Creating a New Pipeline for CPAs

Creating a New Pipeline for CPAs

Indiana has a rather strong need for more accounting professionals. In fact, the state’s INDemand Jobs website ranks the demand for accountants as a 5 out of 5 flames – denoting how hot the job market for their skills has become. Companies have been working hard to find and keep the professionals they need, and all signs indicate their struggle may only grow with time. That’s why accounting experts in Indiana have been strategizing on new ways to develop a pipeline for more people who are skilled in the art of numbers.

The issue at hand has three core components: declining enrollment in undergraduate accounting programs, strong competition with other career pathways that may offer better pay, and forecasted growth in the accounting sector overall. The job outlook for accounting and auditing is expected to grow 7% between 2020 and 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

As a response to the increasing demand, the Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS) has been developing initiatives and resources to attract young people into the industry. INCPAS has a membership of about 7,000 accounting professionals throughout the state, and those individuals consistently cite the talent pipeline as a top concern.

The association’s plan contains three initial career awareness strategies that can likely be adopted by other accounting entities throughout Indiana.


Strategy 1: Early Outreach, Shifting Perceptions

Many students have misconceptions about what accountants actually do at work, and they don’t realize the broad opportunities in the field. So, one of the initial talent pipeline goals should be to shift perceptions and start presenting the facts about the industry to young people sooner.

Students will be exposed to information designed to break the stereotype of accounting being that of a boring, stuffy career choice. According to INCPAS, certified accountants are the go-to advisors for every type of organization, with a role that constantly evolves to address emerging issues such as sustainability, IT, data analytics, and cybersecurity. They can work for all kinds of different companies and industries, which makes accounting much more of a diverse and engaging career choice than many people understand.

Other accounting entities throughout the state are encouraged to create their own student outreach programs. Often, it’s as simple as partnering with local school corporations or career events to find opportunities for your experts to present to students.


Strategy 2: Launch New Resources for Students

Strategy 2 involves opening doors and providing resources for young people that may be interested in pursuing a career in accounting. INCPAS is going this by providing free memberships to high school age students and creating other support for those studying accounting in college. The organization says this is a low-cost, low-commitment way to keep these young people engaged and help them build their early resumes.

There are lots of ways for other accounting firms in Indiana to provide similar support to these up-and-coming number-crunchers. Providing more internship opportunities would be a great first step. Almost every college and school corporation in Indiana is hungry for more companies to open their doors to students and establish quality internships. The way to start would be to connect with your local internship coordinators.


Strategy 3: Build Access & Diversity

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are major priorities in the accounting industry today. All over the state, targeted initiatives to boost awareness and retention among underserved populations have been taking shape in a variety of ways.

INCPAS has been busy on this front. The association has been working with CPA firms, companies, and colleges to expose more people to opportunities and support them as they enter the field. One of their strategies has been their Scholars program, which connects minority individuals with mentors, financial aid, and university officials that can explain what to expect.

Firms in the accounting sector are encouraged to implement their own means of supporting minority students. If more young people knew about the great career opportunities in the industry, more companies would connect with the talent they need.


Opening Doors

The acts of welcoming people in and helping them succeed will be essential moving forward. If perceptions can be shifted and greater levels of support can be provided, more young students will opt to make accounting their chosen career path and the industry will be able to develop the pipeline it needs. The more doors that Hoosier accounting organizations can open, the more people will come walking into the industry.


By Nick Dmitrovich with the Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS).

Click to share!