Growing demand for CPAs in the years ahead

It is important for accounting students to understand that demand for CPA candidates is high right now, thus staying on the CPA track can yield benefits in the long-term. We can see these growth trends in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s “Occupational Handbook,” an online resource providing a wealth of information about many types of careers. For instance, this is a screen shot of the “Accounting and Auditing” summary from the Handbook:

Notice some immediate statistics around accountants and auditors that surface:

  • U.S. median pay is $77K per year. As we’ll see in a bit, the tristate (NY/NJ/CT) median wage is actually higher.
  • The national base number (supply) of jobs in 2020 was 1+ million.
  • The jobs outlook through 2030 is good; there is expected 7% growth on that 1+ million base of jobs from 2020 to 2030.

I like to dive into the data to explore more insights (and model the power of data analytics for students) so I digitized the Handbook via the BLS’s “Projections Central” and “Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics.” This data can help give regional insight about jobs and salary potential.

I encourage students to explore this data (interactive visual is below) but I’ll share two insights as a primer.

1–Accounting & Auditing is part of “Business and Financial Operations” — a general growth area for jobs.

The table below shows the major “groups” of careers tracked by the BLS. For instance, “accounting and auditing” is grouped into “Business and Financial Operations,” which has the 5th largest number of jobs in the U.S. as of 2020 and is projected to grow 9% between from 2020 to 2030 (this should be encouraging for business students).

2–Accountants & auditors is the second-largest occupation within “Business and Financial Operations” and the median wage is nearly $100K.

Let’s drill into accountants and auditors (A&A) specifically. We can see that A&A jobs are the second biggest grouping within “Business and Financial Operations” and the median wage in NJ is $95K (this is higher than the national median wage of $77K).. What’s more, growth in the NJ area is 9% (also higher than the national average).

There is so much insight to glean from this data, much of it context-rich depending on your interests (e.g. if you have an interest in the restaurant business, you may want to check out the “Food Preparation and Serving” group).

I’ve provided the full interactive visual below. I encourage students to drill into areas of interest and note the growth trends (e.g. for accountants) but also what is in decline. For instance, “Data Entry Keyer” jobs (within the Office and Administrative Support” group) are being displaced due to new scanning technologies (read more about this from the BLS site here). We are in an ever-changing, ever-competitive marketplace of jobs; students are well-served to understand these job trends and move towards growth areas if your interests and aptitudes align (e.g. students who like math may enjoy accounting, tax, or auditing).

This is good research generally, and may help you be a more informed candidate while talking with interviewers, professional peers, or clients. Have fun with this data and remember, your future in accountancy awaits.

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