Jumping Ship: Why do CPAs Flee?

AccountingWEB has reported several stories over the past few months about the consistent migration of CPAs and accountants from accounting firms to smaller businesses--many of which are dotcoms.

Where does all the competition come from? Skilled, trained accountants certainly aren't a dime a dozen; in a six-year period from 1992 to 1998, the number of people sitting for CPA Exam fell 40 percent.

Rivalries spring from the Silicon Valley and Wall Street, where CPAs working for Big 5 firms and smaller shops can be lured for stock options, incentives and other benefits.

But more than that, analysts say the increased pressure over accounting regulations have forced the bean counters to flee their previous firms. Another factor is the stringent 150-hour rule that requires, for most students, five years of school. AccountingWEB recently ran an article about how firms in Illinois are overlooking the rules and hiring students regardless of the amount of hours they possess.

To fight back, large firms have begun increasing salaries and offering more benefits--but are they too late?

In a related story, find out how Andersen Consulting is compensating its own workforce.

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