Replace Yourself by Guest Blogger Susan B. Anders, Ph.D., CPA, CGMA

First the good news: Texas is the best state for accounting positions, with a 16% growth in the number of accounting jobs between 2009 and 2016, and the highest cost-of-living adjusted entry-level and mid-level salaries, and a tie with Delaware for the high-level salaries. (Accounting Principals Blog, August 25, 2016)  Accounting salaries are expected to continue to rise, especially for accountants in industry. (Journal of Accountancy News, August 30, 2016) Here’s the 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide for detail by position.

Now the bad news: although demand is strong, studies indicate there are not enough accountants, new hires or experienced, to meet the demand, especially as baby boomers retire. (Going Concern, “The State of Accounting Recruitment and Talent Shortages in 2017”) Here is the AICPA’s full report: Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and Demand for Public Accounting Recruits (2015).

Calling all CPAs: think back—who influenced your decision to become an accountant and a CPA?  In my case, it was four practicing CPAs—all with different career paths, all enthusiastic about their jobs, and all encouraging me to study accounting and become a CPA.  Although my accounting professors were great, it has usually been practicing accountants who influenced my career—including my decision to pursue becoming a professor.

Has the profession been good to you?  Don’t you think it could be a great career for others?

Replace yourself: Help us to recruit more potential accountants and let them know that being a CPA, in all of its great variety, is the best profession ever.

  1. Encourage your employer to offer accounting internships

Employers can help ensure more future accountants by offering internships.  Even more importantly, we need internships in industry so that students can learn about a wide range of career opportunities.  Most of the internships on the TSCPA website are in public accounting.

If your company cannot offer internships, what about letting prospective accounting students “shadow” you on the job?

  1. Adopt a high school or college

Opportunities abound, from representing your company at formal career fairs, to speaking to accounting student groups, to just attending meetings and getting to know the students.  The TSCPA has helpful resources for talking to students, including ideas for career fairs, formal PowerPoint documents, and videos.  Don’t forget the AICPA’s Start Here Go Places.

  1. Talk to everyone you meet

Get your “elevator speech” ready.  Mine is that accounting is the most beautiful of all subjects.  It’s all about balance and relationships.  Oh, it probably doesn’t sell, but what can you expect from a professor?  Just another reason for practicing accountants to promote the profession.

I am happy for anyone who would like more information or ideas about how to replace yourself to email me at susan.anders@mwsu.edu.

Susan B. Anders, Ph.D., CPA, CGMA is the Louis J. and Ramona Rodriguez Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls TX.  She has been an academic accountant for over 20 years, and was a practicing CPA for the first 15 years of her career.  She is an officer and board member of the Wichita Falls Chapter of the TSCPA.

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