Not sure if you guys heard but the economy kind of sucks. In fact, it's kind of sucked for going on a few years now but many of you would have no idea just how bad it is because the unemployment rate in accounting is so low that all you really need to get a job is a degree and a pulse. Heck, forget the degree, they're even taking DeVry grads these days.
Anyhoo, we've seen countless articles over these lean, frightening years about how great the job market is in accounting, so many that the people who read those kinds of articles in 2008 have already graduated and are flooding the job market as we speak. I spoke to many of these people in my CPA review days, especially in 2009 and 2010, who went back to school for an accounting degree due to making a poor career choice earlier in their lives by becoming realtors, mortgage brokers, bankers or online tabloid writers (oh wait…never mind). Out of a job with little prospects, many of these people decided it would be cool to be an accountant because, well, they like the idea of paying bills and not living out of their cars.
But what's going to happen to all these people piling into accounting because that's where the jobs are in a few years when the economy really turns around? Will they stay? Will they go back to whatever it was they did before? Will they even make it that far?
The tricky thing here is that this industry is not for everyone. As I have said before, I could never do it, even though I like it enough to write about it (writing = right-brained activity/ticking and tying = left-brained activity). I have no desire to do it. I'd be terrible at it and am morally opposed to working any job that sucks out my soul, which seems to be the consensus from many of you. So how many of these refugees from other industries pursuing accounting degrees give up halfway through once they realize bean counting isn't nearly as fun as Sesame Street made it seem and there's a lot more to the job than just learning a few ASCs and knowing what to do with a Schedule C?
Well, the Baltimore Business Journal and the National Association of Colleges and Employers have added yet another "OMG YOU GUYZ THEREZ JOBS IN ACCOUNTING" article to the mix, which is great because obviously there haven't been enough of them over the last FOUR years. If only the economy would just hurry up and get better, everyone could go back to doing what they love and we wouldn't have to read this same article every few weeks:
Here’s a list from the National Association of Colleges and Employers on the top 10 bachelor’s degrees in demand for the Class of 2013:
- Computer and information science
- Business administration/management
- Mechanic engineering
- Management information systems
- Electric engineering
- Computer engineering
- Marketing/marketing management
Now, is there high demand for accountants? Duh. Dodd-Frank alone could keep 75% of you in a job for the next four decades. But accounting cannot employ everyone, plus there's the whole issue of some people not being cut out for this stuff. The CPA exam should keep some of them from doing more than AP clerking it until the economy improves but is the AICPA preparing for this flood of accounting grads bursting forth from higher education as we speak? Does the CPA exam need to be harder to weed out some of these "well screw it I guess I'll become an accountant" people? Do we need to install a border fence to keep them from hopping over on the realtor/mortgage broker/banker side?
Where's the breaking point? There's no way this can go on like this forever, there just aren't enough chairs for all those warm bodies.