Is Accounting Profession Still Attractive?Is the accounting profession still attractive and on demand in the global recession years? The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) completed its third annual survey of the global accountancy profession in late November 2009 during an extraordinary time in modern history, as much of the world was seeking ways out of the global financial crisis, and released the result this February. More than 110 presidents and chief executive officers from IFAC’s member bodies and associates, and regional accountancy organizations and groupings, gave insights into their national or regional responses to global challenges, including their member’s position as part of the global financial reporting supply chain. Taking into account the environment in which it was being conducted—the credit crunch and subsequent call for changes in the global financial infra-structure—they asked the executives about measures their organizations took to mitigate the effects of the crisis on their organizations and communities.

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There were much more interesting questions, designed to gain a broader perspective on the issues facing accountants today and on the growth concerns of the profession in the countries and jurisdictions where their members are located as revealed in this post. Follow on…

 

Among six category of the survey [(1) Classification/Personal Information; (2) The Financial Crisis; (3) Risks and Issues Facing Your Organization and the Accountancy Profession; (4) IFAC as Global Representative of the Accountancy Profession; (5) Demand for Professional Accountants; and (6) Attractiveness of the Accountancy Profession], I much interested in category 5 and 6 [for more details result, see after these two paragraphs]:

  • The Demand for Accountants –  Almost four in five respondents rated the demand for professional accountants in “Public practice/accounting, advisory, tax, other services” to be “Very high” or “High”. “Public practice/auditing and assurance services” was about 10% behind it, followed by “Private sector companies”. Those surveyed believe that demand in these segments will “Increase” or “Remain the same” over the next three years, with the “Public sector/government” and “Academia” segments shown as areas of growing interest.
  • Attractiveness of the Accountancy ProfessionStudent interest in pursuing an accountancy career has increased dramatically over the past three years, according to the survey results. This is not so surprising at a time, during the financial crisis, when the attractiveness of competitive fields—including management consulting, investments, and investment banking, among others—has decreased. The accountancy profession has kept its appeal both for university students and those already in the field. It was rated eitherVery attractive” or “Attractiveto university-level students, as well as both experienced professionals and graduates recently entering the field. The profession was also rated “Very attractive” or “Attractive” to women by more than four in five respondents. In the coming three years, survey participants believe to a large degree that the profession will continue to be “Very attractive” or “Attractive” to the same groups—and that minorities in their jurisdictions will find it increasingly attractive.

 

Next are the details. Read on…

 

Demand for Professional Accountants

Questions: How would you rate the demand for professional accountants in the following sectors? In the coming three years, do you expect this demand to increase, remain the same, or decrease?

The Result:

About four of five respondents (77%) rated the demand for professional accountants in “Public practice/accounting, advisory, tax, other services” to be “Very high” or “High”—somewhat higher than for “Public practice/auditing and assurance services” (65%). Professionals working in private sector companies are also expected to be in high demand (65%) [see below]

Those surveyed believe that strong demand in these segments willIncrease” or “Remain the same” over the next three years, with “Public sector/government” and “Academia” also shown as areas of growing interest [see below]

 

 
Attractiveness of the Accountancy Profession

Question-1: How would you rate the attractiveness of the accountancy profession to the following groups?

Result:

Judging by the responses of IFAC’s member bodies and associates, and regional accountancy organizations and groupings—who are keenly aware of the direction of the profession in their countries or jurisdictions—the appeal of the accountancy profession has increased, at a time when the appeal of professions such as management consulting, investments, and investment banking, among others, has decreased.

The profession has kept its appeal both for university students and those already in the field. It was rated either “Very attractive” or “Attractive” to university-level students, as well as experienced professionals and recent graduates. Accountancy was also ratedVery attractive” or “Attractive” to women, but somewhat less (“Attractive” or “Somewhat attractive”) to minorities.

The first survey result leads to the next questions. Read on…

Question-2: Would you say that student interest in pursuing a career in accountancy has increased, remained the same, or decreased when compared with three years ago?

 
Result:

Attractiveness of the Accountancy Professional

Student interest in pursuing an accountancy career has increased dramatically over the past three years, according to the survey results. Nearly six in ten respondents said that interest has increased, with over 25% saying it has “Remained the same.” About 15% reported that interest has decreased.

 

Last question: In the coming three years, do you expect this attractiveness to increase, remain the same, or decrease?

 

Result:

In the years ahead, survey participants believe, to a large degree, that the profession will continue to beVery attractive” or “Attractive” to the same groups. They expect minorities to find the profession more attractive in the future.