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January 28, 2023

talent shortage

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 […]

an unemployed dog watching TV

Local Accounting Firm Baffled That Desperate Laid Off People Don’t Want to Work There

When big layoffs began in tech last year, accountants everywhere justifiably celebrated for having chosen a career that may not be the most prestigious (or exciting or lucrative…) but will always be in demand. While their employees were quietly boasting about not losing their jobs, it seems EY leadership was waiting in the wings hoping […]

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 […]

a cringey date

Accounting Firms Are Embarrassing Themselves on the Talent Dating Market

It’s December 2022 and we’re now a good year into “The Great Accounting Shortage,” the depth of which won’t truly be known until the fines start rolling in for piss-poor audit work performed by skeleton crews. So, any day now. I’m sharing this r/accounting post so six months from now we can look back on […]

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 […]

KPMG Australia Recruits From High Schools to Meet Demand For Talent

KPMG Australia was in the news the other day for a new recruiting program involving high school grads (who were clearly rounded up from the burnout section behind the building joke) and it’s an interesting idea: on-the-job training in lieu of university. You’ll note these are technology recruits, we’re not desperate enough for accountants yet […]

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 […]

missed target concept photo

Our Audits Sucked Because the Auditors Are Exhausted, Says Deloitte Australia

Last week the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (think Aussie PCAOB) informed us that Deloitte and KPMG need to take “continued deliberate and concerted action” to improve the quality of their audit work because apparently it is just that bad. Deloitte did not meet ASIC standards on half of audits inspected, KPMG came in at […]

President Obama mic drop meme

Quote of the Day: “The War For Talent Is Over. Talent Won.”

Fresh off the presses from CNBC, PwC US Chair Tim Ryan just dropped the mic on the talent shortage: In the headlines, the war for talent is still taking place on two fronts, with a hot labor market still tilted to job seekers even in a cooler economy, and companies testing the power they have […]

a help wanted sign

The SEC’s Attrition Rate is Up But Is It Worse Than Public Accounting’s?

Answer: nope. POLITICO: The SEC has seen attrition rates jump from 5.4 percent in fiscal year 2021 to an estimated 6.4 percent in 2022 — the highest in a decade, according to the report, which began circulating late last week. The SEC is not unique in seeing employees depart. Attrition rates across the federal government […]

a paper help wanted sign

Moss Adams is Going on a Hiring Spree in India

The Hindu Businessline is reporting that Moss Adams plans to hire a few hundred people in India over the next couple years because India “offers the best talent pool.” Talent shortage? Aggressive growth? Cheaper labor? Who can say. But Moss Adams’ COO Dave Follett gave all the details to Businessline. Read: American accounting and consultancy […]

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 […]

If This Field Report on the Talent Shortage is Remotely True Public Accounting is Screwed

The below comment was left on a post about public accounting salaries published Monday and we thought it worth sharing because if true, it signals a collapse of the public accounting ladder as we know it. Didn’t think we were at full-on collapse yet, just a little bump in the road until firms can talk partners […]

Would You Take a Pay Cut in Exchange For a 40-Hour Workweek in a Beachside Locale?

Citigroup has launched a new program in which a few dozen young analysts will trade big investment banking salaries for shorter work days in Málaga, Spain, a beautiful city on the southern coast known for its food, culture, and lovely weather. The best part? The analysts might even have some time to enjoy the scenery. […]

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 […]

CPA Who Gave Up Public Accounting to Drive an 18-Wheeler Says He Made More Money Driving a Truck

*post image is not Steve, just some guy from iStock Letters to the editor are great because they clue you in to how a reader identifies with what you’ve written and often the writer will share their own experience viewed through the lens of your story. In this case, the reader-submitted letter we’re about to […]

Illinois Will Soon Let You Sit for the CPA Exam With 120 Units, Should All States?

“What are they gonna do, stop requiring 150 units? THAT’S CRAZY.” That’s what a stakeholder told me recently when we spoke about the accountant shortage and the growing gap between students getting accounting degrees and recent graduates sitting for the CPA exam. Fewer people are pursuing accounting degrees and the ones that are have been […]

Where TF Is the IRS Supposed to Find 87,000 Agents?

While various factions bicker over the Inflation Reduction Act, we have one question: where is the IRS supposed to find 87,000 agents!? In case you haven’t heard or seen your aunt sharing Impact font memes about it, Senate Democrats want to throw some cash at the IRS (among other things not getting into here): The […]

Don’t Be Surprised to See Accounting Firms Aggressively Merging in the Next Year or Two

Have you heard? There’s an accountant shortage! This is probably coming as a shock to you but it’s true. Firms are trying all sorts of tricks to find and retain talent but the problem may be deeper than not having the right set of perks but rather an actual shortage of qualified talent. This issue […]

Letter to the Editor: Small Firms Are Suffering in This Market, Does Anyone Care?

We received the following from a small firm owner who is suffering under the weight of talent shortages, massive workloads, and hoards of would-be clients shopping around because their accountant (rightly) raised their fees. What’s a small firm to do? I have a small firm in [redacted]. I have been reading constantly about how the […]

The Audit Profession’s Inability to Retain Talent Poses a Serious Threat to Audit Quality

Just about every employer in corporate America is singing the blues about talent shortages caused by the Great Reset and the Great Resignation. However, these effects are not being felt uniformly across all businesses. Those employers with a history of mismanaging their human capital, like the largest audit firms, are being hit the hardest. The […]

a man in a suit pointing

If Y’all Keep Quitting Your Jobs Like This You’re Going to Break the Economy

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this article on Bloomberg Tax, I just want to call out the photo they used for the header. “Paraphernalia” got a chuckle out of me. OK so everyone and your mother knows by now that public accounting firms are struggling with a talent shortage. Regardless of […]

How Many Non-Auditors are Getting Pulled Off the Bench to Do Inventory Counts This Year?

Hello and Happy post-Christmas Monday, everyone. Quick show of hands (let’s just pretend I can see them through the screen OK?), how many of you NOT in audit have been pulled off the bench to do inventory counts this week? We’re hearing some grumblings of tax people being thrown into the gauntlet and thought it […]

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 […]

More People Quit Their Jobs In April Than Ever In Recorded History

Have you heard? They’re calling it “The Great Resignation.” Gee, if only there were a way to get people to stay! Guess they’ll have to bring in some consultants to tell them this is millennials’ fault somehow and can easily be fixed with a few recycling bins and Jeans Friday.

F*ck the Firms, It’s Your Show Now

Several weeks back I had an early morning appointment halfway across town and though I usually bike everywhere, I decided I didn’t feel like working up a sweat at 7:30 a.m. so I called an Uber. Rather, I attempted to get an Uber, however not a single vehicle was on the road. I live in […]

Groundhog in grass

Yes There Is Still a Talent Shortage, and Yes We’re Tired of Discussing It

As far back as I can remember, we have been discussing talent shortages within the accounting industry. My former esteemed colleague Colin (RIP bro) once referred to it as Groundhog Day, in that it felt like every other morning we woke up and wrote a story about it. I even put a considerable amount of […]

accounting talent salary bonus

Want to Find and Keep Quality Accounting Talent? Pay Them More, Already

Smiles and handshakes will ensue. The AICPA’s mega report on the supply of accounting graduates and demand for accounting recruits will be out any day now. If the CPA robots have proliferated to a far greater degree than anyone could’ve thought, then that will be bad for lots of you. However, I believe we’ll learn […]

Audit Committee Members Hard To Come By These Days

Apparently companies are having trouble finding people who want to serve on an audit committee. Candidates probably lose interest once they hear about all the boring reading that's required. [WSJ]

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 […]