December 6, 2023

Accounting oligarchy: What's next for the Big Four?

Accounting firms are facing severe staff shortages.

Between long hours, tight deadlines and unflattering stereotypes, more and more people are abandoning the industry then enter it.

Instead, students fresh out of college choose to pursue careers in related fields such as investment banking, consulting or data analysis. The extra credits required to earn a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license won’t help either.

To unearth the next generation of digital calculators, the Deloitte Foundation, a national nonprofit that supports accounting and business teaching, research and curriculum innovation, is experimenting with a new strategy for tackling the talent pipeline — engaging teens directly.

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Deloitte, Urban Assembly and, which partners with schools to offer online college courses for credit, are launching a dual enrollment pilot program in New York City.

Beginning in the fall, some public high school juniors and seniors can attend Introduction to Financial Accounting and earn three college credits through the University of Pittsburgh, which they can then transfer to the university of their choice.

While dual enrollment has been around for decades, it only recently became popular as a way to lose some college credit while in high school, according to one researcher. National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Reportshowing a surge in the number of students completing coursework in this way.

This Louisiana high school encourages students to use college-level courses to keep college costs down

not like advanced placementthese programs are not limited to high school students on a specific — often accelerated — academic track.

“I teach accounting through the lens of fraud and true crime, showing students an exciting side to the profession that requires real grit and skill,” said Kelly Richmond Bower, professor of accounting at DePaul University and the course’s lead instructor. Pu said.

According to Outlier’s CEO, Aaron Rasmussen, the goal is to inspire more diverse students to consider careers in accounting, with the potential to replicate that model in school districts across the country.

“Being able to present accounting to different audiences in an exciting way will help,” he said.

The lack of diversity in the industry is another reason why the industry has failed to attract young talent, alone research shows.

According to a recent survey, despite the abundance of job opportunities in the field, only 2% of CPAs are black and 5% are Hispanic AICPA Trend Report.

Accounting is often one of the top jobs with the best prospects and six-figure salaries, according to others Report.

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