Think there’s a shortage of young investment advisors and financial planners? Just be glad you’re not a CPA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for accounting professionals is expected to increase, with an anticipated 18% to 26% growth rate through 2014. However, the supply of accounting professionals is shrinking fast, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has noted that within 14 years, 75% of its membership will be eligible to retire. Consequently, accounting firms will soon face an employment gap.
The 2006 Young Accounting Professionals Survey conducted by CCH and Harris Interactiv,e included telephone interviews conducted between July and August 2006 with 150 CPAs who had from four to seven years of experience in a U.S. firm. Those firms went from small to large, ranging in size from fewer than five practitioners to those with more than 100 employees. The survey measured what is important to these CPAs and how well their firms were delivering in the areas of firm resources and infrastructure; benefits and compensation; professional training and development; and firm culture. Surprisingly, in nearly every instance, less than one-half of firms received a “Very Good” rating on their ability to deliver in those areas of concern.
According to the survey, the three most important benefits to young professionals are compensation (74%), flexible hours (51%), and reward directly on merit (34%). However, only 19 % ranked their firm’s compensation as very good and 20% when it came to reward directly on merit. CPAs did give their firms a higher rating when it came to offering flexible hours– 45%.