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January 29, 2023

pipeline problem

LEGO businessman at a desk

KPMG Vice Chair Hopes All the Tech Layoffs Will Scare College Kids Into Accounting

KPMG Vice Chair Greg Engel has been having trouble sleeping lately. It isn’t climate change or social justice or the price of eggs keeping him up at night, like most accounting leaders he is consumed by the talent shortage. No really, that’s what he told CFO Dive. Not to worry, Engel has hope. Hope that […]

a "good vibes only" sign on fire

Let’s Start the Year Off With Some Doomsaying Predictions For the Profession in 2023

2022 was not exactly a banner year for accounting but if you don’t count the collapse of FTX, it wasn’t terrible for public perception either. Oh wait, there was that whole EY cheating thing. And a big IRS raid tied to tax incentives. That’s it though right? IDK, if I missed something big let me […]

Even People Who Majored in Accounting Don’t Want To Be Accountants

Pay extra close attention to accounting firm press releases this year, they will be packed with claims of record applicants, excess hiring, and huge numbers of incoming interns. Why? Firms have a vested interest in acting as if teams are fully staffed and everything is OK because were they to admit things are decidedly not […]

a dry plain symbolizing a talent drought

Wall Street Journal Addresses the Accountant Shortage, Suggests a Recession Could Fix It

I made my entrée into accounting way back in 2007, at the time my job involved a three-hour roundtrip journey across four Bay Area counties and back and I was looking for something a bit closer to home. Shortly after starting in CPA review, I started seeing more and more “For Sale” signs on the […]

weiner dog

This One Chart Shows Just How Boned the Accounting Profession Is

Perusing The CPA Journal as one does when one is tasked with the onerous burden of reporting on happenings in a profession in which so few things happen, I saw this discussion on CPA Evolution by Nina Terranova Dorata, PhD, CPA and Vincent J. Shea. In it, questions are tossed out about how accounting education […]

empty grocery store shelves

The Accountant Shortage Makes One Office Get Really Desperate

You know how if you’re on Tinder for a while and you’re not getting many matches because your standards are too high so you widen the net a bit and start overlooking things like “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best” in people’s bios? Well that’s pretty […]

empty chair signifying a talent shortage

The Accounting Talent Shortage is Not New, You Guys

Although the accounting talent shortage seems like something that just popped out of nowhere and couldn’t possibly have been predicted, oh, a decade ago, I feel compelled to remind everyone that we here at Going Concern saw this coming. I don’t say that in a “hurr durr I’ve been talking about this for ten years […]

a stack of pencils, some broken

College Accounting Programs Are Taxpayer-Funded Training Programs for the Big 4 and Other Such Muckraking

Ed. note: the following is penned by Bob Jennings CPA, EA for his Taxspeaker.com newsletter. Bob has given us permission to reprint in full and we are enthusiastically doing so in the hopes it will spark much-needed conversation about one of the profession’s most significant issues: the Big 4 oligopoly. According to the SBA, small […]

We’re Going to Solve the Accounting Pipeline Shortage With 2013 Buzzfeed Quiz Results, You Guys

With the accounting pipeline drying up, the profession is throwing all kinds of things at the wall to recruit young people hoping just one of them might stick. One such venture is Accounting+, a Gen Z-ified recruiting site brought to you by the Center for Audit Quality that might give young people the impression that […]

a screenshot from the game Mortal Kombat

Accounting Firms Can No Longer Hold Sadistic Survivor-y Competitions For Talent, Says Guy Who Sounds Disappointed About That

There was an article in the Denver Post last week about the accountant shortage and in it, the Post talks to a professor who suggests that business students once fought over coveted, well-paid positions at accounting firms. This must have been before my time because in 2007 Big 4 firms were paying $50k starting salaries […]

a businessman holding a clock

Hear Me Out, Extend the CPA Exam Window to 24 Months

It has now been more than a decade since the AICPA observed — and worried about — a growing gap in the number of accounting graduates and the number of those graduates who pursue the CPA exam. In the time since, that gap has only widened and much effort has been expended to figure out […]

Letters to the Editor: CPAs Give Their Perspectives on Why No One Wants to Be an Accountant Anymore

Last week, we published a letter written to Fortune by a former CPA who pivoted to driving 18-wheelers and found far more career happiness than he ever would have in accounting (good for him). It seems his words resonated with a few people who felt compelled to reach out and offer their own perspectives. Here […]

In 2019, Academic Researchers Tried to Answer the Question ‘Is Accounting a Miserable Job?’

Stumbled across this interesting paper by authors Paul Madsen and Jeffrey Piao today and thought it worth sharing despite its age (2019). Misery in accounting is timeless after all. Plus it’s relevant given the ongoing accounting pipeline problem and concerns about accountant shortages as the paper talks about how the stereotype of “the miserable accountant” […]

PSA: Do NOT Take a Pay Cut For the ‘Privilege’ of Working Remotely

In the coming weeks and months, you’re going to see lots of headlines warning that the workers’ market we are blessed to experience today is shifting back to one that favors employers as the economy starts circling the toilet. You already have seen these headlines, I’m sure. Here’s one: some HR clown who works for […]

a gentleman looking very freaked out

Why is the Accounting Profession Scaring Everyone Away?

Saw this on our Twitter timeline, thought I’d throw it to the sharks and see if anyone has some thoughts: Accounting industry. We all agree there numerous issues & major changes are needed. The ultimate question is even with all the issues, why are ppl not willing to overcome all of them & either enter […]

someone studying

[UPDATED] KPMG Will Pay Audit New Hires to Study for the CPA Exam

Ed. note: update at the bottom, our hopes have been dashed. Second update includes a statement from KPMG As I’m sure you’ve heard by now the profession is having trouble recruiting future CPAs. Accounting student numbers aren’t critically low yet but fewer and fewer graduates are taking the CPA exam, an issue that keeps AICPA […]

Are Auditors Becoming as Hard to Find as a PS5?

Alternate title: If You Are an Accounting Student, Expect to End Up In Audit When You Graduate Ever since early 2020 we have been forced to learn how to go without, not always an easy task in our always-connected, on-demand, two-day-delivery world. I don’t know about you but if I have to wait longer than […]

a woman carrying a large stack of books

4 Reasons Why the Profession Is Struggling to Convince Students to Become CPAs, #4 Will Not Shock You

I buried the link I’m about to share with you all in Footnotes last Friday; however, since its author intended for it to spur a conversation about the profession’s pipeline problem, I thought it best to highlight it in its own post should any of you feel like discussing it. “In my view, the future […]

a man pointing to a line graph

State of the Accounting Profession 2022 Via the AICPA Trends Report

As I snarkily mentioned last week, the AICPA has finally released its much-anticipated 2021 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits (or Trends, for short) report [PDF here], a behemoth data dump of accounting industry stats first released in 1971 and released every two years since 2009. We’re […]

A Pair of Senators Are Trying to Get the Kiddos Hooked on Accounting In Grade School

Do you guys remember those after-school specials of the ’80s that made it seem like drug dealers hiding around every corner offering free drugs was going to be something one would have to be concerned about as we got older? I imagine I’m not the only one who was tremendously disappointed to find out there […]

a street sign that says "end"

Is Accounting an Obsolete Major?

Is accounting an obsolete major? That’s the question posed by John “Jack” Castonguay, PhD, CPA, in the August/September 2021 CPA Journal. He writes: Accounting — at least as an independent field of study — is becoming obsolete in today’s technology- and analytics-focused world. Its value lies in its interdisciplinary applicability and position as a foundational […]

The CPA Credential and the Profession Are in a Race For Relevance, Says ICPAS CEO Todd Shapiro

Interest in the CPA credential has been down significantly since at least 2016, and we have discussed this issue to death so I don’t need to link you to the evidence (but here’s some anyway). The problem here is that talking about it isn’t solving it, thus we will continue talking about it and hope […]

PwC Manager Believes Associates and Senior Associates Are Going the Way of the Dodo Bird

Hey, I don’t know if you’ve heard but there’s a pipeline problem in public accounting right now. Seems some people finally got the memo that long hours and low pay isn’t worth the prestige of putting “worked at [INSERT BIG 4 FIRM NAME]” on their resumes anymore. And then there’s that other problem: those who […]

What Exactly Is the Profession’s ‘Pipeline Problem’ and Why Should You Care?

I realized the other day while halfway through typing out a rambling sentence that barely had anything to do with accounting in a separate post that I’ve written about the profession’s pipeline problem several times over the last few months but hadn’t ever really defined it. I’d reference back to things here and there but […]

The Accounting Profession Is Running Low on CPAs, But There’s an Obvious (and Completely Ignored) Fix For That

Soooo not sure if you heard but there’s a pipeline problem. This website has been around since 2009 and I’ve been loitering out here on the periphery of the accounting profession like a stalker in the bushes since I started in CPA review way back in 2007, so suffice to say we’ve seen some shit […]

a retailer experiencing supply issues

Is There Really a Shortage of Entry Level Accountants?

There is if you believe this post by Buffalo Business First (subscription, sorry): Freed Maxick CPAs P.C. is the region’s largest accounting firm. It has continued to hire new graduates every year since the recession, but lately there seems to be a “talent shortage” for entry-level positions, said recruiting director Shawn Frier. “People are just […]