The Accounting Profession in 2006

A new study shows about 25 percent of those in the accounting or finance profession are dissatisfied in their current jobs. Some 33 percent said they planned to find a new job in 2006. The survey, Job Forecast 2006 – Accounting/Finance was conducted in late 2005, by CareerBuilder.com.

CareerBuilder.com collected survey responses from more than 150 accounting and finance workers between November 15 and December 6, 2005. Other metrics brought out in the survey exposed other dissatisfying situations in 2005:

  • About 66 percent did not receive a bonus
  • 33 percent did not receive raises
  • 37 percent of accounting and finance workers said they are dissatisfied with their pay
  • About 60 percent of those participating in the survey said their workloads increased
  • About 33 percent said they are unhappy with the balance between their work and home commitments
  • More than 50 percent said they are dissatisfied with their workload
  • 29 percent felt as though they were overlooked for past promotions
  • 35 percent said they were disappointed with the opportunities offered by their jobs
  • 33 percent felt their employers could offer improved training and professional development programs.

“Financial services added 188,000 jobs in the United States in 2005, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. CareerBuilder.com sees more than 4.5 million job searches in accounting/finance every month as workers seek out the new opportunities that will provide them with the benefits they desire,” according to Arti Bedi, Finance Employment Expert at CareerBuilder.com.

On the plus side of the profession, the DePaul University College of Commerce has seen the number of undergraduates majoring in accounting increase to 37 percent for the 2005-2006 academic school year, compared to the 2004-2005 school year, according to the DePaulia.com.

Ray Whittington, the Interim Dean of the College of Commerce and director of DePaul’s Accounting Department, said to DePaulia.com, “There was a big piece of federal legislation written in 2002 which requires public companies to have their internal controls audited in addition to their financial statements,” explaining the increase in accounting majors. “It [Sarbanes-Oxley] has a lot of provisions, but the provisions that had the most effect on accountants is the one that requires management of the firms to certify or indicate that there is no material weaknesses in their internal control systems.” Whittington continued, “The increase has been going on for a little while, just kind of snowballing and getting quite a bit larger.”

Eric Taylor, Campus Development manager for the Chicago office of KPMG, told DePaulia.com, that the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 has not lead to DePaul’s increased enrollment, but instead the increased staffing demand has been created by SOX.

Tess Nyka, DePaul’s associate director of Career Services, told DePaulia.com, “Thirty-eight companies recruited accounting students through On-Campus Interviewing (OCR) in Fall 2005, of the 75 companies participating in OCR. Accounting majors get hired as staff members of public accounting firms of varying sizes and specialties. Additionally, accounting majors are employed in business and industry, as well as government agencies, to name a few.” She also said that 130 accounting-related organizations work with the Career Center recruiting students.

Eric Taylor, Campus Development manager for the Chicago office of KPMG, told DePaulia.com, “We believe the boost is, at least in part, due to the increased opportunities that exist for accounting students through internships and full-time jobs…in addition, the earning potential, variety and level of importance that all organizations are putting on accounting groups, have increased the prestige of the position, which will always lead to an increase in enrollment.”

Looking at the larger employment picture, jobless claims rose less than expected last week, prompting Gary Thayer, chief economist at A.G. Edwards & Sons, to tell Reuters, “Claims are still suggesting that the economy started the year with a strong employment situation.” Thayer continued, “We still don’t know how much of this is weather-related…but if claims hold at these levels it would tell us that the job situation looks more favorable than a year ago.”

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