Accounting Career Outlook: 2016 Snapshot

Accounting expert interview

Accounting careers continue to hold strong promise for new students. Salaries remain high from graduate through to executive positions and job growth is outpacing new accountant student growth. See our 2016 Accounting Career Outlook Infographic below for the full snapshot. Some key facts include:

  • New students into Bachelor of Accounting programs is growing each year by around 5% (AICPA). New accounting careers are projected to grow much faster. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 11% job growth through the next decade.
  • Diversity matters. New accounting students are relatively evenly split between men and women. Men having a slight majority at Bachelor and PhD levels, with more women at the Masters of Accounting level.
  • New graduates won’t see a great difference in accounting salary between Corporate Accounting and Public Accounting. Both tracks will pay accounting graduates $55,000 – $70,000 and mid-level managers around $125,000 (Robert Half). However, the big difference occurs at the executive levels, where Big 4 Partners are projected to earn an average of $500K ($200K – $800K range). Audit executives in a corporate accounting role earn around half that amount, but with better work-life balance.
  • Automation continues to be a factor in the the industry. See our deep dive on Automation in Accounting to learn more.
  • Overall, the industry remains highly attractive to new students, with the combination of salary, on-the-job training, and job security. The industry needs to promote the versatility of accounting qualifications to build new student pipeline and meet upcoming demand. Prospective students should be told about both traditional Big 4 career paths, with their high salaries, but also the ability of accountants to become entrepreneurs or move into different management roles.

Accounting Career OUtlook