The Impact of the Retirement of 75% of CPAs on the Accounting Industry

The accounting industry might be a robust one. But if current trends don’t shift within the next few years, CPAs might become much harder to find. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) determined that by 2019, about 75% of all CPAs reached retirement age.

That should be concerning for anyone who has ever relied on the services of an accountant. Here’s what you need to know about the retirement of CPAs affecting the accounting industry.

Too Few Replacement CPAs?

People across industries retire every day. And usually, there are enough new workers to replace them. But over the past decade, fewer and fewer people have taken the CPA exam. The difference is significant — in 2010, about 50,000 people took the exam. In 2021, only about 32,000 did, according to Global Finance Magazine

Unless there’s a surprise influx of new CPAs, there may be far fewer accountants in the future.

Does Technology Soften the Impact?

If the above statistics are any indication, the country will be short tens of thousands of accountants as 75% of CPAs retire. This certainly isn’t favorable news for the accounting world, but the blow may be softened somewhat by the advances in accounting technology.

New forms of AI-driven accounting software still can’t replace the expertise of a seasoned accountant. However, as technology advances rapidly, it’s becoming possible to automate some of the more mundane tasks that CPAs have traditionally done:

  • Creating invoices
  • Compiling expense reports
  • Payroll (for accounting firms with multiple employees)
  • Paying incoming bills

With automation reducing the need for total accounting jobs, the CPA shortage might not hit quite as hard. But because interest in accounting seems to be steadily falling, the field may need to take steps to draw in new talent.

New Appeal for a New Generation

So how exactly should today’s accounting firms boost interest in the field? Here are a couple of strategies:

Recruit the Right People

There never seems to be a shortage of interest in computer science and information technology. And while not everyone realizes it, computer scientists and CPAs share several key traits. Namely, they need to be detail-oriented and have the ability to solve complex problems.

As more accounting firms adopt new technology, the overlap between accounting and computer science only increases. If accounting associations and businesses focus informational and/or recruiting efforts on science-minded individuals, interest in the field may increase.

Adapt to a Changing Workforce

More people are becoming drawn to the benefits of remote work. In many cases, most (if not all) accounting tasks can be done remotely. This model is incredibly convenient for parents, as they may not need to spend money on childcare when working from home.

If more potential accountants see that they’ll have the opportunity to work remotely, they may start to seriously consider working in the field.

Need a CPA?

With retirement in the accounting industry at an all-time high, there are fewer accomplished, experienced CPAs now than ever before. But when you work with CPAClub, you ensure that your audits are completed by experts using cutting-edge accounting technology. Ready to revolutionize the way you do audits? Contact us to request a quote today.

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