2013 will be the best year for the labor market since 2007, but the outlook is even brighter for individuals with a degree in accounting. Leading talent acquisition firm Robert Half has found that the unemployment rate for accounting professionals is just 2-5%, significantly less than the national average of 8% across all professions. The data indicates the field’s growth shows no signs of stopping, and that a degree in accounting from Minnesota School of Business may be one of the wisest investments an individual can make. We’ve highlighted some of the latest research on what financial professionals can expect this year, and in years to come.
Current Facts About Accounting Careers
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a corporate position in accounting will typically require a bachelor’s degree. Unlike many other entry-level positions, professionals can expect a median pay of around $60,000 annually. Analysts predict promising growth in the field in years to come, with a projected 190,700 positions expected to be added at companies by the year 2020.
Technical Skill Sets Matter
While there’s no shortage of opportunities for individuals with a degree in accounting and a strong, traditional skill set, the fastest growth in the field is actually for those who are computer savvy. Keith Feinberg, a Director at Robert Half, highlights the fact that highly-skilled employees can expect to go much further and demand higher salaries than those who are limited to a knowledge of bookkeeping. As companies increasingly move towards building proprietary software for financial tracking and planning, people with the skills to manage the implementation of this software are most sought-after. Feinberg advises students and professionals to do whatever possible to improve their technical skill set, whether adding a minor in information technology or taking evening classes to ensure they’ve mastered the basics.
Accountants Can Expect Bigger Raises
As if you needed any more evidence that a degree in accounting was one of the smartest investments someone can make this year, professionals in the field will likely have more room to ask for a raise when their annual review rolls around. CNN Money reports that while typical salaries across all areas of specialization will grow around 3% in 2013, accounting professionals can likely expect an increase that’s closer to 3.7%.
Specialization is the Future
While the data certainly indicates that a degree in accounting will be enough to land you a job with opportunities for raises and advancement, to truly live out your full potential, having specialization will matter more. According to Scott Moore, Senior Manager of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, demand will grow less for those who simply have the ability to be a staff number-cruncher. Moore advises professionals to become a subject matter expert in topics like the new Dodd-Frank act that will affect banks, or software technology. The best professionals never stop learning and improving.