So, is something keeping millennials out of the accounting profession?
Rob Farrow, SBA, CPA, CGA
It seems to us that 4 CORNERS RESOURCES is misinterpreting US BUREAU OF LABOUR STATISTICS date…
It turns out if we look at the data, there are even fewer young accountants than the writer claims (4.54% vs 5.5% claimed).
But it seems to us there is a good reason for that. New accountants need a university degree to begin working in the profession. Why would the writer compare accountants and auditors with “event planners”?
Think about it.
How much education is required to become an event planner?
The survey indicates that the largest single age category – 25 to 34 year olds – makes up 27.48% of all accountants and auditors. These are people that are old enough to have earned a university degree.
We do have observations regarding some other statistics contained in the survey.
It’s interesting that accountants and auditors are in the top half of highly skilled occupations in terms of the median age. Obviously in our country at least, judges are appointed from a select group of qualified and experienced lawyers. In other words, you need to be a lawyer first.
As a result of this, we believe that it is reasonable to assume that the relatively high median age is at least partly because of the education requirements. This involves an undergraduate degree followed by at least 2 years of practical experience.
We then went to WorkBC to look at median incomes for accountants and auditors – compared with other skilled occupations, requiring university degrees.
WorkBC is the provincial government’s access point to the world of work in British Columbia. It was created with one key goal – to help all British Columbians to successfully navigate B.C.’s labour market.
WorkBC helps people find jobs, explore career options and improve their skills. We also help employers fill jobs, find the right talent and grow their businesses.
Other people who regularly use WorkBC products and services include parents, teachers, career and employment counsellors, human resources professionals, researchers and decision-makers.
We researched the earnings and employment outlook at WORK BC (see above).
So while the educational requirements are very high for financial auditors and accountants, the median income is significantly lower for accountants than for other occupations with similar education requirements.
As we’ll see elsewhere, there are staffing problems in public accounting. In fact CPA firms in the US generally acknowledge that as the number one problem for the industry. However 4 CORNER RESOURCES misinterpreted the data in trying to prove their point. They went on to make some more errors in their analysis.
“Modern jobs in finance require more than just the ability to crunch numbers—we have apps that can do that for us, after all. Companies are looking for financial professionals who can draw deep meaning from financial data, analyzing it in new ways and helping apply it in a broader business context. This requires an amalgamation of knowledge that spans the areas of business management, operations, data science, automation and more—skills that most existing financial professionals haven’t had time or resources to acquire.”
While they might be right about jobs in finance, they’re not right about jobs in public practice. Public accounting firms acknowledge the staffing problem. But their other key concern is Keeping up with changes and complexity of the tax laws. Corporate finance jobs aren’t part of the public accounting ecosystem.
They may be right that public accounting has an image problem. They are certainly right that::
However, that has nothing to do with a corporate finance position in industry.
No.1 Concern for CPA Firms
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