The day of the accountant has arrived! After years of working in small offices under the shadow of the glamour jobs in the investment and banking industries, accounting has become HOT! Despite popular perception, it didn’t happen overnight.
High-profile fraud cases from Enron to WorldCom to AIG, at first appeared to be giving the accounting industry a black eye. Instead, as the amount of regulation on companies, both public and private, increases, so has demand for accounting and auditing services.
Today, it is not the lawyers or investment bankers that are grabbing the spotlight, it’s the accountants and auditors. As the accounting industry settles in to its new starring role, fees and salaries have started to rise. So has demand. Companies seeking to bring in more accountants to help meet the tougher accounting and reporting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, are discovering that accounting professionals, from bookkeepers to certified public accountants seem to be in short supply.
This labor shortage is being felt across the nation in large and small firms. Larger firms are adapting by raising fees and focusing on Fortune 500 clients. This new focus has helped open up opportunities for smaller firms. In fact, some national firms are referring clients whose needs they can no longer meet, to regional and local firms.
The imbalance between client needs and staffing levels will not last, however. Rising salaries and an improved image are attracting more students to accounting programs than at any time during the previous decade.
Some may have difficulty seeing accounting as a glamorous career choice. Others will find that the spotlight’s shine simply allows more people to share their passion and enthusiasm for the accounting field. Either way, accounting and accountants can be counted on to make the most of their days in the sun.