Demographics that Impact the Accounting Field

James Johnson, Ph.D and a professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sees the changing demographics in the United States as a call for accountants to embrace diversity.

Communities are changing and the accounting industry must reflect that change. In 2012, minorities made up 25% of accounting employees, but only 10% of partners at CPA firms. Women represent 44% of accounting employees and only 19% of partners.

Population is growing in the South, which is culturally diverse. Baby boomers are aging. This combined with the advances in health care and technology make care of the elderly a larger responsibility. There is a rise in number of grandparents raising their grandchildren. These are just a few of the demographic changes occurring.

In response to the demographic changes Johnson feels that the accounting industry must embrace immigrants and diversity. Accountants will need greater competence in dealing with various cultures. With population growing in the South, other regions may need to adapt to a slower growth model. Firms should look for talented graduates at schools other than the big names schools. Talented minority students at the big name schools will be in high demand, but there will be equally talented students from the lesser name schools with less competition for the hiring firms. Flexibility will be required for firms when dealing with their employees’ lifestyles.

“Again, agility, flexibility, accommodation is the order of the day,” says Johnson. “If you try on-size-fits-all, it’s going to be my way or the highway, you’re going to be on the highway all by yourself.”

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 10:00 AM