Responding to the Shortage of Accounting Grads

Vertex Inc.

With college graduation season behind us, recruiters are keeping an anxious eye on the number of graduates in the high-demand field of accounting. They’re not seeing the number of new grads they’d like to see, according to a Korn Ferry report. That’s cause for concern across industries, “from organizations looking for new recruits to help balance the books to big professional-services firms which derive substantial revenue from accounting services.” And, I would add, to any organization looking to hire and develop new tax talent.

The article points out that more than 300,000 U.S. accountants and auditors have left their jobs in the past couple of years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) reports that, in addition to the decline in the number of new grads, the number of students and professionals taking (and passing) the certified public accountant (CPA) exam is falling.

Why are students turning away from accounting? Initial salaries are not stellar, compared with the going rates in the data science and technology fields. Recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have raised some concerns about future changes in accounting professionals’ roles. Plus, the hours can be grueling, especially during “busy season” at big accounting firms, where 60-100-hour workweeks are not uncommon.

Young learners may also feel that the profession doesn’t provide a strong sense of purpose. A Korn Ferry exec quoted in the article notes that “people are searching for more than just hours, and they might not necessarily get that with their organizations.” 

In my view, this is where automation can help: by creating roles that are more fulfilling and less intensively manual. Finance leaders have already discovered that leveraging automation can improve the employee experience, as I’ve recently noted in the blog,  A Gameplan for CFOs to Attract and Retain Top Talent. Tax leaders can follow a similar approach by leveraging advanced sales tax technologies in ways that enable their teams to focus more of their time and skills on higher-value activities.


Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information. The views and opinions expressed in Tax Matters are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, or opinion of Vertex Inc.

Blog Author

Larry Mellon, Tax Directory, Vertex Inc

Larry Mellon

Tax Director, Chief Tax Office

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Larry Mellon is a Tax Director in the Chief Tax Office, where he is responsible for providing insights, thought leadership and customer-centric direction to Vertex functional groups, supporting the continued expansion of Vertex indirect tax solutions and overall enterprise strategy. He has over 30 years of experience in sales and use tax compliance, risk assessment, jurisdictional audits, administration and management, as well as VAT compliance. Larry joined Vertex in 2005 as a Sales and Income Tax Supervisor and has served as Tax Manager since 2012, where he has played a pivotal role in elevating and advancing the company’s tax management offerings.

Prior to joining Vertex, Larry served as a Senior Tax Accountant and Property Tax Manager at Foamex International, Inc., a polyurethane and advanced polymer foam product manufacturer and marketer. Mellon also held multiple roles at The Franklin Mint and is a member of the Institute of Professionals in Taxation (IPT).

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