The Accounting Crisis
Updated: Jan 29
I wanted to use this to bring up my opinions on the accounting profession and some common misconceptions. Recently WSJ published an article talking about how many accountants are quitting the profession along with a decline in the number of people pursuing it as a career. The article mentioned the high turnover rate within the public accounting industry and the sharp decline in people sitting for the CPA exam each year since 2017. I wanted to address this as one of my first posts because I believe that I had many misconceptions about accounting before choosing it as a major. Hopefully addressing some of these common stereotypes, people can get a better feel for the profession and what it entails.
One of the first misconceptions I had before looking into accounting more was the idea of bookkeeping. Growing up, I had always envisioned accounting as the typical cubical job, mindlessly sitting at a computer filling out spreadsheets. This idea that accounting is just filling out journal entries and such is more along the lines of bookkeeping. Accounting has a wide range from audit to tax professionals. Public accounting allows people to work as consultants on different clients and see various industries. Many people are not familiar with public accounting and its opportunities, as I fell into that category before college. After talking with a professor, I had the first year, she spoke about her career from public accounting to consulting and then to CFO of a public company. She opened my eyes to the doors that accounting offers, and I hope to share those stories with others who doubt accounting.
Another misconception I have heard is that finance is more appealing than accounting. This is a slightly subjective opinion, but I know that people usually want to pursue finance over accounting as it is seen as more flashy. One part of this statement I disagree with is that if someone does accounting, finance is closed off. That is very wrong, as accounting will give you a foot up in finance if that is the path you are interested in. This goes along exactly with what I am doing, as I am an accounting major but am interning in financial markets currently and had a financial planning internship this last summer. I advise people interested in finance to look at doing an accounting degree and CPA because it only gives they a better understanding of financial statements and will give them a foot up against others who are not accountants.
These are all my opinions on the topic, and I believe that many people overlook accounting and the jobs found within that major and path. I'd like to see the accounting profession grow as I have enjoyed my time through it, and I wish others could have a similar experience. Again these are subjective thoughts, and if there is anything people disagree with or would want to discuss further, feel free to reach out to me.