Where Have the CPAs Gone?

May 28, 2024
Where Have the CPAs Gone?

Many industries struggle to attract and retain top talent, and finance and accounting are no exception. In particular, the number of CPA professionals leaving the field has increased.

There are a few reasons for that. An aging workforce means more CPAs are reaching retirement age or opting to change careers. At the same time, fewer people are studying accounting and/or getting their CPA designation. This potential loss of knowledge and experience leaves companies scrambling to find people with the needed accounting skills, especially CPAs.

What CPAs Are Looking For

There are a few common reasons why people leave accounting. One recent survey of CPAs who had recently left their positions found that nearly 40% cited a higher salary as the primary reason. Other top responses included a desire for more flexible work options (35.6%), feeling that entry- and mid-level employees were more valued (33.5%), and better benefits (30.4%).

However, nearly 57% of respondents said they wanted to stay in the accounting field. That’s good news for employers: It’s within their capabilities to determine how to satisfy their employees and keep them engaged in the field, emphasizing the importance of meeting CPAs’ needs for their professional growth and satisfaction.

Keys To Retain CPAs

Taken together, it’s clear that most CPAs who recently left their job or who have left the field altogether did so to seek better compensation, have work-life balance, feel more valued, or some combination of the above. Salaries should be competitive for your area, but accounting professionals are also looking for improved benefits to help round out their compensation packages. Beyond compensation, it’s important for all workers to feel they have a career path and that their employer values them. Providing relevant professional development opportunities can be an important way to show accounting employees you’re invested in their continued success. Finally, while remote work doesn’t work for every position in every company, allowing flexible work options — whether that’s flexible hours or some version of remote/hybrid work — can go a long way toward attracting new talent and retaining the valued CPAs you already have on staff.

If you’re looking for help hiring CPAs or other accounting professionals, our expertise and network within finance and accounting can connect you with the skilled professionals your company needs. Contact us today to see how we can help.

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