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Mentorship, education are seen as ways to tackle accountant shortage

Elizabeth Trovall Apr 12, 2024
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Fly View Productions/Getty Images

Mentorship, education are seen as ways to tackle accountant shortage

Elizabeth Trovall Apr 12, 2024
Heard on:
Fly View Productions/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

It’s the final stretch of tax-preparation season, which has many accountants working long hours as they try to meet the April 15 deadline. Complicating the long slog of tax season is an accountant shortage, and it’s not just those who do your taxes. Employers and industry folks are puzzling over how to attract talent and help create a new generation of accounting professionals.

​With so many accountant baby boomers retiring, Michael Decker with the American Institute of CPAs is looking at younger generations. 

“We were trying to change the messaging around accounting,” he said. CPA: not certified public accountant, but more like “coolest profession around.”

​The industry is trying to reverse the decline in college students studying accounting with incentives like scholarships and a new pilot program.

“The young employee can get their education for licensure, they can work and then they’re preparing for the exam at a low cost credit hour,” he said.

​In Texas, University of Houston professor Mohan Kuruvilla is trying to get accountants into high school classrooms in his role with the Texas Society of CPAs.

“It is not just about talking about the opportunities of accounting, it’s also providing a platform to be a mentor to these students,” he said.

​Kuruvilla said this can be especially valuable for first-generation college students who may not have grown up with an accountant in the family, like he did. 

“Just like I saw my father, and the lifestyle he provided us. Just showing them the person you are and what you do will transform their lives,” he said.

​And mentorship can also play an important role in retention, said Brandi Britton with the talent firm Robert Half. 

“If you have a mentoring program, that really serves your newer generation workforce very well, because they like that, coaching, etc.” she said.

​She said other education, like work conferences, can help too.

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