Accountant Job Outlook
Accountants and auditors are expected to experience
much faster than average
employment growth from 2008-18. Job opportunities should be
favorable; accountants and
auditors who have a professional certification, especially CPAs, should have the
Employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and
2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation
will have a very large number of new jobs arise, about 279,400 over the
projections decade. An increase in the number of businesses, changing financial
laws and corporate governance regulations, and increased accountability for
protecting an organization's stakeholders will drive job growth.
As the economy grows, the number of business establishments will increase,
requiring more accountants and auditors to set up books, prepare taxes, and
provide management advice. As these businesses grow, the volume and complexity
of information reviewed by accountants and auditors regarding costs,
expenditures, taxes, and internal controls will expand as well. The continued
globalization of business also will lead to more demand for accounting expertise
and services related to international trade and accounting rules and
international mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, there is a growing
movement towards International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which uses
a judgment-based system to determine the fair-market value of assets and
liabilities, which should increase demand for accountants and auditors because
of their specialized expertise.
An increased need for accountants and auditors also will arise from a greater
emphasis on accountability, transparency, and controls in financial reporting.
Increased scrutiny of company finances and accounting procedures will create
opportunities for accountants and auditors, particularly CPAs, to audit
financial records more thoroughly and completely. Management accountants and
internal auditors increasingly will be needed to discover and eliminate fraud
before audits, and ensure that important processes and procedures are documented
accurately and thoroughly. Forensic accountants also will be needed to detect
illegal financial activity by individuals, companies, and organized crime rings.
Job opportunities should be
favorable. Accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition
through certification or other designation, especially a CPA, should have the
best job prospects. Applicants with a master's degree in accounting or a
master's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting
also may have an advantage.
Individuals who are proficient in accounting and auditing computer software
and information systems or have expertise in specialized areas—such as
international business, international financial reporting standards, or current
legislation—may have an advantage in getting some accounting and auditing jobs.
In addition, employers increasingly seek applicants with strong interpersonal
and communication skills. Many accountants work on teams with others who have
different backgrounds, so they must be able to communicate accounting and
financial information clearly and concisely. Regardless of qualifications,
however, competition will remain keen for the most prestigious jobs in major
accounting and business firms.
In addition to openings from job growth, the need to replace accountants and
auditors who retire or transfer to other occupations will produce numerous job
openings in this large occupation.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
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Accountant Job Outlook