CPA firms hired a record 40,350 new accounting graduates last year, and hiring demand continues to remain strong, according to a recent survey by the American Institute of CPAs, or AICPA. The previous hiring peak recorded by the survey on supply and demand trends in accounting was in 2007, before hiring fell off sharply during the recession.
Enrollment and accounting degrees awarded are also higher than the previous survey found, reported the AICPA’s flagship research publication, the Journal of Accountancy.
Among public accounting firms surveyed, 89 percent forecast hiring the same or more graduates in the following year. The improving economy and increased regulatory and compliance demands have boosted the need for accounting graduates, the Journal said.
Indeed, a separate AICPA survey on top issues affecting practitioners found that finding quality staff is among the top 5 issues cited by nearly all sizes of accounting firms. Retaining staff and succession planning also ranked highly in the AICPA Private Company Practice Section’s Top Issues Survey.
The AICPA surveys confirm other groups’ findings emphasizing the importance of staffing issues.
ProfitCents Professional Services, a team of specialized Sageworks consultants providing partner coaching, small group coaching and firm strategy services to accounting professionals throughout North America, recently conducted a survey of accounting professionals to explore the management issues that are most important to firms. And based on the average rating, Sageworks found that respondents rank marketing and business development and staffing as the issues having the most importance and priority.
And ManpowerGroup recently identified accounting and finance staff positions as among the hardest to fill for U.S. employers.
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