Accountants are in short supply locally and on a national level

KOLO 8 News Now’s Terri Russell takes a look at why there are fewer accountants and possible solutions.
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 4:35 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Accountant Ralph Hartmann with Hartmann and Associates says he loves his job. He should. He’s been doing it for more than 40 years.

Accounting, he says, attracts a certain kind of person.

“People who are crazy,” says Hartmann with a laugh. “You have to love numbers to go into accounting obviously. It is technical and what some people think is tedious and that is unfortunate, it is only tedious if you don’t look at what the results can be,” he says.

But you don’t have to be an accountant to understand the numbers.

Fewer and fewer people are getting into the profession. 2018 statistics-the latest available--show a 7% drop in the number of accounting graduates nationwide.

The reasons are simple say analysts. Accountants starting out are putting in hours they aren’t adequately compensated for. There’s consistent continuing education. While technology can assist the accountant, only time and experience can teach them what the numbers actually mean. And the job can be stressful.

Here at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology, students at the business academy help maintain the student store on campus.

The instructor here says many business students want to be the next Steve Jobs and dive into entrepreneurial projects. But there are a handful of students who do have their eye on accounting; current and future instruction will help those students fill a need.

“While there isn’t a pathway per se in the state anymore, kids who are in business classes are introduced to accounting technology and that teaching is evolving,” says Pat Hambright with the Business Academy at AACT.

Experts say the accounting world will need to evolve to attract new blood and different ways to help clients with their books. Technology will certainly play a role in the evolution. Accounting analysts say technology could be designed though to take over the tedious work of accounting.

So accountants can focus on what they do best: Problem-solving.