If you're worried that the profession faces "a talent shortage crisis," as Mark Tibergien said at the Investment Advisor--Moss Adams Advisor Summit last year, just be glad you're not in the accounting business.
While the demand for CPAs is expected to increase at a rate of 18% to 26% through 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPA supply is shrinking fast. The AICPA estimates that within 14 years, 75% of its membership will be eligible to retire.
So how to attract more people to the profession? The 2006 Young Accounting Professionals Survey conducted by CCH and Harris Interactive sought to discover the issues important to younger CPAs and how well their firms were doing in these areas. The survey, conducted among 150 CPAs with four to seven years of experience, found that the three most important benefits to young professionals were compensation (74%), flexible hours (51%), and being rewarded directly on their merits (34%). However, only 19 % ranked their firms' compensation as very good and 20% ranked their firms as very good when it came to being rewarded directly on merit. Respondents gave much better marks to their firms when it came to offering flexible hours-- 45% said their firms were very good at doing so.
When asked to choose the three most important infrastructure attributes, 67% cited comprehensive resources, 55% cited access to the latest technology, and 48% cited investment in leading tax and accounting software.
More on the 2006 Young Accounting Professionals Survey is available here.