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We see a bright future on your horizon: Demand for accountants, career opportunities shine

Accountants and auditors play an important role in the success of the businesses and organizations at the heart of our community’s and nation’s economy. It is not an overstatement to say this, and we say it without the slightest hubris. It is a privilege to be among those professionals with knowledge of financial standards and requirements, and with the skills in analyzing and communicating the data that is then used to make smart decisions. Our expertise helps organizations operate as efficiently as possible and perform well in a sustainable manner.

Likewise, we also appreciate that organizations need professionals who are aware of the regulations and the latest changes in those regulations. So, companies can avoid the fallout associated with non-compliance which, depending on the nature of the compliance failure, could result in hefty fees and penalties, and may present legal and PR implications with far-reaching consequences for one’s business and personal life.

We are proud to be able to add to this pool of exceptional talent. Our sustained strong performance over the past 70 years continues even in these uncertain times, as we are investing in new accountants and related professionals to augment the team’s considerable skill and experience. If you are making a career change or want to change “seats” on the “bus,” accounting offers so many different opportunities for professionals at all levels. O’Donnell, Ficenec, Wills & Ferdig’s team appreciates that talent with detail-oriented natures, a high degree of integrity and ethics, problem-solving and multi-faceted communication skills are all highly valued within this industry and, more specifically, within the firm.

Careers with a bright future

There will always be a need for the skillsets that accountants, auditors, and tax professionals bring to the table. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the profession is expected to grow at a rate of 4% over the next eight years. But the growth could be much higher, depending on how the economy performs. As one might imagine, the demand for accountants and related occupations is closely tied to the health of the overall economy. As we work our way out of the pandemic, and as many organizations post record-breaking sales due to the surprising effects of the social changes brought about by the crisis, there will be an even greater need to prepare and examine the “numbers.”

In fact, via the Department of Labor’s O*NET site, the occupation is characterized as among those occupations that have a “bright outlook.” These occupations are defined as those that are projected to “grow rapidly in the next several years or will have large numbers of job openings.” Each “bright outlook occupation” either boasts projections of 5%-plus growth, or at least 100,000 average annual job openings between the 2019 to 2029 timeframe. Accountants and auditors are among an esteemed group of bright outlook occupations, which includes keenly sought-after positions such as acute care nurses, web (security) administrators and epidemiologists.

Over the decade, there are around 126,000 job openings for accountants and auditors projected each year. These openings are expected to come from a confluence of factors; there will be the need to replace talent who are retiring or otherwise exiting the labor force. Likewise, as the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook puts it: “… as more companies go public, there will be greater need for public accountants to handle the legally required financial documentation. The continued globalization of business may lead to increased demand for accounting expertise and services related to international trade and international mergers and acquisitions.”

Even technology, which can inspire a sense of dread among other professions (will automation drive me out of my job?) is anticipated to have a continued positive effect. From the Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Technological change is expected to affect the role of accountants over the decade. Some routine accounting tasks may be automated as platforms such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain become more widespread. Although this will allow accountants to become more efficient, this change is not expected to reduce overall demand.” Instead, it was reported that, with automation of data entry and other rote tasks, accountants’ advisory and analytical prowess will take center stage.

So, technological changes may support many of these things that we accountants love to do; really diving into the numbers, partnering with clients in meaningful ways, basically taking on those value-added functions that really can make a difference in organizations’ operations. All in all, one can rest assured that his or her career is in exceptional hands. One need not worry about being made irrelevant, or about being at the whims of social changes that can diminish a profession to a quaint reference in a history book. The switchboard operators of the 1950s and the video rental store clerks of the 1980s and 1990s can certainly relate!

Work to live; not live to work

Current circumstances (with the pandemic) have put a spotlight on the importance of offering competitive wages that transcend the mere “living wage.” On average, via U.S. government statistics from 2020, accountants and auditors earn around $81K annually. Top earners make almost $129K each year. This is around $25,000 more than the average median annual wage for all workers in the U.S. (at $56,000 as of May 2020). In Omaha-Council Bluffs, the “average” accountant’s salary is around $75K, which also exceeds the average annual wage for all occupations in the metro area by more than $20K (at $53,000).

As important as it is to know the “fundamentals” (earnings, benefits) behind each career, position, or firm choice, it is also important to consider the upward mobility and other aspects that make accounting such a dynamic and meaningful career option. We got into a little bit of it earlier, but there are many career paths for you to choose from, including public (externally facing) accounting and private (in-house) accounting. You may also choose to work at various government levels, from municipalities to federal, or within other organizations – such as nonprofits. As a public accountant, firms of all sizes are hiring, though we think we are the perfect blend of sufficiently sized to have rich resources. Yet, our firm is not so large that you get lost in the shuffle, and that opportunities to learn something new and move up are constrained.

And, within each firm, you can choose to work within areas such as audit, tax or consulting. Again, OFWF shines in this area. Our accountants have been able to pick up additional skills and certifications, in specialized functions like business valuations. They may have been wholly unfamiliar with these opportunities prior to joining our firm. You may surprise yourself and gravitate towards areas that you had never considered. We give you the opportunity to try new things. There is never a dull moment. Every day is different. You do not have the opportunity to get “bored” doing the same thing, day in and day out.

We could go on and on about what makes our firm different, and why we are privileged to work in a career that we enjoy and that makes a difference. But why not experience these differences for yourself? We encourage you to contact us today.

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