Now may be one of the best periods in history to become a CPA. Projections for job growth are good, technology is providing new opportunities and simplifying life, and there are fewer barriers of entry to starting your own business than in the past.
Higher percentage increase of jobs in accounting
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the percentage increase of jobs in accounting and auditing from 2012 to 2022 to be slightly higher, about 13.1%, than the increase of jobs in all occupations, about 10.8%, over the same period. Accountants and auditors are the fourth highest paid occupation to make the BLS list of the 30 jobs with the most projected career growth, and the third highest paid job to make their top 30 list of occupations with the largest projected number of job openings. Accounting and auditing comes in at third and second highest, respectively, if you exclude general/operations managers from the list. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks also made both lists.
Technology creating more opportunities to develop a niche
Technology may be decreasing the amount of man-hours needed to provide some accounting services, but it’s also creating more opportunities to develop a niche. Increasingly, I see job postings looking for CPA’s with specific skills, such as experience writing SQL queries. Most of the tasks that technology has eliminated were the most tedious parts of the job like data entry, simple calculations, and sending documents. Software is also allowing for more workplace flexibility. The majority of my friends that work in accounting now have the option to work remotely some of the time. It’s a cheap (if not cost saving) perk for companies to offer, and it should become more common as IT upgrades make it more feasible.
Easier than ever to start your own small business
Lastly, it’s easier to start a small business now than it was at any time previously. Targeted online advertising has replaced television/radio commercials and billboards, cloud storage has replaced file cabinets, and clerical tasks can now be easily outsourced overseas. One of my friends recently started a law firm with only a few hundred dollars in software subscriptions. To provide the same services 20 years ago, he would have needed a clerical employee, an office, shelves full of legal publications, and office equipment.
So if you’re on the fence about pursuing your CPA designation, I say now is the time to go for it. The CPA Exam is tough, but doable, and will be a thing of the past in comparison to your successful future as a CPA.
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