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What’s in style for budding CPAs this year

The accounting industry outlook is all good for college grads for the next several years—great news if you’ve decided to take the accounting path. But the news is even better for anyone who hops on the bandwagon of a few trendy areas within the field. Here’s what’s hot in hiring these days:


Geek is where it’s at. “Information systems, management information systems, anything very technical is very hot right now,” says public accounting recruiter Scott McQuillan. The Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business says 98% of students in its Department of Accounting and Information Systems have secured the job or graduate program they want by graduation. Consider a dual major in accounting and information systems or computer science if your school does not offer a combined curriculum. And be proud of your tech-ness, it’s going to pay off.

Liberal arts dual majors

You might be surprised to hear that recruiters encourage you to study modern poetry or organic chemistry in addition to your accounting courses. “We're always looking for those who have a well-rounded background,” McQuillan says. He has a soft spot for students who major in accounting and something completely different. “Their mindset is different. They're thinking in a different way, and that's something that we're always looking for.” If you can apply critical thinking in novel ways, that’ll earn you major points.

Business valuation

According to this year’s Top 100 Firms report by Accounting Today, business valuation is the leading specialty niche. 74% of firms surveyed reported an increase of business in this area, due to stricter regulations in tax and accounting. And the AICPA reports 2009 was a record year for the number of ABV credential holders. The demand for accurate, relevant financial information is higher than ever and the importance of business valuation will only continue to rise, so get your foot in the door now.


More and more non-profit organizations are realizing they need to hire CPAs to ensure their businesses are compliant with stricter accounting regulations. In fact, public firms report non-profits were the second-fastest growing category of clients this year, according to Accounting Today. If you’re considering a career in non-profit, however, most practicing CPAs recommend you gain experience in public first in order to gain exposure to different areas of accounting.

Is one of these areas right for you? Find Your Fit.

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