When the economy takes a downturn, people turn to the number crunchers to make things better. This translates into more and better jobs for those with a financial background. Enter the accountants. As business schools are decrying the decline in attendance in their accounting programs, the need for those who can generate and understand the numbers is growing.
Many graduates are reporting multiple job offers and ease of finding jobs in this troubling economy. "Everyone has to be more concerned about [their company's] bottom line, and they need the people who understand that," said Tammy DeMell, corporate communications manager for Headhunter.net.
Headhunter.net, an on-line job search service, has seen a 27 percent increase in nationwide job postings for accounting jobs in the past three months. That number increases exponentially in big cities. In the past three months, Headhunter.net shows the following increases in accounting job postings:
Boston - 272%
New York - 177%
Washington D.C. - 143%
Chicago - 134%
Los Angeles - 134%
San Francisco - 131%
Meanwhile, attendance is dropping in college accounting programs across the country. Analysts attribute the trend to a greater perception that accounting work is boring, the feeling that graduates can make more money in other fields, and the added deterrent of the recent adoption of a 150-hour rule by many states.
As a result of the lowered attendance and the weakened economy, accounting graduates are finding that job opportunities abound. Bill Eremia, staffing manager for Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International, Inc., explained the phenomenon this way: "The expanding rule of accounting and finance professionals has opened up new career options. Their role has become more strategic and consultative. They are no longer crunching numbers in the back office. Now they not only collect and process information, but also analyze and interpret it and convey what they have found to key decision-makers from the company CFO to the board of directors."