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As a follow up to last months blog Become a CPA Now, which highlighted that there are more students enrolled in and graduating with accounting degrees than ever before, we wanted to share some recently released AICPA statistics analyzing the current hiring trends of CPA firms. Certainly, an increased number of accounting students and graduates means increased competition in the quest to land that first true accounting position out of college. In an economy where unemployment is high and economic analysts constantly sway from rebounding to double-dipping, whats the job market like for this record number of accounting graduates?

Well the AICPAs recently released statistics on the demand for new hires within CPA firms, and the stats show things are looking up for those entering the profession. Below we have highlighted some of the AICPAs figures.

A total of 33,321 accounting graduates were hired by CPA firms in 2010. Although this total is slightly lower than the record 36,112 new hires reported in 2007, it does represent a 30% increase compared to the 2008 figure of 25,488. A 30% increase in just two years is wonderful news for recent graduates. However, 2010s total of 33,321 new hires pales in comparison to the record 2009-2010 graduating class of 68,639. This means that less than half of accounting graduates are finding positions at CPA firm right out of college. In 2007, when CPA firm new hires were at a high (36,112), so to was the percentage of graduates (64,221) finding positions within those firms right out of school at 56%.
The number of new hires carrying only Bachelor degrees continues to fall, as more students earn their Masters in order to meet the 150 credit rule (California 150)required to become a licensed CPA. Though a Masters is not an actual criteria of the 150, many students graduating with a typical 4 year/120 credit Bachelors degree prefer to earn a Masters when seeking to fulfill the 150 requirement opposed to attending a fifth year of undergrad.
Breaking down the new hires by area of assignment
  • 51% were hired into Accounting/Auditing
  • 25% were hired into Taxation
  • 8% were hired into MIS/Computers
  • 16% were hired into Other'


The above statistics were taken from the AICPAs 2011 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruiters. Read more by visiting AICPA.org.
Craig Cuthbert, CPA