Accountancy: The Worst Times at the Best of Times
Financial Times (08/03/00) Vol. 75, No. 7 p.8; Beard, Alison

AICPA says that the combination of a healthy economy and an excess of job opportunities has equaled trouble for the accounting industry, with the number of accounting majors in undergraduate universities dropping 20 percent over the last three years. Experts say that the Savings & Loan scandal of the 1980s did not help the perception of the accounting profession, nor did the addition of state laws that require CPAs to stay in school for more than four years to gain 150 credit hours. Milly Pellizarri, external relations coordinator at the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, says, "Students are looking for high salaries, power, titles, and they're not equating that with accounting." To combat the decline in numbers, associations have increased efforts to attract young people to careers in accounting. The AICPA is piloting an accounting curriculum that will be installed in 4,000 high schools throughout the United States, as college freshmen are courted through promotional brochures and alumni dinners. Bernard Milano, executive director of the KPMG Foundation, says that his organization has improved internship programs in order to appeal to potential accountants. Companies are now hiring interns by the hundreds, often paying them as much as first year associates, treating them to sporting events and parties, and even subsidizing their housing.


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