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We Asked Twitter What’s the Second Most Important Issue in the Accounting Profession Right Now, Here’s What They Said

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Bored of writing and talking about the dire accountant shortage and the consequences it could have on the entire financial system as we know it, the other day I tweeted a question to find out what else folks think is plaguing accounting. Thanks to everyone who chimed in, I know sometimes Twitter feels like shouting into the void know but know that your feedback is appreciated. By me anyway.

The question:

Let’s begin with my favorite response of the bunch:

Really though.

And here’s one from the Illinois CPA Society based on what they’ve heard from their members:

ICPAS has also done some research into why accounting graduates are choosing not to take the CPA exam if you’re interested in that. For the uninitiated, CPA exam candidate numbers have been on the decline since the second half of the ’10s, with a gap between accounting graduate numbers and anticipated CPA exam candidate numbers first appearing around 2014. The number of CPA exam candidates decreased 17 percent between 2019 and 2020 and it saw a 6 percent increase from 2020 and 2021 according to the AICPA Trends report which is basically a thorough physical examination (including blood work and squat and cough) for the profession. A modest increase in examination candidates is expected for 2023 due to the launch of CPA Evolution in 2024, just as we saw in 2010 prior to the significant exam changes ushered in with CBT-e in 2011.

Back to the question of pressing issues. In no particular order, here are the rest of the responses:

  • Lack of succession planning of local firms.
  • How to leverage tech to make busy season more manageable for professionals
  • Pricing. There are still too many firms undervaluing themselves especially for D level clients. Appropriate pricing helps with compression and capacity issues.
  • Pricing, deadline work compression, and outdated mindsets.
  • Deadline compression forcing more work into q1/q2 is a pain for me.
  • I think everything is at least indirectly related to the talent shortage, but I would go with (1) work life balance and (2) credibility/audit failures #ftx and wirecard, which I think are driven in part by the talent shortage

Work-life balance or rather the lack thereof is an issue that has long served as the boil on accounting’s ass and is believed by anyone who has been paying attention to be one of the main factors that has led to a shortage of accounting graduates and public accounting talent from entry level up to senior, second only to offensively low starting salaries. The two are intrinsically tied together as there is a direct correlation between the amount of shit one is willing to take and how much one is getting paid to do it. We suspect that were accounting firms to raise salaries in a significant way, talent would follow. Because salaries did not budge much over the past 15 years and because workloads became heavier and heavier as the years wore on, the perceived value of an accounting career eroded more and more with each passing year. And now we’re where we are.

The problem now is that firms can’t just hire more people to reduce the workload. There are no people. That leaves raising salaries as the big draw, and there has been some positive movement in that area, it may not be enough.

So we’re pretty much screwed there. Anyone want to talk about succession planning?

5 thoughts on “We Asked Twitter What’s the Second Most Important Issue in the Accounting Profession Right Now, Here’s What They Said

  1. I have been looking for a job for months!!
    If you don’t have connections, the jobs posted on the internet are a joke. The obstacle is 5+ years experience. If I had that, I would not look for a job on the internet. Despite my 3 masters and numerous certificates, I cannot get through the electronic applications.
    I am ready to work now today!!!!

    1. What kind of position? I can’t think of a single accounting firm not looking for tax and audit associates/seniors. LinkedIn has legit jobs, other site I can’t say the same.

    2. Struggling to think of an accounting job where three masters degrees would be really relevant.

    3. uh, what are your 3 masters in?? that’s a crazy amount of degrees and you’re still unemployable?

    4. Are your degrees in accounting & do you have any accounting experience? Why didn’t you go through campus recruiting?

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