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Finance and Accounting

Scott Showalter Advises on How to Attract Talent to Accounting Programs

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According to a recent article in the Journal of Accountancy, the popularity of undergraduate accounting programs in the U.S. has been declining for years. According to a 2023 AICPA survey, the yearly number of new graduates with accounting degrees dropped 18.3% from its peak in 2016 through 2022.

It’s part of a broader drop in U.S. college enrollment that was particularly pronounced during the pandemic years. But the changes have been especially sharp for some accounting programs. And with many organizations struggling to hire accountants and other financial professionals, it’s raising concerns that the talent pipeline is running dry.

For a deeper understanding of the issue and suggestions to tackle it, the publication interviewed three recent winners of the AICPA’s Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award, include Scott Showalter, director of the Jenkins Master of Accounting program and professor of practice in accounting.

“While we may have lost the battle with students in the business schools due to differences in starting salaries, the salaries and opportunities in the accounting profession are very attractive to students who are not in business,” Showalter says in the article. “We need to expand the population of the students who we recruit for accounting majors. We have been able to expand the diversity in our graduate accounting program, but it takes a lot of work to identify and attract more diverse students. It’s a one-on-one effort.”

Read more from the Journal of Accountancy.