What Is the Job Outlook for Accounting Professionals?

While many prospective accounting students are concerned with salary potential, considering what accounting jobs are the highest paying, fewer seem to look at the job outlook for the profession. Yet the availability of good jobs in the field of accounting is just as important as the salary potential. To make a fully educated decision about one’s future career, aspiring accountants should look into the anticipated job growth for accounting professionals and consider they can do to increase their marketability.

Anticipated Job Growth

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job growth for various occupations over a decade. Between 2012 and 2022, the BLS expects that the number of accounting jobs across the nation will increase by 13 percent. That amount of expected job growth is pretty close to the growth expected for all occupations, which is slightly but not significantly less at 11 percent. As the rest of the economy improves, so should the job outlook for the accountants who prepare taxes, audit, and manage financial records for organizations, corporations and citizens.

Of course, job availability for accountants varies by industry. Unsurprisingly, the industry of accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services employs the largest number of accounting professionals of all industries. Accountants in this industry make up more than 36 percent of all recorded accounting jobs, the BLS reported. Other industries that employ accountants include company management, state and local governments, financial investment activities, investment pools and funds, office administrative services and consulting services.

How Accountants and Accounting Students Can Improve Job Prospects

The BLS anticipates that employment opportunities will be best for accounting professionals who have advanced degrees or who become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). That means that current accountants and students preparing for a career in accounting can do a lot to improve their job prospects.

By going back to school to earn a master’s in accounting or, for current students, enrolling in a five-year accelerated program to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, candidates can enhance their personal job outlook. Accounting professionals who are not currently CPAs should consider taking the four-part CPA exam to increase their job marketability, even if it means another year of college-level study. By advancing their education and their professional qualifications, accountants can make themselves stand out from other job candidates and prepare themselves for new opportunities. Because job competition will be especially tough in prominent accounting firms, advancing one’s education may be the only option for candidates who aspire to work at such a firm.

While the business world as well as the public will always need accountants, knowing the job outlook for the field as a whole can help aspiring accounting professionals decide how to best prepare for their careers and help accountants make smart decisions for furthering their careers. By earning a master’s degree, taking the CPA exam and looking toward industries that employ numerous accountants, candidates can find the career opportunities that are right for them.

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