Why Is There Such a Bad Accounting Shortage? A Few Thoughts From an Aspiring Accountant!
Why is there such a bad Accounting shortage? As someone who just recently graduated with a BA in Accounting, and who is currently studying for FAR, I will tell you that there is such a bad Accounting shortage because in the short term, Accounting SUCKS! Yes that’s right, as an aspiring Accountant who literally loves Accounting, I will tell you right now that Accounting is rough, and I think that people aren’t willing to make the short-term sacrifice for the long-term gain, which is why we see people bailing out of the profession, as well as people not lining up to become CPA’s in the current pipeline. In this blog post, I’ll tell you all of the benefits of being a CPA, as well as all the downsides of being a CPA, and stay tuned because I’m going to give you my complete and honest story of exactly what trials I had to specifically go through just to get this far in my CPA journey. As always, be sure to read on or subscribe to our blog for additional details and information on all things Accounting.
Here are some of the things that I have done so far to become an Accountant:
I’ve largely put SEO and writing on hold
I’ve put dating on hold
I finished a BA in Finance from a State college
I finished an AA in Finance from a State College
I finished a BA in Financial Planning from a state college
I finished a BA in Accounting from an accelerator school, known as Western Governors University
I am currently working on passing the CPA Exam after obtaining approval for it, which was a battle in its own respect
Taking the CPA Exam
I will need a Masters Degree in Accounting from Western Governors University
After that I will finish my CFP Designation so that I have an insurance policy in case I need to bail out of the profession (LOL)
All of this combined has probably been something like a 10 year journey which is when I started college. My specific courses towards being a CPA that are finance related are in the range of more like 5 years.
Why The Sacrifice to Be An Accountant Is So Tough Up Front
Take a quick look at the list I made above and let’s run through this really quick here. In the state of Ohio, you basically need a BA degree with 9 Accounting classes, one consisting of Tax and one consisting of Audit in order to qualify to sit for the CPA exam. This is just to SIT for the CPA exam. This is by far the most difficult business major there is, with tons of study hours that add up to not having dates and not going out. I had an Accounting professor basically used to say “if you become an Accountant you will accelerate your career, but for about the first 5 years you do not have a life.” I never understood what he meant nor had an interest in Accounting, and now I am driving towards becoming a CPA, pretty funny how life works.
Add to the above that you need to take the CPA exam, which is probably 750 to 1000 hours of focused studying for your average candidate, and top that off with needing essentially a master’s degree worth of additional credits, 1 year of work experience from a public accounting firm which you need signing off on, and THEN once you have all of that you need to go through the NASBA CPA exam application process AGAIN to get your actual CPA license. At this point, you’re at maybe $70,000 per year and you’re a second-year associate, and your reward for all this is 60 to 70-hour work weeks for the foreseeable future, and at least the next 5 years. With all this above, it’s some type of a cross between engineering and investment banking, and it is HARD, no wonder we have such a pipeline problem here.
Why People Are Bailing Out of the Profession
Turns out more people value having a life and families and things to do outside of work more than originally thought, even if they are career and money obsessed, and have found other ways that they can use to make money in other fields. For instance industry and computer science professions typically pay better, and professions like Wealth Management and Finance have significantly better work life balance.
Why CPA’s Are Retiring
That’s the problems on the front end of the pipeline. On the back end of the pipeline you have your old CPA’s retiring because they literally cannot keep up with all the new regulations. I am currently working in Wealth Management still, and I will tell you that I have had some tax conversations with some of the older CPA’s where I have actually had to correct them on stuff, like with RMDs and related tax matters. There truly is way too much information to keep up with, benefit of this is if you are at the Senior Accountant level sky is the limit for you if you can get your CPA license and put the hours in.
Why Tax Work Is Especially Non-Interested In
On the tax side of things, refer to the above. No one wants to keep up with all the regulations, and from both lawyers and CPA’s that I have talked with being a tax CPA is pretty darn close to being on the attorney side of things in terms of the amount of reading that you do. Title XXVI is basically your baby, and it is your bible and your life blood throughout this profession.
Final Thoughts On Why Is There Such a Bad Accounting Shortage?
There you have it. Too long of hours, constantly changing regulations, massive barriers to entry, and other more lucrative career fields with better work life balance for smart people, and you have got yourself an Accounting pipeline problem, I’d imagine this either leads to more people from India getting jobs or US salaries for CPA’s increasing significantly. For more details and information on all things business and finance, thanks for reading.
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