It is no secret that the US is facing a serious shortage of accounting professionals and that will result in dire circumstances for the CPA profession and the market for CPA firm services. The latter point is always overlooked. What people might not realize is how dire the situation is, and that there are proven options available to help combat the issues this shortage is causing. The accounting shortage problem is being further compounded by a lack of U.S. students majoring in accounting, with AICPA finding that graduate numbers declined nearly ten percent f rom 2012 to 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects a 22% growth factor for the demand for accountants for the next 5 years. More specifically, the AICPA is projecting a need of approximately 135,000 new accounting professionals annually, The US university system is projected to produce approximately 75,000 graduates annually, not all of whom will enter the accounting profession. This is an issue that is not going away anytime soon. One issue that people have failed to understand is that there is a significant difference between simply the number of professionals available for these accounting roles and actual “talent” that is available.
Talent, which US businesses rely on for quality work product and effective results, takes time and effort to accumulate and train properly. So, this problem we are facing is not just a matter of headcount, but a real talent shortage that will not fully be solved in the next decade. As a result, we have witnessed CPA firms turn toward increasing their fees and even cutting back work for clients who are not willing to pay more for quality services. These moves have particularly hurt US small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) who do not necessarily have the financial cushion to pay more for these increasing costs. And it is not just a matter of costs. The other issue that almost never gets mentioned dovetails into the “Supply Chain” in the headline. As the amount of accounting professionals continue to shrink and as CPA firms continue to be hesitant to take on new clients, the demands for their services are increasing at a significant rate. As the economy expands, as new tax complexity gets introduced by legislators, and as regulatory agencies impose new standards, who will help guide these companies through these challenges.
About the Author
Frank is the former Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Italy where he managed 4,500 professionals and $750 million in revenue.
Prior to this international role, Frank served as the Vice Chairman for Deloitte U.S., directly supervising all of Deloitte U.S.’s offices on the West Coast.
Frank also served as a Senior Tax Partner and Managing Partner of Tax in Deloitte U.S.
In his current role as Chairman of alliantgroup, Frank works closely with alliantgroup’s CPA firm partners, advising them on alliantTalent India’s value proposition.