BusinessWeek ranks accounting as best place to launch a career

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It's no secret to those of us already in the profession that pursuing a career in accounting is a smart move in today's financial environment. Now the word is out, and accounting firms are dominating BusinessWeek's second annual ranking of the best companies for new college graduates.

BusinessWeek based its ranking on three separate surveys:

  • A survey of career services directors at U.S. colleges to learn which employers were their favorites.
  • A survey of the employers identified by those directors as the best firms for new graduates, to learn about their hiring, pay, benefits, and training programs, and to compare that information to other firms in the same industries.
  • A survey of 44,000 college students to identify which were their top five most desirable employers.

The result is a list of the 95 most desirable employers.

The Big Four firms appeared in 1st (Deloitte & Touche), 2nd (PricewaterhouseCoopers), 3rd (Ernst & Young), and 11th (KPMG) places. Grant Thornton was 73rd. Even the IRS made the list in 70th place.

BusinessWeek's analysis is that there is enormous demand for accountants as a direct result of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. According to the accompanying article, Deloitte expects to hire as many as 50,000 employees in the next five years, and the number of U.S. students graduating with accounting degrees has risen by almost 20 percent in the past five years.

The top five recruiter tips listed in the article include:

  1. Be honest when speaking to a recruiter
  2. Shut up - don't fill the interview with personal stories
  3. Don't brag - share your achievements with confidence, not arrogance
  4. Skills matter - highlight how your skills can relate to a business environment
  5. Sit still - arrive early, dress appropriately, sit up straight and don't fidget

The bottom line? This is a great time to be an accountant. According to BusinessWeek: "This year accountants became sexy."

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