Headlines: Job Security Isn’t Enough to Keep Many Accountants From Quitting

This is The Accounting Podcast.

I'm Blake Oliver.

According to a recent article in The Wall
Street Journal titled "Job Security Isn't

Enough To Keep Many Accountants From
Quitting" by Mark Maurer, accountants

are leaving the profession in droves.

The article cites some
troubling statistics.

There were about 1.65 million accountants
and auditors in the US in 2022.

That's down 15.9% from 2019.

More than 300,000 accountants quit
their jobs between 2019 and 2021.

What's more, the average tenure and
age of accountants is increasing,

meaning it's often the more
experienced people who are exiting.

About 82% of accountants who left
this year through September 1st had

at least six years of experience.

There are several reasons
cited for this exodus.

Firstly, many accountants feel
underpaid and find the work

mundane leading to burnout.

On top of that, some are concerned about
the threat of new technologies, like

artificial intelligence, replacing them.

To illustrate this dissatisfaction
the article tells the story of

two accountants who left or are
considering leaving the field.

Omer Khokhar worked for
six years as an accountant.

He then left to join JPMorgan Chase's
commercial real estate division.

He found accounting monotonous with
little room for creativity or growth.

Zach Madel a 28 year old CPA and firm
owner in Florida plans to evaluate

switching careers after this tax
season to pursue counseling people,

struggling with mental health issues.

Though he appreciates the flexibility
of running his own business.

He finds the accounting work
tedious and wants to make more of a

meaningful impact through his work.

More anecdotes highlight how overwork
drives some accountants away.

A 33 year old tax accountant in
Kansas City with over six years of

experience feels overworked year-round
and is evaluating new career options.

A 32 year old senior accountant in
Pennsylvania is considering going

back to school for nursing, believing
it may provide more meaningful

work and better work-life balance.

Some accountants like Nicole Davis,
a CPA in Georgia, find fulfillment

in helping small businesses,
especially during the pandemic.

For her, the role provides a sense
of gratitude and meaning she has

no plans to leave the profession.

The shortage of accountants is expected
to worsen as more baby boomers retire

without enough young people entering
the profession to replace them.

According to Purdue University professor
Troy Janes, who's quoted in the story,

accounting firms must raise salaries,
offer training and new capabilities

and provide more career flexibility.

Janes notes that more firms in recent
years are willing to allow managers

to remain at that level rather
than dismiss them, a move to retain

personnel who might otherwise leave.

Finally , AI poses a paradox while
some hope it will reduce tedious tasks.

Ben Wann, an accounting education
company, owner notes that others see the

technology as a threat that will widen
the gap between accountants skills and

what's needed in the modern workplace.

You can find a link to the
article in the show notes.

It's an excellent read.

My main takeaway is that the stability of
an accounting career isn't as appealing

as it used to be and doesn't outweigh
the long hours and often monotonous work.

It's my hope that the profession
will embrace new technologies,

such as generative AI to reduce
hours, increase pay, and help

accountants do more exciting work.

This has been a news update
from The Accounting Podcast.

I'm Blake Oliver.

Thanks for listening.

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Headlines: Job Security Isn’t Enough to Keep Many Accountants From Quitting
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