Table of Contents

Twenty-First Century Accounting: Facts and Trends

New accountants with a bachelor's accounting degree snagged all-time high starting salaries in 2005, pulling down an average of $44,564, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Why? Corporate accounting scandals have led to changes in accounting law, fueling an even greater need for this already in-demand profession. The changing landscape of accounting reveals other trends:

  1. A BS in Accounting isn't necessary to enter the field.

    An associate's degree in accounting is sufficient for a career as a paraprofessional accountant. With a junior college associate's degree in accounting or a diploma in accounting from a business school, the student with a two-year accounting degree can work for an accounting firm preparing corporate or individual tax returns, keeping payroll records, or auditing. A survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants shows that 96% of mid- to large-sized accounting firms rely on paraprofessionals with associate-accounting credentials. Part time and tax season positions for paraprofessional accountants are likely to continue their rapid growth.

  2. Bachelor degrees pay accounting dividends.

    Now that most states have adopted the U.S. Uniform Accountancy Act, which demands 150 hours of college education to take the CPA exam, fewer students go into accounting. Hence, the current shortages in qualified accountants. As a result, students with a BS in Accounting find themselves in a seller's job market where firms are offering not just record high salaries but perks as well. Students with a Bachelor of Business Administration-Accounting degree can specialize in a hot job field like taxation. With a BS in Accounting and computer training, the student can pursue technological accounting, developing accounting software or designing accounting systems.

  3. Solid salaries aren't the only perks of today's accounting positions.

    CNN reported that top accounting firm Ernst & Young sought to hire 4,500 accounting graduates in 2005, up 30 percent from the previous year. Other powerhouse firms continue to compete for graduates with bachelor's degrees in accounting. Because accountants are fielding multiple offers, accounting firms now offer hiring bonuses to supplement the career-high starting salaries, and benefit packages further sweeten the pot. To make sure young accountants spend quality time at their new jobs, corporations even provide concierge services to run errands.

  4. CPAs can increase their career-power by specializing.

    While the accounting profession is still basically divided into public accounting and auditing, cost or management accounting (keeping corporate financial records), internal auditing (checking for waste or fraud), and government accounting, some new accounting specializations have terrific career potential for CPAs. With some background in business administration, or better yet, a business degree, a CPA can work in assurance services, providing quality control and risk assessment to corporations. Post Enron, forensic accounting and fraud detection are in demand as never before. Environmental accounting has seen a boom, too, since corporation and utilities seek accounting professionals to do environmental compliance audits.

  5. Opportunities for experienced accountants now abound.

    The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, passed to correct the abuses of Enron and similar accounting scandals, has left a trail of opportunities for accountants with a few years of corporate auditing or public accounting under their belts. Salaries in the $70,000-$85,000 range are becoming common for corporate audit managers, pushed by an accounting shortage predicted to continue for at least another decade.

The high demand for accountants remains because the significant drop in accounting enrollments caused by the 30-unit hike in CPA credit requirements has yet to correct itself. Students setting out to get their bachelors degrees in accounting face bright prospects.

"5 careers: Big demand, big pay," by Jeanne Sahadi. CNNMoney.com (Feb 6, 2006).
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (aicpa.org)
Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (bls.gov)
"Jobs: Accountants are kings among grads" (money.cnn.com).
"Staffing Issues for the New Millennium--The Emerging Role of the Accounting Paraprofessional," by Ted R. Compton. Ohio CPA Journal 59.3 (Jul-Sep 2000).

Pursue your Accounting Major today…

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.

Searching Searching ...

Prefer exploring options talking to our staff?
Call toll free now: 1.855.330.6938
Matching School Ads
MS in Accounting
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Online Masters of Accountancy

Since 1888, The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs. You can choose one of five degree programs from a selective institution ranked among the top 10 master’s universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.

  • Online Courses
Advanced Accounting - PhD in Bus. Admin.
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Business Administration - Accounting (BS) (Online)
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
MBA - Finance/Accounting

What They’re Known For

Founded in 1946 and located in the heart of central New York, Utica College is a regionally accredited, independent, private institution that features many of the advantages of a large university — such as undergraduate and graduate degree options, excellent academics, and outstanding faculty — with the intimacy and high degree of personal attention more closely associated with smaller private institutions.

  • Online Courses
Good for Working Adults
  • A private, Christian, liberal arts university founded in 1905 and open to students of any faith.
  • Has an average class size of 20 students.
  • 97% of students receive financial aid, with the average freshman receiving $10,000.
  • Offers over 25 undergraduate degree programs.
  • Has approximately 5,000 students; 60% female and 40% male.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Change the World with American University

Be a part of something bigger than yourself. At American University, we strive to help you develop your professional interests and indulge in your passion for making a difference. Our online degree programs allow you to gain the advanced skills for active leadership in a variety of fields.

Set Yourself Apart at American University

At American University, our smart, passionate and engaged students and faculty focus their knowledge to create meaningful change. Our strengths in international service and public affairs inspire our sense of social responsibility and a dedication to cultural and intellectual diversity. We're defined by our global perspective, practical idealism and a dedication to public service.

  • Online Courses