How the Accounting Job Market is Shaping Up in the US

Gina Deveney
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Of all industries, the accounting profession fared better than most during the recession. The current unemployment rate for accounting professionals is just 3 percent, which is about half the national unemployment rate. If you are considering a move to the accounting industry, find out more about the future of accounting to understand which job opportunities are expected in the next decade and beyond.

Numerous recent studies show that the accounting profession is one of the most promising careers in the United States. Accounting was ranked as the third best career according to the U.S. News and World Report's 2014 Best Job issue. Professions were ranked according to median salary, job prospects, employment rate, expected job growth, work-related stress and work-life balance. Accounting received the third position due to a high degree of upward mobility, an average amount of job-related stress and a high degree of flexibility. A recent article by Forbes backs up the U.S. News report. Forbes ranked the accounting profession as one of the top 10 fastest growing industries in 2014.

Further evidence of the great state of the accounting profession exists when the projected career outlook is considered. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountant and auditor jobs are expected to grow by 13 percent in the next 10 years, and 166,700 new accounting jobs are expected to be created by 2022. For bookkeeping, accounting and audit clerks, the growth rate is 11 percent, and 204,600 jobs are expected to be created by 2022.

In addition to analyzing the expected job growth for different professions within the accounting industry, it is also important to look at which kinds of accounting services are experiencing the most growth. According to the Economist, financial advisory has experienced the most growth in the past decade, followed closely by tax and legal services. Consulting ranked as the third-fastest growing accounting service, and audit and enterprise risk came in fourth.

One way industry experts project the future of the accounting profession is by looking at the growth of the Big Four accounting firms, or the largest and most prestigious accounting firms in the world. When these firms experience growth, there is typically an increase in job opportunities and industry stability. From 2012 to 2013, all four firms experienced growth, but Deloitte experienced the most growth, with an increase in revenue of 8.6 percent. Not surprising, a recent study conducted by Vault found that the Big Four firms were ranked as the top four accounting firms to work for. A variety of factors led to this ranking, such as job stability and job growth.

By all accounts, the future of accounting has a great outlook. With a high level of jobs expected to be created within the next decade, the accounting profession appears to be far more stable than others. In addition, there will likely be plenty of opportunities for jobs that require experience and education — such as accountants — and also entry-level jobs such as accounting clerk jobs.

(Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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