Student Interest in Accounting Dropped Over Last Decade

Here are some alarming statistics regarding students' interest in accounting.

The number of students interested in accounting has dropped over the last decade. In 2000, only two percent of college students pursued an accounting degree, down from four percent in 1990. In addition, the number of high school students interested in pursuing accounting careers has dropped to one percent in 2000, compared to the same four percent figure in 1990.

This information is derived from a report by Taylor Research & Consulting which was prepared for AICPA.

Most students who were surveyed said they did not know that accountants do more than simply add up rows of numbers.

In attempting to determine the causes for this downturn in enthusiasm for accounting careers, it was determined that among those surveyed, the 150-hour rule and the continuing professional education requirements are not barriers to joining the profession.

Both high school and college students surveyed appear to be looking for work that enables them to be creative and that provides flexible schedules. Students do not feel accounting fits these descriptions. The ability to earn a good salary is not seen as being as important as having fun at a job and performing work that is perceived as being helpful to others and worth while.

The profile of current accounting students as compared to all college students, as highlighted in the study, indicates that accounting students are:

  • More likely to be female and likely to be Hispanic and somewhat less likely to be African American
  • Less likely to have taken AP and college preparatory classes
  • More likely to have attended community college and currently attend public universities
  • Reporting higher GPAs and
  • Less likely to value creative work

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