Accounting Enrollment Reaches an All-Time High
Posted By Terri Williams on November 3, 2015 at 1:37 pm
For the first time in history, accounting enrollment has reached the 250,000 threshold, and accounting firms are hiring a record number of accounting graduates. According to the 2015 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and Demand for Public Accounting Recruits Report, during the 2013-2014 academic school year, enrollment surged at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The report, by the American Association of CPAs (AICPA), tracked accounting enrollment by program for several years. The results for the past three years are as follows:
|Master’s in Accounting||29,464||29,648||39,641|
|MBA in Accounting||5,100||5,132||3,107|
|Master’s in Taxation||2,822||2,840||2,068|
These findings are consistent with several other recent studies. A Georgetown University study of the most popular degrees among college students listed accounting as the third most popular field of study, with 17.7% of all undergraduates choosing this major.
There are two primary factors fueling the popularity of accounting degrees:
DEMAND and VERSATILITY
The AICPA report also revealed that hiring increased across the board by 7% from the previous year, and 91% of firms expected to hire at the same or an increased rate next year.
Also, statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal that 166,700 new accountants and auditors will be needed by the year 2022. However, graduates with an accounting degree can also pursue a range of other occupations, including tax examiner and collector, revenue agent, budget analyst, personal financial advisor, financial analyst, and financial manager.
Below are the projected job growth rates from the BLS for each of these positions:
|Profession||Job Growth Rate Through 2022|
|Accountant and Auditor||13%|
|Personal Financial Advisor||27%|
|Tax Examiner and Collector||-4%|
In addition, the Georgetown study found that a bachelor’s degree in accounting led to the fifth highest salary among business graduates. According to the BLS, the median annual wages for the careers listed above are:
|Profession||Median Annual Wage|
|Accountant and Auditor||$65,940|
|Personal Financial Advisor||$81,060|
|Tax Examiners and Collectors||$51,120|
Regarding the AICPA Trends report, Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA says the data is very positive and indicates a bright outlook for accounting students entering the profession. However, he notes a slightly widening gap between the number of students graduating with an accounting degree and the number taking the CPA Exam.
This certification makes candidates more competitive, and the designation is often preferred by many employers. Joanne Fiore, vice president of professional media, pathways and inclusion at AICPA adds, “To increase the number of students sitting for the exam, our research shows that employers can make a difference by encouraging or requiring students to sit for the exam and supporting them by giving time off to study and helping with costs.”