The accounting industry is dominated by two types of companies: large, multinational, multi-service companies, offering a wide array of services, and smaller, localized firms providing accounting expertise. In the business world, accounting involves processing and preparing financial information for investors, managers, banks and lenders. Personal accounting includes tax planning, investment planning and retirement planning.
Besides the services of certified public accountants, the accounting sector includes companies which offer payroll, bookkeeping, tax preparation, consulting and other accounting services. The demand for accounting services is based on factors such as the number of new established businesses, higher personal income and the increasing complexity of corporate business.
Accounting Employment - Employer Reviews
- Accounts Receivable Management INC Careers
- ADP Careers
- Booz Allen Hamilton Careers
- Deloitte Careers
- HR Block Careers
- Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Careers
- Robert Half International Careers
- The US accounting services industry has about 100,000 firms (First Research, 2011)
- The big four accounting firms are PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young and KPMG
- The 50 largest companies hold almost 50 percent of the market (First Research, 2011)
- Payroll services: 25 percent of industry revenue; tax preparation: 20 percent; auditing 15 percent and bookkeeping 10 percent (First Research, 2011)
- Accounting sector combined annual revenue: 120 billion (First Research, 2011)
Accounting Industry Employment Background
The four primary fields of accounting and auditing are public accounting, government accounting, management accounting and internal auditing.
Public accountants work in fields such as consulting, auditing, mergers and acquisitions and general accounting. Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting activities such as accounting, tax auditing and consulting.
Auditors check the accounting ledgers and financial statements of government agencies and companies. This work is becoming increasingly computerized.
Financial accountants develop financial statements based on general ledgers and participate in making important financial decisions for an organization.
Forensic accountants look for illegal financial activities by companies, individuals and organized crime rings.
Accountants have positions such as:
- Staff accountant
- Business analyst
- Senior accountant
- Accounts payable clerk
- Senior accountant
- Accounting supervisor
- Accounting manager
- Executive accounting manager
Accounting Industry Employment Statistics
- Accountants and auditors had approximately 1.3 million jobs in 2008 (Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS))
- About 24% of accountants and auditors work for accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation and payroll services firms (BLS)
- About 8 percent of accountants and auditors are self-employed (BLS)
- Most accountants and auditors work in urban areas
- According to the major employment website, indeed.com, the top locations for accountants in 2011 are New York City, NY; Houston, TX; Atlanta, GA; and Chicago, IL
- Business valuation is the leading accounting specialty niche (Top 100 Firms report by Accounting Today)
Accounting Industry Employment Outlook
The accounting sector offers a wide array of jobs and growth opportunities. According to US News & World Report, Accountant is one of the 50 best careers for 2011 and should have strong growth over the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 22% employment growth from 2008 to 2018 which is much faster than the average for all occupations. From 2008 to 2018 the BLS expects the accounting sector to add about 279,400 jobs.
The primary employment growth factors are: An increase in the number of companies, changing corporate governance regulations and financial laws, and an increase in accountability for protecting a company's stakeholders. The continual globalization of business, will also increase the demand for accounting expertise and services associated with international trade and international mergers and acquisitions. Also, the growing movement towards the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) should increase the demand for accountants and auditors. The IFRS utilizes a judgement-based system to determine the fair-market value of assets and liabilities. According to the BLS, job opportunities should be favorable.