Most of the major accounting firms have recently announced larger than average pay increases for their employees. This is great news for those already in the career as well for those who are currently who plan to enter the job market in the next few years. Part of the reason for the salary increases is a higher rate of inflation, but more significantly, there is a nation-wide decline in students going into accounting resulting in a decrease in the number of qualified applicants.
To understand why less college students are choosing Accounting as their major, we need to consider the high tech competition. Ten years ago, the college-bound high school seniors with strong analytical skill sets were happily heading towards a career with balance sheets. In today’s world, however, those same analytical types are eyeing up the possibilities of big data. Besides the salary differences, accounting careers have a stable but high-pressure stereotype that doesn’t always compete well with the cool and cutting edge high tech image.
It may take some time for accounting to get its sexy back, but it’s headed in the right direction. Accounting programs, such as the MPAcc program here at the UW, are adding in more components like data analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotic processing automation, adding value to what it means to be an Accountant. With firms increasing their salaries more aggressively, accounting is on its way back to being an attractive and high paying career.
Learn more about the specialized Master of Accounting programs at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.