Hiring outlook good for accounting pros

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At a time of high unemployment and low hopes, jobs in the accounting and auditing fields are expected to grow.

Consider the latest reports. Accountants and auditors should enjoy much faster than average employment growth from 2008 through 2018, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011.

The predicted growth of 22 percent, or 279,400 new jobs, the handbook said, will result from “an increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws, and regulations, and greater scrutiny of company finance.”

The best prospects await those with professional licenses, such as the CPA credential, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which releases the Occupational Outlook Handbook every other year. Obtaining a CPA or CMA also is advised by CareerCast.com, which conducted an analysis of 200 jobs, and ranked accountant No. 9 in its Top Ten List of Best Jobs for 2010.

The pros are a “great work environment, good hiring outlook (ranked 28th), and a relatively high median income for a job that doesn’t require a master’s degree or Ph.D.” The cons are not surprising: stress, long hours leading up to tax season, and frequent deadlines.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010-2011 contains hundreds of job profiles and specific information about training, anticipated earnings, job projections, and working conditions. It says that, in general, management, business, and financial occupations are expected to increase 11 percent by 2018. That is half the growth expected for accountants and auditors specifically.

The handbook says that as the economy grows, the number of businesses will increase as well, as will the complexity of the financial information and internal controls that need review. Globalization also will drive growth, as demand increases for knowledge on international trade, International Financial Reporting Standards, and international mergers and acquisitions. The handbook also notes stronger demands for accountability and transparency, creating opportunities for management accountants, internal auditors, and forensic accountants.

Prospects for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks also were favorable, but not as plentiful as for accountants and auditors. The handbook says employment should increase 10 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is “about as fast as the average for all occupations.” More job openings will result from the need to replace retiring workers or those who leave the job than from job growth. Those with a wider range of skills, and those who are certified, will have the best opportunities, the handbook states.

In May 2008, the median annual wage of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was $32,510, while that figure was $59,430 for accountants and auditors. In addition to wage information, the Occupational Outlook Handbook also contains job search tips, information on how to weigh job offers, and data that is searchable.

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