The number of accounting graduates reached a record level during the 2007-08 academic year, according to the AICPA’s 2009 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits. More than 66,000 combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded, a 3.5% increase from 2006-07, and the highest number since 1972, when the AICPA began tracking this data. Fifty-one percent of 2008 graduates were female, and 49% were male—a 1 percentage point increase for males from the previous year.
Other important findings include:
- Accounting degree enrollment (bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral combined) climbed 4.7% in 2007–08.
- A strong demand for hiring in firms with 50 to 200 CPAs and a reduction in hiring among smaller firms from the previous year’s totals. The demand forecast for the coming year shows that among all firms, 64% expect hiring to remain the same as this year with 26% predicting a decline.
- Universities are preparing for the U.S. transition to IFRS: 80% of accounting programs surveyed indicated that they offer courses in IFRS material; 15% plan to add IFRS to the curriculum by fall 2009.
- Larger firms have more than 500 full-time employees, on average, currently enrolled in classes to satisfy CPA license requirements—suggesting that firms support employees’ efforts to obtain the CPA credential, according to the AICPA.