careers in accounting continue to buck trends and supply solid careers for young professionals. Sheridan said, “If you want a job in a profitable industry, study to become a CPA.” He went on to cite the latest data from Sageworks and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which supports his point: the accounting profession is still sporting huge successes. It is expected to see further growth over the next six to seven years.

You could see a collective nod of agreement at the AICPA’s offices, especially from the Academic and Career Awareness team. ACA is the team behind the profession’s two popular interactive accounting and CPA recruitment websites: StartHereGoPlaces.com for high school and community college students and ThisWayToCPA.com for college students and CPA exam candidates. This is the team that’s known for telling students: “You really ought to be a CPA.” They know what they’re talking about.

The ACA team also publishes the Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits Report (Trends). The 2011 Trends report details the 2009-2010 accounting degree program enrollments at universities and hiring expectations of various sized firms across the country. In case there was any question about whether the accounting profession is really enjoying the robustness that Sheridan cites in his blog post, here’s further proof: The 2011 Trends Report indicates that, while the U.S. economy has been in the throes of recession, CPA firms continued to hire, nearly matching demand from 2006-2007, when hiring was at an all-time high.

New accounting graduates hired by CPA_firms

The profession is growing. Demand is high… what more evidence do you need? How about salary? The folks at Robert Half International have just published their annual Salary Guides, and their research indicates that starting accounting salaries will continue to increase to the tune of 3.5 percent in 2012—at virtually all position levels across financial services, firms and industry.

Students: Turn your attention to accounting; CPA candidates: Rest assured you’re on the right path. And CPAs: Way to go! All your hard work has clearly been paying off. Aren’t you glad you’re a CPA?

What would you tell students to encourage them to pursue accounting as a career?

Heather O'Connor, AICPA Staff. Heather develops, manages and supports the communications efforts of the Business, Industry & Government membership area and the Academic and Career Awareness and Peer Review teams.  A business book editor in her previous career, Heather especially enjoys writing about the day-to-day business- and career- related issues that CPAs face.

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