How to Solve the Accounting Shortage in 2024

How to Solve the Accounting Shortage in 2024


Last Updated on March 23, 2024 by Qusai Ahmad

The accounting profession is facing a serious crisis. According to the AICPA, the number of accounting graduates and CPA exam candidates has declined significantly in the past few years, while the demand for accountants has increased due to the complex and dynamic business environment12. Moreover, many experienced accountants are approaching retirement age, leaving a huge gap in the talent pool3.n

This accounting shortage poses a major threat to the quality and reliability of financial reporting, auditing, and taxation. It also limits the growth and innovation potential of the accounting industry, as well as the career opportunities for aspiring accountants.n

So, how can we solve this problem? In this blog post, we will explore some of the root causes of the accounting shortage, and suggest some possible solutions to attract and retain more accountants in 2024 and beyond.n

In Short: To solve the accounting shortage in 2024, we need to:

    • Reform the education system to make accounting more relevant, engaging, and accessible.
    • Improve the image of accounting to change the negative stereotypes and attract more diverse and talented students.
    • Enhance the work environment to offer more competitive compensation, benefits, flexibility, and support for accountants.
    • Leverage the opportunities of COVID-19 to innovate, transform, and demonstrate the value of the accounting profession.

Why is there an accounting shortage?

Several factors contribute to the accounting shortage, such as:

    • The 150-hour requirement. Many states require candidates to complete 150 credit hours of education before they can sit for the CPA exam. nThis means that most students need to pursue a master’s degree or an additional year of undergraduate studies, which adds to the cost and time of becoming a CPA4. nSome students may opt for other majors or careers that have lower entry barriers or higher returns on investment.n
    • The perception of accounting. Accounting is often perceived as a boring, tedious, and stressful profession that involves crunching numbers and following rules.nMany students may not be aware of the diverse and rewarding opportunities that accounting offers, such as consulting, forensic accounting, data analytics, and entrepreneurship5. Additionally, some students may not see themselves represented in the accounting profession, which lacks diversity in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity6.n
    • The competition from other fields. Accounting faces stiff competition from other fields that are more attractive to the younger generation, such as finance, technology, and engineering. These fields offer higher salaries, more flexibility, and more innovation potential than accounting.nThey also leverage the skills and interests of the digital natives, such as coding, gaming, and social media7.n
    • The impact of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the education and career paths of many accounting students and professionals. Some students may have deferred or dropped out of their accounting programs due to financial or personal reasons. Some professionals may have quit or changed their jobs due to burnout, health concerns, or family obligations.nThe pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of automation and artificial intelligence in accounting, which may reduce the demand for human accountants in the future8.n

How can we solve the accounting shortage?

To address the accounting shortage, we need to take a holistic and proactive approach that involves multiple stakeholders, such as educators, employers, regulators, and professional associations. Here are some of the possible solutions that we can implement:n

    • Reform the education system. We need to rethink the accounting curriculum and pedagogy to make it more relevant, engaging, and accessible to the students. For example, we can introduce more electives and experiential learning opportunities that expose students to different accounting specialties and industries. We can also incorporate more technology and soft skills training that prepare students for the changing accounting landscape.nFurthermore, we can offer more scholarships, grants, and incentives that reduce the financial burden and increase the motivation of pursuing an accounting degree and a CPA license9.n
    • Improve the image of accounting. We must change the negative stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding accounting and accountants. For example, we can showcase the success stories and testimonials of diverse and inspiring accountants who have made a positive impact on society and the profession. We can also promote the value and benefits of accounting as a career choice, such as job security, career advancement, and work-life balance.nAdditionally, we can create more awareness and outreach programs that target underrepresented and underserved groups, such as women, minorities, and low-income students10.n
    • Enhance the work environment. We need to create a more supportive and rewarding work environment for accountants. For example, we can offer more competitive compensation and benefits packages that reflect the market demand and the skills and performance of the accountants. We can also provide more mentoring and coaching programs that foster the professional development and career growth of the accountants.nMoreover, we can implement more flexible and remote work arrangements that accommodate the personal and family needs of the accountants11.n
    • Leverage the opportunities of COVID-19. We need to seize the opportunities that COVID-19 has created for the accounting profession. For example, we can use the crisis as a catalyst to innovate and transform the accounting processes and services, such as adopting cloud-based and data-driven solutions that enhance efficiency and effectiveness. We can also use the crisis as an opportunity to demonstrate the resilience and relevance of the accounting profession, such as providing guidance and support to the businesses and individuals who are affected by the pandemic.nFurthermore, we can use the crisis as a chance to collaborate and communicate more effectively with the stakeholders, such as using digital platforms and tools that facilitate information sharing and feedback12.


The accounting shortage is a serious and urgent issue that needs to be addressed by the accounting community and society at large. By understanding the causes and implementing the solutions, we can overcome this challenge and ensure the sustainability and prosperity of the accounting profession in 2024 and beyond.

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