For grads, accounting degrees add up in any economy

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

Taxes are one of life’s few guarantees and for at least one segment of the job market, that’s a very good thing. More

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ACCOUNTING

For grads, accounting degrees add up in any economy

PBN PHOTO/DAVID LEVESQUE
ADDING UP: William Piccerelli, partner at Piccerelli, Gilstein & Co., says he has hired seven or eight accountants in the past year.

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 1/14/13

Taxes are one of life’s few guarantees and for at least one segment of the job market, that’s a very good thing.

“Even when the economy has gone through a difficult period, there is always a need for accountants,” said Richard Kaplan, managing partner of Yarlas, Kaplan, Santilli, Moran, a tax, accounting and business consulting firm in Providence. “The opportunities are there and it’s a good field.”

It’s also the top job-producing major for today’s college graduates.

In its class of 2012 student survey report, the National Association of Colleges and Employers said accounting majors were the most likely to get job offers, besting even engineering and computer science majors, with 68 percent of responding accounting majors receiving job offers after graduation.

It also reported that accountants suffer just a 4.1 percent unemployment rate, compared with the national average of about 8 percent.

In a separate report, the 2012 salary survey, the association reported graduates with accounting degrees earned an average salary of $50,400, 1.8 percent greater than the 2011 total.

The R.I. Department of Labor and Training in 2008 predicted accountants and auditors would be one of the state’s “hot jobs” from that year through 2018, with job openings growing by 15.8 percent over the decade and workers in those sectors earning an average salary of $65,395.

Local accounting firms say their own businesses just kept growing in the down economy the past few years and continue to do so in a state that is still struggling to recover from recession.

“We’re seeing companies from all levels, whether small or large, private or public, companies that really are looking for new market segments are the ones that are hiring,” said Sarah Pontarelli, branch manager of the Providence office of Robert Half International, a staffing firm that specializes in accounting, finance, legal and technology positions. “Recruiting at an entry level is not [unheard of] to make sure talent has the latest and greatest information and large public firms specifically have enhanced their on-campus recruiting initiative.”

Armed with an accounting degree, new graduates can pursue careers in public accounting – at small and large firms – private-industry firms or for government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

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