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EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK IN

ACCOUNTING

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LA BO R

BUREAU OF LA BO R STATISTICS

Maurice J. Tobin, Secretary

Ewan Clague, Commissioner

in cooperation with VETERANS ADM INISTRATION
O C C U P A T IO N A L O U T L O O K SERIES



Bulletin No. 1048




Employment O utlook in

ACCOUNTING
Fields of employment
Training and qualifications
Earnings and working conditions
Employment trends and outlook

Bulletin No. 1048
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Maurice J. Tobin, Secretary f f
I
*
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS Is
Ewan Clague, Com m issioner

in cooperation with
VETERANS ADMINISTRATION

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington
D. C. - Price
cents



25,

20

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LETTER O F T R A N S M IT T A L

U nited States D epartment of L abor,
B ureau of L abor Statistics,

,

Washington D . C., November 16, 1951.

The Secretary of L abor:
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on employment outlook in accounting.
This is one of a series of reports made available through the Bureau’s Occupational
Outlook Service for use in vocational counseling of veterans, young people in school,
and others interested in the choice of an occupation. This study was financed largely
by the Veterans Administration, and the report was originally published as a Veterans
Administration pamphlet for use in vocational rehabilitation and education activities.
The study was conducted in the Bureau’s Division of Manpower and Employment
Statistics under the supervision of Helen Wood. The report was prepared by Cora E.
Taylor and Rose K. Wiener. The Bureau wishes to acknowledge the generous assist­
ance and cooperation received in connection with the study from the Federal Security
Agency’s Office of Education, the professional societies in the field, and from other
organizations and individuals interested in the accounting profession.
Hon. M aurice J. T obin,

Secretary of Labor.

n




E wan C lague, Commissioner.

CO N TEN TS

Introduction--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Growth of professional accounting___________________________________________________________________
Types of accounting service________________________________________________________________________
Auditing_____________________________________________________________________________________
General accounting____________________________________________________________________________
Cost accounting______________________________________________________________________________
Tax accounting_______________________________________________________________________________
Systems and procedures________________________________________________________________________
Control accounting____________________________________________________________________________
Teaching____________________________________________________________________________________
Fields of employment______________________________________________________________________________
Public accounting_____________________________________________________________________________
Numbers in field__________________________________________________________________________
Number and size of public accounting firms___________________________________________________
Geographic distribution_____________________________
Line of advancement______________________________________________________________________
Private accounting____________________________________________________________________________
Numbers in field__________________________________________________________________________
Where employed__________________________________________________________________________
Line of advancement______________________________________________________________________
Government accounting________________________________________________________________________
Training and qualifications for entrance______________________________________________________________
Types of training_____________________________________________________________________________
Vocational tests_______________________________________________________________________________
The certified public accountant certificate_________________________________________________________
Entrance requirements for major accounting fields_________________________________________________
Employment trends and outlook____________________________________________________________________
Past trends in employment_____________________________________________________________________
Trends in supply______________________________________________________________________________
Employment outlook__________________________________________________________________________
Opportunities for women_______________________________________________________________________
Earnings and working conditions------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Earnings_____________________________________________________________________________________
Working conditions_________________________________________________________________________
Where to go for further information---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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CHART

One-half of all certified public accountants arein four States_____________________________________________

6

TABLES

1. —Estimated number of certified public accountants in the United States, 1900-1951------------------------------2. —Prevailing weekly salaries in public and private accounting in New York City, July 1951---------------------APPENDIXES

A. —Technical note on accounting survey___________________________________________________________
Scope and method_________________________________________________________________________
Number of accounting major graduates----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Placement experiences and earningsof graduates majoring in accounting----------------------------------------Private schools of business and junior colleges--------------------------------------------------------------------------Data on women___________________________________________________________________________
Facsimile of questionnaire__________________________________________________________________
B. —Schools of accounting________________________________________________________________________




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EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK IN ACCOUNTING
Introduction

Accounting is an indispensable tool of modem
business organization and management. Pro­
fessionally trained accountants (numbering about
300,000 in 1951) set up the accounting systems
which make it possible for even the largest cor­
poration to record, classify, and summarize its
myriad daily financial transactions. They also
analyze and interpret business records and prepare
reports showing companies’ financial standing and
the profit or loss on past operations. Financial
statements prepared by accountants enable busi­
nessmen to plan future activities in the light of
past experience. Investors frequently rely on
accountants’ reports in deciding to buy or sell
the stocks and bonds of particular companies.
Banks use them as a guide in approving or rejecting applications for loans. Public service com­
missions find these reports essential in approving
or disapproving requests for rate increases from
telephone, gas and electric, and bus and streetcar
companies. Even the smallest business firms
need financial statements prepared in accordance
with professional accounting standards in order
to compute taxes owed to the Federal, State,
and local governments.
Accountants also contribute greatly to the
efficient operation of the defense program. The
need for cost accountants is especially widespread.
Companies engaged in defense production must
keep detailed cost records and prepare analyses
of production costs for review by Government
accountants, before final payments can be made
on defense contracts. To comply with Govern­
ment price regulations, business establishments
must prepare statements showing the costs of




producing or selling goods. Every additional type
of Government control, including allocation of
scarce materials, wage stabilization, and special
taxes, increases the need for accounting services.
The demand for accountants is expected to
remain high during the entire period of defense
mobilization and for a few years thereafter. In
mid-1951 there was a scarcity of men qualified for
top-level jobs and positions requiring narrowly
specialized experience, but there was not as yet any
serious general shortage of accountants. Because
the supply of accounting graduates is expected
to fall sharply, at least until the middle of the
decade, it is likely that employment opportunities
for new graduates entering this field will improve
greatly during the next few years.
Over the long run, the profession is likely to
continue to grow. Termination of the mobiliza­
tion program might cause a temporary decline in
employment following the disposition of defense
contract accounting problems which remain. It
is possible, however, that such a decline would be
offset by other demands for accountants, as, for
instance, by employers newly introduced to the
value of accounting services during the mobiliza­
tion period.
Future prospects in the accounting field are
discussed in greater detail later in this report.
Other sections describe the early growth of the pro­
fession, the types of work done by accountants,
the major fields in which they are employed, and
the training and experience required for profes­
sional positions. The working conditions and
earnings in each major field of accounting are
also discussed.
1

2

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N TIN G

Growth of Professional Accounting

Businessmen have always found it necessary to
record financial transactions, in order to keep
track of their business and their current financial
condition. The oldest known accounting records
date back to 3600 B. C. in ancient Babylonia. A
system of accounting control, or check and coun­
tercheck, was known to the ancient Egyptians.
In the early Greek city-states this system was
used in keeping government accounts.
Earliest recognition of financial record keeping
as a specialized occupation occurred in Venice in
1581, when the first College of Accountants was
organized, with power to regulate entry into the
field. Its requirements for admission bear an
astonishing resemblance to modem regulations
licensing public accountants. An applicant was
required to submit a certificate of fitness signed by
a magistrate, serve a 6-year apprenticeship with
a practicing accountant, and finally, pass an exam­
ination. So long as business enterprises were
small and mostly owner-managed, a simple rou­
tine system of record keeping was sufficient. The
individuals preparing these accounts were called
accountants or bookkeepers, interchangeably.
The development and rapid growth in the nine­
teenth century of large-scale business and corpora­
tions created a need for new accounting methods
which would enable businessmen to control their
complex and far-flung operations. The new cor­
porations were required by law in some States to
submit annual financial statements to their stock­
holders. Government regulations, beginning with
those issued by the Interstate Commerce Com­
mission in 1906, have made it necessary for enter­
prises affected with a public interest (e. g., rail­
roads, public utilities, telephone and telegraph
companies, and radio broadcasting companies) to
submit annual reports to the government com­
missions responsible for maintaining fair rates
and adequate public service. The imposition of
new and more complex taxes—especially following
the adoption of the Federal Income Tax Amend­
ment in 1913—immensely widened the scope of
the accountant’s work.
An entirely new accounting theory and tech­
nique has been worked out as a result of these new
demands from business and government. The
need for record keeping is greater than ever and
there is now a separation of the functions of the



bookkeeper and the accountant because of the
increased complexity of the task. The routine
keeping of records has become the job of the book­
keeper. The professional accountant must know
how to keep records but is concerned primarily
with the installation of systems of accounting, and
with the audit, examination, analysis, and inter­
pretation of financial operations of business.
Because of the public interest in reliable pro­
fessional accounting service, all of the States and
Territories have passed laws providing for the
licensing of certified public accountants, commonly
called “CPA’s.” A code of professional ethics
has been announced by the largest association of
CPA’s in the United States, the American Insti­
tute of Accountants. Some State laws licensing
CPA’s follow this code. Some States also provide
for the licensing of all public accountants whether
or not they are CPA’s. In other States many
highly respected and well qualified public ac­
countants practice without a license. In the
private and government accounting fields the
great majority of professional accountants are not
licensed. A license is a mark of professional
attainment but it is not the sole test of compe­
tence. The distinction between the professional
and nonprofessional accountant is not a matter of
law.
It is not surprising that in an occupation which
has attained professional status so recently and
which is developing so rapidly, the exact line
between the professional accountant and the
nonprofessional accountant or bookkeeper should
be a matter of dispute among educators and
practitioners in the accounting field. A thorough
knowledge of bookkeeping is an essential founda­
tion for the study and practice of accounting.
Every young accountant, regardless of his educa­
tional background, must gain experience as a
junior accountant, accounting clerk, or bookkeeper
before he can hope to perform truly professional
work. Many independent public accountants
accept “public bookkeeping” work in addition to
their regular accounting and auditing engage­
ments. In private industry and government,
accountants employed at intermediate levels of
responsibility often perform both clerical and
professional accounting duties. Nevertheless, there
is a very real and increasingly important dis-

T Y P E S OF A C C O U N TIN G S E R V IC E

tinction between the professional and nonpro­
fessional accountant.
Professional accounting work requires judgment
of a high order, discretion, and highly specialized
knowledge. It can be performed only by in­
dividuals who have had extensive academic
training and have served their apprenticeship in
the field or by those whose experience has been
of such scope and character as to provide an

3

equivalent background. This report is concerned
only with professional accounting and trainee
positions leading directly to professional account­
ing work whether in public, private, or Govern­
ment accounting. Positions requiring only a
limited knowledge of accounting theory and
practice are excluded, even though they entail
much executive or administrative responsibility.

Types of Accounting Service

The types of accounting service rendered or
functions performed by professional accountants
fall generally into seven main classifications:
auditing, general accounting, cost accounting,
systems and procedures, tax accounting, control
accounting, and teaching.
Auditing

The auditing process is essentially a check-up
on accounting. The auditor tries to determine
whether the firm’s records and statements give a
fair picture of its financial condition and show
adherence to accepted accounting principles. He
compares entries in the firm’s books with the
original records, bills, shipping records, vouchers
or receipts, canceled checks and other supporting
documents—to make certain that all financial
transactions have been correctly recorded and
classified.
Many business units are so large that the auditor
must use a testing and sampling procedure varying
in extent according to his judgment of the ade­
quacy of the system regularly used to control and
check the firm’s financial records. He may write
to some of the firm’s customers and creditors to
verify the records showing money due the company
or money owed by it. He may watch the employ­
ees count, measure, or weigh portions of the goods
on hand. Many a young accountant has climbed
into remote comers of a warehouse or factory to
make sure the company really had the property
which its stock and inventory records reported
to be in its possession. The audit often brings to
light errors in copying or improper classification
of accounts; sometimes it reveals fraud.



Audits made by public accounting firms are
called independent audits because they are the
work of accountants who are not on the regular
staff of the company under consideration and who
may be, therefore, in a better position to make an
unbiased examination of the company’s operations.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the
New York Stock Exchange require corporations
under their jurisdiction to submit financial state­
ments certified by independent public accountants.
Banks and other lending institutions and creditors
frequently rely on independent audits in deciding
whether or not to make a loan or sell goods on
credit to a particular firm.
Many large corporations employ their own staff
of internal auditors to keep a constant check on
the reliability of their regular accounting opera­
tions from the viewpoint of honesty and accuracy,
adherence to company policies and procedures,
safeguarding of company property, and general
efficiency of company operations. The public
accountants and the internal auditors usually
dovetail their work to avoid unnecessary dupli­
cation and yet fulfill their professional obligations.
General Accounting

The everyday work of keeping records (including
the general “ledgers” showing the current status of
every item of account) and of preparing reports,
constitutes general accounting. Most of the work
in general accounting departments is either clerical
or supervisory. However, large companies em­
ploy professional accountants to direct the ac­
counting department, plan general accounting
policies and procedures, and prepare special
studies and reports.

4

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N T IN G

Cost Accounting

Systems and Procedures

Cost accountants plan, set up, and direct the
operation of accounting systems which make it
possible to compute the cost of producing or sell­
ing an item or service, accounting for the labor,
materials, and overhead expenses for each unit
of goods produced, and to determine the cost of
operating each organizational unit of the business.
These findings make it possible to forecast the
effect on costs of changes in design, materials, man­
ufacturing methods,wages, or other factors affect­
ing the cost of production. Such information aids
management in measuring the efficiency of opera­
tions in each department or section of the business
and in taking corrective steps in time to prevent
loss. The cost accountant helps management to
identify the causes of its profit or loss.

Although auditors, general accountants, and cost
accountants frequently set up their own systems
and procedures, very large companies usually em­
ploy specialists to perform such work. These
specialized accountants plan accounting systems
and office procedures which will provide the com­
pany with needed accounting reports at the lowest
possible cost. Their work includes the setting up
of standardized procedures and machine methods
in the maintenance of accounting records and the
preparation of accounting manuals to guide the
company’s accounting staff.

Tax Accounting

The establishment of systems of keeping tax
records, the preparation or review of tax returns
for Federal, State, and local taxes for business
establishments, and the preparation of individual
income tax returns are included in tax accounting
work. Accountants give advice on the tax con­
sequences of proposed business transactions and
represent their clients or employers in conferences
and discussions with tax officials. They must be
well-informed, not only on tax laws which change
frequently but also on new administrative regula­
tions and court decisions interpreting the tax laws.
In many tax cases legal as well as accounting ad­
vice is required. The Treasury Department per­
mits certified public accountants and lawyers to
represent their clients before the Department with­
out the examination required of other applicants
for this privilege.

Control Accounting

The controller of a company is its chief account­
ing officer. He directs the total accounting pro­
gram—establishes and coordinates cost standards,
expensebudgets, sales forecasts, and profit plans.
He compares the performance records of the vari­
ous departments with the budget estimates. He
safeguards company property by establishing
systems of internal check and control and internal
audit. The controller provides other company
officers with the facts, estimates, and analyses
needed in planning current and future operations.
Teaching

Instruction in accounting theory and practice
is given in colleges, universities, and private schools
of business. Teachers must be capable of training
students in any of the types of accounting work
described, although they may specialize in one
particular type. Accounting teachers often com­
bine teaching with writing or with an independent
accounting practice.

Fields of Employment

The three major fields of employment for ac­
countants are public, private, and government
accounting. Public accountants offer their serv­
ices to the general public on a fee basis, in much
the same way as do lawyers, doctors, and den­
tists. A public accountant may be in business
for himself, or he may be a partner in an account­
ing firm. In addition, the larger firms have pro­
fessional accountants on their staffs, who work for



a salary but are also considered public account­
ants. Traditionally, public accountants offer
their services to the public as experts in all types
of accounting. However, the two largest areas
of public accounting work consist of auditing and
tax services. Public accountants serve a wide
variety of clients—business enterprises, govern­
ment agencies, and nonprofit institutions.
Private accountants handle the financial records

F IE L D S OF E M P L O Y M E N T

of a single business enterprise or nonprofit organ­
ization and work on a salary basis. Tbey are
frequently referred to as executive or administra­
tive accountants. When they work for manufac­
turing or other concerns, they are often called
industrial accountants. In addition, accountants
are employed by all branches of Federal, State,
and local governments, including governmentowned corporations. Accountants in private and
government work customarily specialize in the
performance of a single type of accounting serv­
ice; they may do any of the types of accounting
service described previously. They also tend to
become specialists in a fairly narrow field of em­
ployment such as a particular branch of manu­
facturing, public utilities, or transportation.
Public Accounting

Numbers in field.—In

1947, about 30,000 account­
ants and public bookkeepers were probably in
business either as “sole proprietors” or as partners
in public accounting firms. It is assumed that
some of these accountants, including partners and
sole proprietors, were practicing on a part-time
basis, although sole proprietors earning less than
$1,000 a year were excluded from this estimate.
Of the total, about 19,000 were sole proprietors;
the remaining 11,000 were partners.1 Together
they employed about 40,000 professional staff
members on a salary basis in 1947. There were
about 70,000 employers and professional employees
in public accounting in 1947. The number has
since increased markedly. The total number of
CPA’s in the United States rose by more than a
third between 1947 and 1951. There is reason to
believe that the number of other individuals en­
gaged professionally in public accounting increased
at least as fast and that the total number probably
exceeded 90,000 in 1951.
Number and size of public accounting firm s.—
Public accounting firms range in size from the
great national and international firms, with many
partners and hundreds of staff accountants in
their several branches, to the small one-man
accounting businesses conducted from home on a
part-time basis. Of a total of 4,400 partnership
firms in the United States, the 370 largest (8 per­
i Data on partnerships from Press Belease No. S-2645, U. S. Treasury
Department, April 4,1951, labeled Summary data; proprietorship figures es­
timated on the basis of unpublished Treasury Department data.
982372°—52---- 2



5

cent) handled nearly 30 percent of all public ac­
counting business reported. It is estimated that
these largest firms employed more than a third of
the staff accountants in the public accounting
field, the number per firm varying from about 15
to approximately 1,000.
Some 1,474 small firms, on the other hand,
(excluding 900 firms with gross receipts under
$5,000 which may have included many public
bookkeepers and part-time accountants) did only
4 percent of the total gross business in public
accounting. They employed little assistance
other than secretarial services and part-time or
temporary professional help.
Geographic distribution.—Half

the CPA’s in the
United States, and more than half of all public
accountants, are located in four States. (See
chart.) New York leads by a wide margin, with
28 percent of the total number; Illinois, California,
and Pennsylvania together have another 22 percent.
Other States with a large number of public ac­
countants are Texas, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan,
Massachusetts, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Mary­
land, ranking in the order named.
Public accounting firms are most numerous in
the large industrial cities, where the most business
is found, but they are also located in every
medium-size city in the United States and in every
small industrial community. Large public ac­
counting firms frequently have branch offices
scattered through a number of States. It has
been estimated that a city with a population of
15,000 “together with the business and industry
found within a 25- or 30-mile radius is large enough
to furnish a modest business for a public ac­
countant.” i2
Line of advancement.—Employees of public ac­
counting firms usually begin as junior accountants.
College seniors hired by some large firms for a
short period of internship training may be called
interns but their work is the same as that of the
beginning junior accountant. Junior accountants
make routine checks of figures, verify additions,
and perform other detail work considered essential
in auditing. They usually work under close
supervision for 2 or 3 years before advancing to the
next job level, that of “semi-senior” accountant
JTJ. S. Department of Commerce, Public Accounting in Smaller Com­
munities, Small Business Aids No. 102. Washington, D. C., 1949.

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N TIN G

6

One-Half of All CPA's Are In Four States

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

in a medium-size or large firm. In small firms the
distinction between the semi-senior and the next
or senior level tends to be somewhat blurred.
The semi-senior usually works under only gen­
eral supervision. He performs the more respon­
sible and difficult detail work. He may even be
assigned to make full audits of small firms with
simple accounting systems. He consults fre­
quently with his supervisor but is expected to
exercise some initiative and sound judgment in
handling his assignments. Usually 2 or 3 years
must be spent as a semi-senior before one is
considered for a senior position. By the time an
accountant has become a semi-senior, he is quali­
fied to fill a minor executive position in the
accounting department of a private or government
organization. Many enter such work instead of
remaining in the public accounting field.
The senior accountant usually takes charge of an
entire audit or other assignment. He may have



$Oi/rC9: AMERICAN

INSTITUTE OF ACCOUNTANTS

several juniors and semi-seniors to assist him if the
assignment is a large one. He supervises their
work, performs the more important audit work,
discusses problems with the clients, and prepares
the audit report. The senior must be able to
write clear and well-expressed reports and to get
along smoothly with the clients and the staff. In
a small firm, the only higher position is that of
partner in the firm. In a very large company,
the senior accountant may advance to the position
of supervisor.
Supervisors, managers, and partners usually
have a minimum of 10 years of responsible experi­
ence in accounting work. They direct the work
of senior accountants, are responsible for planning
work on large or especially difficult engagements,
and make final decisions in accounting procedures.
They consult with clients with respect to their
general financial and business problems and on
tax questions. Partners or supervisors may have

F IE L D S OF E M P L O Y M E N T

charge of a branch office or work at the home
office of the company. Supervisors or managers
are first in line for a partnership when the oppor­
tunity arises.
Senior partners in large firms are responsible for
the general direction of the accounting staff. They
make decisions in matters of policy and finally
approve all reports issued by the firm. •
A partner in a small firm or an accountant
with his own small practice may not have any
employees and may himself perform all the func­
tions usually divided among the staff in larger
firms. In that case, his work includes both the
clerical duties of a junior and the executive respon­
sibilities of a partner. The accountant who is
starting a practice and trying to build up a cli­
entele may accept accounts requiring only routine
bookkeeping work. As he becomes better estab­
lished, he will tend to accept only those clients
who need and can pay for more specialized pro­
fessional accounting service.
Private Accounting

Numbers in field .—Private

accounting is the larg­
est field of work for professional accountants,
probably employing at least half again as many
as public accounting. The number of private
accountants is extremely difficult to estimate
because private business firms usually do not
differentiate clearly between professional and
nonprofessional personnel. Private firms differ
widely in their use of job titles to designate
accounting and related personnel. Private ac­
countants with the same job title, working for
different firms, may have duties so diverse that
one is properly classified as a professional worker,
whereas the other is clearly a bookkeeper. In
most companies, there are accountants whose
duties include both professional accounting work
and clerical or bookkeeping functions. Never­
theless, the available evidence suggests that there
were approximately 150,000 professional account­
ants in the private accounting field in 1951. This
figure includes accountants in supervisory and
administrative accounting positions in addition
to those engaged in purely technical accounting
functions.
Where employed.—Large-scale business enterprises
are the principal employers of professional per­
sonnel in the private accounting field. The larger



7

and more complex the organization, the greater
the need for highly trained accountants.
A majority of professional accountants in
private industry are in manufacturing. Large
numbers are employed in the metalworking indus­
tries, transportation and communication, public
utilities, wholesale and retail trade, finance, and
mining. The Controllers Institute of America—
with a membership including the controllers of
most of the largest business enterprises—reports
that more than 60 percent of its members are in
manufacturing, 10 percent are in public utilities,
and 7 percent are in wholesale and retail trade.3
These membership figures suggest roughly the
distribution of professional accounting personnel
in industry.
Private accountants are employed in every
community having large business establishments.
Accountants are needed in the branch plants of
large companies as well as at the home office, and
in many smaller firms. This results in wide­
spread employment opportunities. The larg­
est numbers of private accountants are in the
States with the greatest number of large manufac­
turing plants—New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Illinois, and Michigan.
Line of advancement.—Inexperienced men in pri­
vate as in public accounting start out by per­
forming the routine work considered essential
in gaining experience for professional and super­
visory accounting positions. Large companies
usually refer to beginners in their general account­
ing departments as junior accountants. Small
companies often consider them junior or assistant
bookkeepers. However, a wide variety of job
titles may be used depending on the particular
accounting assignment and on company policy
in establishing job classifications.
A small number of outstanding accounting
majors graduated by collegiate schools of
business are selected each year for accounting
trainee positions by very large corporations.
These trainees receive special on-the-job training
extending from a few months to 3 years or longer.
Some companies rotate trainees among the various
divisions of the company so rapidly that they
spend not more than 2 weeks in any one place.
When their training is complete, they are placed*
* Controllers Institute of America, Answering Your Questions. New
York, August 1950.

8

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N TIN G

in junior executive positions or in technical ac­
counting staff positions. Because higher account­
ing executives and the senior technical staff are
usually chosen from this group, the opportunities
for advancement are excellent.
For accountants who start in the more custom­
ary manner as junior accountants or as account­
ing clerks, promotions are likely to come more
slowly. The rate of promotion will depend in
part on their ability but still more on the number
of openings available at higher levels.
The junior accountant who starts in a gen­
eral accounting department may rise to a po­
sition as junior executive or section supervisor,
or he may become a general accountant with
responsibility for the more complex and difficult
accounting operations. Eventually, he may reach
the position of chief plant accountant, or he may
be transferred to the central accounting division.
Firms usually select junior auditors for their
internal audit staff from among promising trainees
on the general accounting staff. Members of the
internal audit staff obtain exceptionally broad ex­
perience, because their work takes them into all
departments of the business. From junior auditor
the line of promotion is to assistant or senior audi­
tor and then manager of the auditing division, re­
sponsible to management for the efficient operation
of the company's internal audit program. The junior
accountant who begins as a cost clerk may advance
to positions where he works closely with plant
management in analyzing day to day operational
costs. He may then be promoted to cost analyst
or cost supervisor, and eventually cost accountant,
in charge of the cost work of an entire plant or
group of plants.
Controllers are senior company executives cho­
sen for their ability to solve financial management
problems of every type. Some controllers are se­
lected from among certified accountants in public
practice; others advance from lower accounting
positions within the company.
Government Accounting

Accountants working for government agencies
may be broadly divided into two major groups:
(1) Those who, as representatives of government,
work on the books and records of private business
organizations or individuals; and (2) those who



work on the accounting records of government
agencies.
Among government accountants, there are
many types of specialists who work on the books
and records of private business organizations. A
large proportion are engaged in tax investiga­
tions—Federal, State, and local; their work in­
cludes the analysis of tax reports and accounting
records of taxpayers. Many accountants make
audits or analyses of financial statements of com­
panies subject to special government regula­
tions—including banks, insurance companies, pub­
lic utility and transportation companies, and cor­
porations which sell stocks to the general public.
Other accountants audit the books of firms selling
products to government agencies and analyze
production costs in connection with contracts let
on a cost-plus basis. The regulation of prices on
a national scale particularly during a war or de­
fense period, or on a local or State-wide scale in
connection with the regulation of prices of com­
modities such as milk, requires the services of
highly trained cost accountants who are specialists
in the particular industry under consideration.
All of these accountants share a common back­
ground of professional training and experience in
business accounting procedures and principles.
Some government accountants work for govern­
ment-owned corporations and enterprises of a busi­
ness character, such as municipally owned and
operated water, gas, electric light and power
plants, street railways, and federally operated
lending agencies and utilities. Such accountants
employ the same techniques as those employed by
private concerns in similar work. However, most
internal government accounting is fiscal in nature,
keeping records on the funds received and spent
by government agencies and making sure that
funds were used as authorized by their budget and
by general government accounting regulations.
Most employees doing this work need only a
knowledge of the laws and regulations affecting
government spending. Only at higher super­
visory levels is professional accounting training
and experience of special value. Accountants
who plan and establish record keeping systems and
who audit government accounts are usually of
professional caliber.
In the Federal Government an increasingly
sharp distinction is being drawn between fiscal

T R A IN IN G A N D Q U A L IF IC A T IO N S F O R E N T R A N C E

work, which is primarily clerical or administrative,
and professional accounting, which relates to the
prescription of accounting requirements, the audit
and analysis of financial records, and the prepara­
tion of financial reports in connection with busi­
ness audits. The Federal Government had fewer
than 20,000 employees in professional accounting
positions in the spring of 1951. The Bureau of
Internal Revenue of the Treasury Department
employed the largest number of professional ac­
countants in Government. The Defense Depart­

9

ment was the next largest employer of such person­
nel. Other agencies making extensive use of
professional accountants were: the General Ac­
counting Office, the Departments of Agriculture
and the Interior, the Civil Aeronautics Adminis­
tration in the Department of Commerce, the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the
Housing and Home Finance Agency. The Fed­
eral Power Commission, Interstate Commerce
Commission, and Securities and Exchange Com­
mission also employed highly trained accountants.

Training and Qualifications for Entrance
Types of Training

The student wishing a career in accounting can
choose from a wide variety of schools in obtaining
the necessary educational background. Fouryear colleges and universities train the great major­
ity of students who plan a professional career in
accounting. Several hundred of these institutions
of higher learning offer a comprehensive program
in business and accounting, leading to a bachelor’s
or higher degree in business administration and
commerce, with a major in accounting. Many
other schools offer professional accounting train­
ing, even though they have not established a formal
major in the field. In addition, there are many
business schools offering a 2-year day course or
3-year evening course in accounting and business
administration, which forms the minimum training
needed for entry into professional accounting
work. A few junior colleges also offer 2-year
courses in accounting. A number of correspond­
ence schools have long-established courses in all
types of accounting. Schools and colleges differ
greatly in the quality of training offered, and the
prospective student should weigh carefully all in­
formation concerning the particular schools which
he is considering.
A basic course in accounting should include
accounting theory and practice, auditing, cost
accounting, tax accounting, business law, and
business English, including oral and written com­
munication. The student will obtain much the
same training in accounting in the better private
business schools as in the colleges. The principal
difference is that the business school student does
not have the time or opportunity to obtain the



broad training in related business subjects, social
sciences, English and liberal arts which he may
include in a 4-year college course. Nevertheless,
the college graduate usually has a considerable
advantage over the business school graduate in
seeking a job and in competing for promotion later
in his career. There has been a great increase in
the number of college-trained accounting grad­
uates since the end of World War II, and employ­
ers in all accounting fields are placing increasing
emphasis on a college degree as a prerequisite for
employment.
Many large public accounting firms and private
business corporations refuse to consider noncollege
graduates either for professional positions or for
executive and administrative trainee positions in
their accounting departments. Representatives
of such firms visit leading university schools of
business each year to recruit “the cream of the
crop” of prospective accounting major graduates.
A number of large public accounting firms, and a
few large corporations, have established “intern­
ship” programs in cooperation with certain colleges
in order to provide accounting majors in the senior
class with some practical experience prior to the
completion of their college training. In 1951, the
Controllers Institute of America was sponsoring a
“college-industry cooperative training (C. I. C. T.)
program” which will undoubtedly increase the
number of internship opportunities available to
college students. Students making a favorable
impression during the period of internship are
frequently offered permanent positions upon
graduation.
College training in accountancy is of particular
advantage to the student wishing to become a

10

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N TIN G

CPA. A substantial majority of the candidates
who have succeeded in passing the CPA exami­
nations since the end of World War II are college
graduates,4 although a college degree is not a legal
requirement for admission to the examination in
most States.

candidate to have 2 years of college training or its
equivalent, or to pass a written preliminary ex­
amination. In all other States either high-school
graduation was required or there was no educa­
tional requirement whatever.6 It is interesting to
note that the two States requiring college gradua­
tion had about a third of all the CPA’s in the
Vocational Tests
country. It is true, also, that many of the States
required only high school
The American Institute of Accountants has whichvery substantial credit for education or less
gave
worked out a series of aptitude tests for students education in lieu of experience. post-high-school
applying for admission to accounting training.
Most
required candidates for
CPA
These tests help the school and the student to license toStates at least 2 years’ experiencethepublic
have
in
estimate how likely he is to succeed in accounting. accounting or accounting work considered equiv­
The Institute has also worked out an achievement alent. However, the prerequisites ranged from no
test to be given accounting majors near the end of experience requirement
to a minimum
their training to show how well they have profited of 3 years’ experience in one Stateaccounting (in
in public
by their instruction. More than 200 colleges and addition to other educational or experience require­
schools of business give these tests and report them ments), in other
The
in State
very helpful in guiding students. About 1,300 requirements are States.great. variations informa­
very
Detailed
public accounting firms and individual practitioners tion on requirements in
may be
have agreed to give weight to the results of these obtained from any local any specific State or from
CPA association
tests in considering job applicants.5
the State board of accountancy.
Although the differences in training and educa­
The Certified Public Accountant Certificate
tion required by various States for obtaining a
The certified public accountant license or CPA license appear very great, there is a high
certificate is a universally recognized mark of degree of uniformity in the professional attain­
attainment in accounting. It is particularly valu­ ments of those who receive it. This has been
able in the public accounting field. In some achieved by means of a uniform examination,
States it is no longer possible to enter public ac­ given in all States except Pennsylvania in 1951.
counting as an independent practitioner without The examination is prepared by the American
Institute of Accountants which has its own board
this license.
All candidates must pass a difficult series of of examiners. Many of the States also have the
examinations. In addition, they must meet cer­ Institute’s staff grade the examination papers.
The standard CPA examination as well as the
tain requirements with respect to education, ex­
perience, or both. Prerequisites for admission to one given in Pennsylvania in 1951 consisted of
the CPA examination and for the issuance of the four parts: auditing, commercial law, theory of
certificate vary widely among the States. In 1951 accounts, and accounting practices (“practical
only two States, New York and New Jersey, re­ accounting”). Twelve States required candidates
quired candidates to be college graduates with a to pass an additional examination, usually in busi­
major in accounting obtained at a school or col­ ness economics, taxation or government account­
lege approved by the respective State boards of ing, although the subjects varied in the different
education. A third State, Oregon, will also have States.7
such a requirement beginning January 1, 1955, and
The CPA examination is generally considered
Florida will be added to this group in 1956. extremely difficult. Only 11 percent of the candi­
Illinois required candidates to have 20 semester- dates taking the standard examination for the first
hours in accounting plus 10 semester-hours in time in May 1949 succeeded in passing all four
related subjects. California required the CPA parts of it, according to a sample analysis. Fewer
6Requirements for the C. P. A. and Other Examinations and the Practice of
* American Institute of Accountants, Advanced Education in Accounting,
Public Accounting. La Salle Extension University, Chicago, 111. (undated).
Journal of Accountancy, January 1951 (p. 67).
5 Ankers, Raymond G., Institute’s Vocational Tests Assist in Hiring and 7Buss, L. H., CPA Examination Requirements, American Accounting
Association, Urbana, 111., 1951 (pp. 21-24).
Promoting Staff Workers, Journal of Accountancy, January 1951 (pp. 86-91).



E M PL O Y M E N T T R E N D S A N D O U T L O O K

than 20 percent of all candidates, first-time and
repeaters, succeeded in passing all parts of the
examination. It is customary for candidates pass­
ing one or more sections of the examination to
retain credit for the score for a number of years.
Many candidates do not seriously attempt to pass
all subjects at one time, but make several tries
before achieving final success. The American In­
stitute of Accountants states that the high percent­
age of failure is due mainly to insufficient account­
ing experience and too little education.8 The
Institute also points out that 60 percent of the
candidates eventually pass all portions of the
examination.
Entrance Requirements for Major Accounting Fields

In 1951 any individual could set himself up as a
public accountant in most States although he was
not permitted to use the title CPA unless he had
been certified by the States in which he was prac­
ticing. However, 20 States restricted independent
public practice to licensed CPA’s and registered
public accountants. In one of these States, New
Mexico, it was still possible to become a registered
public accountant in 1951 by passing an examina­
tion similar in scope to the CPA examination. In
the others, noncertified accountants might register
without examination during a specified time limit.
In most of these States, the time limit has long
expired and in the future all accountants entering
practice as independent public accountants will
have to become CPA’s. No State requires staff
members employed by public accounting firms to
be CPA’s, provided they are properly supervised
by one.
Applicants for junior accounting positions with
public accounting firms in New York and New Jersey
are usually required to be college graduates with
an accounting major, so that they will be able to
8 New Study Reveals Reasons for Failure to Pass Uniform CPA Examina­
tion, The Journal of Accountancy, June 1950 (pp. 540-542).

11

meet the State standards for admission to the CPA
examination. In other States, college graduates
are preferred, but applicants with diplomas from
reputable private business schools receive consid­
eration.
The extent of accounting education required by
private employers varies greatly, depending on the
type of work. However, the student hoping to
advance beyond routine jobs to executive or ad­
ministrative accounting positions will find a college
education a great asset. The student planning a
career in private accounting will find it useful to
take more courses in general business management
and fewer specialized courses in accounting, than
are customary for students planning to become
CPA’s. Well-qualified business majors with a
fair number of accounting courses will generally
be considered for beginning positions with private
employers.
The United States Civil Service Commission
requires a minimum of 3 years of general account­
ing experience for trainee positions. Additional
specialized experience is required for positions at
higher levels. However, applicants are per­
mitted to substitute the study of accounting in
resident (not correspondence) schools above the
high school level for all or part of the general
experience. A college degree with a major in
accounting is usually sufficient for entrance to
trainee positions in professional accounting work
in the Federal Government. For most types of
work a minimum of 24 semester hours in account­
ing is required if no experience is offered; for the
position of Internal Revenue Agent, 18 semester
hours in accounting is required.
A 2-year course in accounting is usually suffi­
cient for entrance positions in accountancy in
State and local government agencies. Specific
information about prerequisites for these positions
may be obtained from State or local Civil Service
Commissions.

Employment Trends and Outlook
Past Trends in Employment

The accounting field has had a remarkably
rapid growth both in number and in type of em­
ployment opportunities. In 1900 there were



fewer than 250 CPA’s in the United States. By
1951 this number had grown to approximately
42,000. The number of persons other than CPA’s
practicing professional accounting was likewise
very small in 1900 and has grown even more rap­

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N TIN G

12

idly. Probably close to 300,000 persons were
working as professional accountants in the United
States in 1951.
During the early part of the twentieth century,
the accounting profession grew slowly. At that
time most professional accountants were public
accountants engaged in independent practice or
employed in public accounting firms. Their
principal function was to audit and prepare re­
ports on the financial condition of large corpora­
tions for the benefit of investors and creditors.
The number and size of large public accounting
firms able to serve such clients increased gradually,
but there was little growth among smaller firms.
A new era in public accounting began in 1913
following the passage of income tax legislation
affecting all business firms. For the first time, it
became a legal requirement for all businesses,
large and small, to maintain adequate accounting
records and to prepare annual statements of profit
and loss. A vast new field was opened for public
accountants, particularly for the individual prac­
titioner or small accounting firm which could
often handle the problems of small businesses
more economically and more conveniently than
was possible for the large firm.
The increase in employment opportunities in
the profession was even more rapid after the
imposition of wartime taxes in 1917 and was
accompanied by a swift expansion in the number
of CPA’s. The number quadrupled between 1920
and 1940, and more than doubled again between
1940 and 1951, reaching a total of 42,000. (See
table 1.)
—Estimated number of certified public accountants
in the United States, 1900-1951

T able

1.

Year
1900 ______________
1910 _____ ________.
1920 ______________
1930________________

Number of
CPA’s

Year

250 1940________________
1,700 1946________________
5,000 1951...............................
13,600

Number of
CPA’s
20,000
26,000
42,000

S
: Data for 1946 obtained from Requirements for the CPA Certifi­
cate, U. S. Office of Education, Misc. 3166, Washington, D. C., 1946. All
other data supplied by the American Institute of Accountants.
o urce

No definite information is available on the
growth of public accounting before 1939. How­
ever, a majority of the CPA’s are public account­
ants and the increase in their number gives some
indication of the growth in this field. Reports of
the Bureau of Internal Revenue show that the



number of independent practitioners in public
accounting and public bookkeeping practice tripled
between 1939 and 1947; the number of partners
rose from 3,750 to 11,184.9 The approximate
number of sole proprietors of accounting practices
earning $1,000 or more a year increased from
6,000 to 19,000 during the 8-year period.10 These
statistics do not, of course, include the staff
members employed by these firms. There has
been a further substantial increase in the number
of independent practitioners and partners since
1947.
Private accounting has greatly exceeded public
accounting in growth during the past half century,
with approximately 150,000 accountants in the
private field in 1951. Private accounting received
its first great stimulus during World War I, partly
because of the need for better methods of control
and cost accounting in connection with war
production and partly because of the impact of
the new methods of scientific management. Some
evidence of the growth in the number of private
accountants is afforded by the increase in the
membership of their professional associations.
The membership of the National Association of
Cost Accountants, founded in 1919 with 37 mem­
bers, rose to nearly 14,000 at the beginning of
World War II and to 27,500 in 1951. The
Controllers Institute of America, founded in 1931,
had 3,500 members in 1951, despite extremely
rigid eligibility restrictions. The Institute of
Internal Auditors, organized in 1941 with equally
rigid membership requirements, had over 2,000
members 10 years later. Most of the members
of these associations are engaged in private
accounting.
There has been a considerable increase in the
employment of accountants in the Federal Gov­
ernment during the past 30 years. Before 1920,
few accountants were employed in the Bureau of
Internal Revenue and in regulatory agencies such
as the Interstate Commerce Commission. No
great change in employment took place during the
twenties, except for a moderate addition to the
staff of the Bureau of Internal Revenue early in
• Partnership data for 1939 computed from U. S. Treasury Department,
Bureau of Internal Revenue, Supplement to Statistics of Income for 1939,
Part 1, Washington, D. C., 1949 (p. 82); partnership data for 1947 taken from
U. S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Press Service
Release No. S-2645, Washington, D. C., April 4,1951.
io Estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from U. S. Treasury Depart­
ment, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Statistics of Income for 1939, Part 1, and
from unpublished Treasury Department data for 1947.

E M P L O Y M E N T T R E N D S A N D O U TLO O K

the decade. The number rose steadily in the
1930’s, however, and during World War II the
increase was very rapid. Following the end of
World War II, there was a marked cut-back in the
size of the Federal Government accounting staff.
The decline was not fully halted until the needs of
the defense production program brought about a
slight rise in the number of accountants hired in
the latter part of 1950. Early in 1951 there were
fewer than 20,000 employees in Federal profes­
sional accounting positions.

13

the tremendous number of veterans taking com­
merce training. In 1950 the degrees granted in
commerce reached the all-time high of 72,000.
About as many commerce degrees were awarded
during the 5 years ending June 1951 as during the
preceding 27 years.
Accounting has always been one of the most
important majors in the general field of commerce
and business administration. It is assumed,
therefore, that the number of graduates majoring
in accounting rose sharply along with the total
number of graduates in this general field. How­
ever, figures are not available on the proportion
Trends in Supply
of graduates who majored in accounting before
The great increase in employment of profes­ World War II. The earliest source of information
sional accountants, especially during the past on this subject is a survey by the War Manpower
three decades, has been accompanied by a large Commission which showed that 21 percent of all
increase in the supply of personnel trained for this commerce graduates during the period December
profession. There has been also a steady rise both 1, 1942, to September 30, 1943, were accounting
in educational requirements for employment and majors. A survey of colleges which train students
in the level of training offered by educational in accounting, conducted by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics in cooperation with the United States
institutions.
Colleges and universities now training the great Office of Education, showed the following propor­
majority of accounting students have taken the tions of accounting majors among recent graduates
lead in this field of education only during the past with commerce degrees: 25 percent in 1948-49, 22
two or three decades. Private business schools percent in 1949-50, and 21 percent in 1950-51.12
dominated the field of accounting education Enrollment figures reported in the survey suggest
throughout the nineteenth century and during the that the proportion will be still lower, probably
first quarter of the twentieth century. Training about 20 percent in 1951-52.
The number of college graduates with a major
for accountancy and business administration at
the college level was initiated in the United States in accounting reached a peak of approximately
in 1881 by the Wharton School of Commerce and 16,000 in the year ended June 30, 1950, according
Finance of the University of Pennsylvania. In to data from the same survey. It is estimated that
1900 only 7 colleges and universities provided about 12,000 accounting majors were graduated in
organized curricula in this field, and only 34 more 1951—25 percent fewer than in the previous year.
were added by 1915. An additional 94 entered The post-World War II increase in college-trained
the field during the following 6 years, bringing accountants was accompanied by a sharp rise in
the total to 135 colleges and universities in 1921.11 students receiving accounting training in private
Since then, the number of such institutions with schools of business where the peak appears to have
accounting curricula has approximately doubled. been reached in 1949. Information from private
The rise in the number of colleges offering train­ schools indicates that the number of accounting
ing in business administration has been accom­ major graduates declined in 1950 and dropped
panied by a sharp increase in business administra­ further in 1951.
tion graduates and presumably also in graduates
The number of college graduates majoring in
majoring in accounting. The number of degrees commerce and accounting is expected to fall
awarded in commerce and business rose from 1,560 sharply during the early fifties along with a gen­
in 1920 to a prewar high of 19,000 in 1940 and then eral decrease in college enrollments. However,
dropped during World War II to 8,150 in 1944. even at the expected low point in the middle of the
After the war, graduations rose sharply owing to decade, there will probably be far more graduates
in these fields than in any prewar year, unless there

11Isaacs, Mervln, Professional Accountancy Training in Collegiate Schools
of Business, Columbia University, New York, 1933.
982372°— 52--- 3




lJ See appendix A, p. 20.

14

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N TIN G

is a substantial change in selective-service policy.
A general reduction in the number of college grad­
uates, particularly men, will occur in the next few
years. This decrease will be due in part to a
reduction in the size of the population group of
college age, resulting from the low birth rate of the
1930’s, and in part to the virtual completion of the
veterans training program under the GI Bill of
Bights. The number of men graduates will de­
cline more sharply than total graduations in the
near future as the number of veterans leaving col­
lege is further reduced. This trend will be accen­
tuated by the draft of young men of college age
for the Armed Forces. These factors will affect
private schools of business as well as colleges and
universities.
Employment Outlook

Employment of accountants was increasing in
1951 as a result of the mobilization program. The
rapid expansion in defense production was making
it necessary for both private business and public
accounting firms to hire more accountants to meet
the resulting demand for accounting services, par­
ticularly cost accounting. Federal price regula­
tions and other emergency control measures were
raising many new and complex accounting ques­
tions and adding to the demand. The Federal
Government was hiring more accountants to ana­
lyze and audit the financial statements and reports
submitted by industry in connection with the
defense program.
During the first half of 1951, the heavy increase
in demand was met largely by better utilization
of accounting personnel and by drawing on the
reservoir of recent college graduates trained in
accounting, which had been built up as a result
of the exceptionally large graduating classes of
the past few years. Although there were shortages
of accountants capable of filling very high-level
positions and positions requiring experience in
narrowly specialized fields, there was no evidence
of a serious general shortage of accounting person­
nel. Many large firms were still selecting candi­
dates for entrance positions from the top 25
percent of the graduating classes or even the top
10 percent. College placement officers reported
that the proportion of new accounting graduates
accepting bookkeeping positions or entering fields
of work not directly related to accounting was



approximately the same (one-fourth) in mid-1951
as in June 1949 and June 1950.
It is anticipated that the demand for accountants
will follow general business conditions, which may
mean that it will remain high during the entire
period of defense mobilization and for at least a
year or two thereafter. This strong demand,
coupled with the decline in the number of account­
ing graduates which began in 1950-51 and which
will persist until the middle of the decade, will
undoubtedly result in continued improvement in
employment opportunities for accountants during
the early fifties. Employment prospects for new
college graduates in this field will probably be
very good during this period.
A continued increase in the demand for public
and private accountants may be expected over the
long run. The need for highly trained accounting
personnel is peculiarly a consequence of largescale business operations and the Government’s
regulation and taxation of business. It is probable
that the further growth of large corporations and
the continuance of Federal, State, and local regula­
tion and taxation of business will create additional
demands for professional accounting services.
However, the tendency for small local businesses
to expand their use of accounting assistance is
also likely to increase the demand for accounting
personnel. A short-run decline in the number of
accountants employed in public and private
accounting might result from a reduction in
defense production and the elimination of emer­
gency controls in the event of a return to peacetime
conditions. Any such decline would be slow
because it would take several years to complete
the accounting work required in the settlement
of defense matters. It is also possible that such
decrease in demand might be offset by an increase
in the demand for accounting services for peacetime
operations. Many businessmen expanded their
use of accounting services during World War II,
obtained a better understanding of the contribution
accountants make to business efficiency, and in­
creased their use of accounting services after the
war’s end. It is likely that the present defense
program will have a similar effect.
In government agencies there will probably
be a moderate long-run expansion in the employ­
ment of accountants to provide services needed
in normal times. The tendency to make increas­
ing use of professional accounting personnel has

15
and 6 hundred—were women, and that not more
than 10 percent of these had their own independent
practice. The number employed as staff account­
ants by public accounting firms was also very small.
In private industry there are somewhat more
women in professional positions; some have
achieved promotion to technical or junior execu­
tive accounting work, although the great majority
remain at the clerical or semiprofessional level.
In the government field, the situation is much the
same, with large numbers of women in clerical
and semiprofessional jobs and only a few in
professional positions.
An opinion often expressed by employers in the
public accounting field is that women are unable
to meet the strain of the work and are unsuited to
assignments calling for travel or for work in fac­
tories. Some employers hesitate to hire women for
professional jobs because the men who head their
clients’ accounting departments may be unwilling
to rely on the judgment of women accountants
and greatly prefer to work with men. However,
a few leading firms which have employed women
report very satisfactory results.
Opportunities for women in professional posi­
tions were better in mid-1951 than at any time
since World War II. This was largely because of
the strong demand for accountants created by the
defense program and the small number of women
prepared for professional work. In 1949-50 there
were only about 500 women out of a total of approx­
imately 16,000 college graduates with a major in
accounting. Women who plan to enter the pro­
fession need the best possible training to meet the
severe competition in all fields of accounting.

E A R N IN G S A N D W O R K IN G C O N D IT IO N S

been accentuated in the Federal Government by
the passage of the “Budgeting and Accounting
Procedures Act of 1950,” which requires extensive
changes in Government accounting procedures.
In the Federal Government there are likely to
be wide fluctuations in the employment of account­
ants to provide services for the defense program.
A return to peacetime conditions would probably
sharply reduce the employment of accountants
in work relating to defense production and tem­
porary economic controls.
In accounting, as in other fields of work, many
employment openings result from vacancies aris­
ing from death, retirement, or the transfer of
accountants to other occupations. In the past
the profession has grown so rapidly that most
openings have been provided by the increase in
new job opportunities. As the profession grows,
the need for replacement will be an increasingly
important factor. It has been stated by leaders
in the accounting field that the average age level
of professional accountants was noticeably lowered
following World War II and that it is currently
much lower than a decade ago. However, in the
absence of specific data on the age composition of
members of the profession, no estimate can be
made as to the probable number of new openings
in accounting which will occur as a result of re­
placement needs.
Opportunities for W
omen

Very few women were employed in professional
accounting positions in 1951. It is estimated that
fewer than 2 percent of the CPA’s—between 5

Earnings and Working Conditions
Earnings

Beginning salaries of new college graduates with
a major in accounting tend to be higher in private
than in public accounting. In both fields the
average starting salary received, by graduates in
the mid-year 1951 class was markedly higher than
the averages for June 1949 and June 1950 gradu­
ates. These conclusions are based on the survey
of accounting majors conducted in 1951 by the
Bureau in cooperation with the United States
Office of Education.13 College placement officers
13 See appendix A, p. 20.



were asked to report the starting salaries most
often received by the recent accounting graduates
for whom they had information. The salary data
obtained covered approximately 50 percent of the
accounting majors graduating from the reporting
institutions and probably reflect, to a considerable
extent, the salaries received by the better qualified
students.
The average starting salary of new graduates
entering public accounting (excluding graduates
of New York City schools) rose from about $210 a
month in the summer of 1949 to $220 the following
year and $240 in the spring of 1951, according

16
T

a b l e

E M P L O Y M E N T O U TLO O K IN A C C O U N TIN G
—Prevailing weekly salaries in 'public and private
accounting in New York City, Ju ly 1951

2.

Title of position and
length of experience
Senior accountant:
8 or more years’ experience—..........
5 to 8 years’ experience---------------Semi-senior accountant:
3 to 5 years’ experience___________
2 to 3 years’ experience—...................
Junior accountant:
1 to 2 years’ experience—...................
Beginners..................................... .

Public accounting
firms with—
Small
audits and
write-ups

Private
business
firms

Large
audits

$110
85

$135
110

$135
110

70
60

80
70

80
70

45
35

55
45

60
50

S
: Robert Half Personnel Agencies, Prevailing Office Salaries and
Current Availability, July 1951,140 West 42(1 Street, New York, N. Y.
ource

to this survey. The average for graduates enter­
ing private accounting was approximately $230
in 1949 and about the same in 1950; however, by
early 1951 it had risen to about $260 a month.
Salary levels varied widely among schools, depend­
ing on the size of the institution and various special
factors affecting the demand for graduates of
particular schools. The lowest figure cited by any
college as the most usual starting salary for mid1951 graduates entering public accounting was
$108 a month; the highest was $275. For gradu­
ates entering private accounting, the salary figures
cited ranged from $195 to $298.
Public accounting firms customarily pay lower
starting salaries than do private business firms
to new graduates with equivalent qualifications,
because initial experience in public accounting is
widely held to be a form of apprenticeship training.
Competition is usually keen for positions in this
field because such experience is so often a prereq­
uisite for the CPA license and for advanced
positions in other accounting fields.
Salaries tend to be considerably higher in public
accounting firms that specialize in making audits
for large companies than in accounting firms that
either audit small companies or perform public
bookkeeping (often referred to as “write-ups”).
The latter firms usually pay lower salaries for ac­
countants at all levels of responsibility than those
customarily paid to men with comparable experi­
ence in private industry. As a rule, the large
accounting firms start new graduates at lower sal­
aries than those paid by private business firms,
but there is reason to believe that the salaries paid
to semi-senior and senior accountants are just as



high as those received by experienced accountants
in private industry.
The relative earnings of accountants employed
in firms of each type and the approximate increase
in salaries expected as they gain experience and
achieve promotion to higher positions are sug­
gested by a survey of public and private account­
ing in New York City in July 1951. (See table 2.)
The earnings of independent practitioners,
partners, or sole proprietors depend to a large
extent on the type of service rendered and the size
of the company serviced. The average annual
net income of partners in 1945 was well over
$10,000 a year. The average dropped to $8,600
in 1947, but this drop was probably due to the
tremendous increase in the number of new firms
and new partners who had not yet had time to
become fully established.14 The income of indi­
vidual practitioners is ordinarily much lower than
that of partners. Nevertheless, some accountants
in business for themselves, as well as a consider­
able number of partners, have net annual incomes
of $25,000 to $50,000 or even more.
The beginning salary for trainee positions in
professional accounting with the Federal Govern­
ment was $3,410 a year in late 1951. The Bureau
of Internal Revenue, which does not have a specific
trainee grade, starts its agents at $4,205 a year.
The majority of Government accountants earned
between $3,825 and $5,350 a year in mid-1951.
Only about 1 percent earned $10,000 or over a year,
and accountants earning such salaries usually
carried responsibilities as great or greater than
those of senior partners in the large national public
accounting firms.
Working Conditions

Working conditions in accountancy depend to
a great extent on the field of employment. In
general, public accounting jobs are more varied
in character, involve more irregular hours of work,
and are more taxing physically than either private
or government accounting positions.
Public accounting is a service performed largely
at the times and places dictated by the client’s
needs. This factor determines the amount of
travel, the physical working conditions, and the
14 Partnership data were computed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from
U. S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Press Service
Release, No. S-2253, Feb. 16,1950, and Press Service Release No. S-2645, Apr.
4,1951, Washington, D. O.

E A R N IN G S A N D W O R K IN G C O N D IT IO N S

hours of work of the accounting staff. It accounts,
too, for the seasonality of such work and is partly
responsible for the very high turn-over rate of
public accounting personnel.
Most public accounting work is done in the
offices of the firm’s clients. Accountants who
work for large firms with clients in many parts of
the country may be expected to spend a consider­
able amount of time away from home. The
amount of travel has been much reduced, however,
as a result of the establishment of local branch
offices by many such firms. Those working for
smaller companies seldom have to be away over­
night as their firms’ clients are usually located
within commuting distance. The physical con­
ditions under which accountants work vary with
each client. Sometimes an accountant may work
in a luxurious office with every modem conven­
ience, including plenty of working space, modem
office equipment, and good fighting. At other
times he may be compelled to work in some
cramped comer of a factory, with all the noise and
dirt of the manufacturing operations around him,
often with poor fight, and with little or no office
machinery to speed his routine tasks.
Hours of work are extremely irregular in most
public accounting firms. The busy season usually
extends from late November to March. The staff
accountant may work overtime frequently during
this period and in some weeks may put in as many
as 50 to 60 hours, working with great concentration
and under tremendous pressure. During the sum­
mer season he may have very little accounting
work and may spend most of his time clearing
up detail work and studying new tax laws, court
decisions, or other accounting developments in
order to keep abreast of the constant changes
which take place.
There are two major reasons for the seasonal
peak in accounting business which occurs in the
winter months: (1) Most firms end their business
year on December 31, and want a final report on
the year’s operations at the earliest possible date
thereafter. (2) Federal income tax returns must
be filed not later than March 15, and it is not
possible to prepare such reports until the year’s
business has drawn to a close. Accounting firms
have used much effort and ingenuity in trying to
distribute the workload throughout the year, but
with only moderate success.
The pressure of work during the busy season



17

is so great that many firms hire additional per­
sonnel on a temporary basis. In years when ac­
countants are readily available, some firms increase
their professional staffs by as much as 25 to 50
percent during the busy season and then discharge
the extra employees when the slack season begins.
However, in years when the demand for account­
ants is so heavy that they can easily find steady
jobs, firms tend to keep a larger staff of employees
on a year-round basis and seasonal lay-offs are
reduced or eliminated. This was the situation
during World War II and for several years there­
after. In 1949 and 1950, as competent profes­
sional personnel became more readily available,
there was a temporary return to the old pattern
of increased hiring in the winter months and lay­
offs in the spring. But this tendency has been
checked once more by the increased demand for
accountants in 1951.
Public accounting has an extraordinarily high
rate of turn-over among its professional staff, re­
sulting in part from the irregularity of employ­
ment in this field. However, there are many other
factors contributing to this turn-over rate. A re­
port published in April 195115 disclosed that only
58 percent of the 1,167 college trainees chosen by
247 public accounting firms over a period of 13
years were considered suitable for the work after
a year or more of training. Yet these trainees
were the “cream of the crop” and were chosen
after careful interview and examination of their
personal qualifications. It is a matter for serious
concern both to the employer and to accountants
entering the field that approximately 40 percent
of the junior staff in these firms had to be replaced
each year because they were found unsatisfactory.
The rate of employee turn-over is also increased
by the fact that many well-qualified trainees ac­
cept public accounting positions only to gain the
experience required for the CPA license, or to get
the more varied experience which 2 or 3 years in
this field give, as compared with the same length
of time in the usual beginning position in private
accounting. After a few years, many young ac­
countants resign to enter private or governmental
accounting work. The loss of excellent employees
to private business firms, which are often able to
offer higher salaries, is particularly heavy.
15 McMurry, Robert N., Study of Personality Traits May be the Key to
Choosing the Valuable Accounting Junior, The Journal of Accountancy.
April 1951 (pp. 604-609).

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N T IN G

18

Most large accounting firms are constantly on
the alert for outstanding new professional person­
nel. Many firms believe that an accountant un­
able to progress at a reasonably rapid pace is not
worth keeping. There is steady pressure on staff
members to go “up the ladder” or out of the firm.
Therefore, those staff accountants who can meet
the exacting requirements of public accounting
may look forward to rapid promotion, based pri­
marily on merit, rather than length of service.
Many will achieve independence either as partners
in public accounting firms or as principals at the
head of their own business.
Working conditions in private business are usu­
ally the same for accountants as for all other office
personnel. Most accounting departments have a
standard 40-hour workweek. However, some
firms require their accountants to work overtime
at the end of each month in order to get their
monthly statements and reports completed on
time. It is customary to pay all junior accounting
personnel at the rate of time and a half for over­
time.
Few private accountants are required to do
much traveling in connection with their work.

Employees on the internal audit staffs of compa­
nies with branch offices, however, may have to
travel constantly between branches.
The private accounting field offers greater job
security than does public accounting. Seasonal
lay-offs, which are so common in the latter field,
are rare in private accounting. On the other
hand, promotion may be comparatively slow be­
cause of low turn-over in higher level positions.
Accountants working for large private corpora­
tions are also more likely to have the protection
of company-wide group insurance and pension
plans which supplement the social-security benefits
required by law.
Federal Government accountants have the same
working conditions, including pension, vacation,
and sick leave benefits, as other Government
workers in white-collar jobs. More than 80 per­
cent of the accounting positions in the Federal
Government are outside Washington, D. C., and
many positions require a considerable amount of
travel. Although there are no seasonal fluctua­
tions in employment, job security in Government
is greatly influenced by legislative changes in the
annual appropriations.

W here To G o for Further Information

Information on the accounting profession, par­
ticularly on certified public accountants, may be
obtained from:
American Institute of Accountants
270 Madison Avenue
New York 16, N. Y.

The Committee on Selection of Personnel of the
above organization will provide information on the
aptitude and achievement tests now given in many
schools and by many public accounting firms.
Current information on the requirements for the
CPA license in specific States may be obtained by
writing to the Secretary of the State Board of
Accountancy at the State capital.
Information on specialized fields of accounting
may be obtained from:
National Association of Cost Accountants
385 Madison Avenue
New York 17, N. Y.



Controllers Institute of America
One E. 42d Street
New York 17, N. Y.
The Institute of Internal Auditors
120 Wall Street
New York 5, N. Y.

Many articles of general interest and informa­
tion on job opportunities are published in periodi­
cals devoted to the accounting profession such as
The Journal of Accountancy and The Accounting
Review.
Information on entrance requirements to schools
offering training in accountancy may be obtained
directly from the schools. A partial list of collegelevel institutions is contained in appendix B (p. 27).
Information on private schools of business may be
obtained from:
American Association of Professional Schools of Ac­
countancy
1100 Sixteenth Street, NW.
Washington, D. C.

19
Information on government jobs may be ob­
tained from the State or municipal civil-service
authorities or from the United States Civil Serv­
ice Commission, Washington 25, D. C. Notices
of civil-service jobs and examinations are posted
in local post offices from time to time.

W H E R E TO GO F O R F U R T H E R IN F O R M A T IO N

National Association and Council of Business Schools
2601 Sixteenth Street, NW.
Washington, D. C.

Local offices of the State employment services
affiliated with the United States Employment
Service assist applicants in obtaining positions
in accounting.




APPENDIXES
Appendix A .— Technical Note on Accounting Survey
Scope and Method

Most of the statistical data in this report per­
taining to number and placement experiences of
college graduates majoring in accounting, pro­
spective supply of such graduates, and earnings of
recent graduates are based on a survey of colleges
and universities conducted by the Bureau in
cooperation with the United States Office of
Education.
The questionnaire (see facsimile, p. 23) was
mailed on May 8, 1951, to all of the 585 colleges
and universities which conferred degrees in com­
merce in 1948-49, as listed in Office of Education
report, Earned Degrees Conferred by Higher Educa­
tional Institutions , 1948-49. This list was be­
lieved to include all institutions offering an
accounting major.
Questionnaires were returned by 289 institutions,
or 49 percent of the total mailing list. Of these,
only 129 institutions offered an undergraduate
major in accounting. The remainder offered only
a graduate major in accounting (3 schools) or
reported no accounting major (157 schools).
A large number of schools not offering a specifi­
cally defined accounting major do train account­
ants. However, in the absence of any generally
accepted standard of requirements for an ac­
counting major, the analysis of changes in the
supply of accountants trained has been limited to
students who completed or planned to complete a
specific undergraduate accounting major sequence
as defined by the colleges that answered the ques­
tionnaire. Graduate students were also eliminated
from consideration because their number was too
small to affect substantially the supply of ac­
counting personnel or to justify detailed analysis.
The number of usable answers in the question­
naires received from the 129 schools with an under­
graduate accounting major varied with the
20




questions asked as indicated in the following
tabulation:
It e m

N um ber of
u s a b le r e p o r t s

On commerce and accounting graduates______ 124
On commerce and accounting majors enrolled__ 74
On placement of accounting majors____________ 64
On earnings of recent accounting major
graduates_______________________________
46

Information is available through reports of the
Office of Education on the numbers of commerce
majors graduated in 1949 and 1950, but ndt on
the proportion of that group who had majored in
accounting. The data from the special survey
made it possible to estimate the total number of
accounting majors by applying the same propor­
tion of accounting majors to commerce majors, as
reported in the survey, to the total number of
commerce degrees conferred by institutions offer­
ing an accounting major. A master list of institu­
tions believed to offer an accounting major was
constructed for this purpose. It included all
institutions which returned questionnaires stating
that an undergraduate accounting major was
offered. It also included those institutions which
failed to respond but were listed in one or both of
two recently published directories purporting to
contain fhe names of all institutions offering
specialized accounting training.
The directories used to construct the master
list were as follows:
Good, Carter V., A Guide to Colleges, Universities
and Professional Schools in the United States, Amer­
ican Council on Education, Washington 6, D. C.,
1945.
Pendergast, Mary M., Directory of Colleges, Uni­
versities and Professional Schools Offering Training
in Occupations Concerned with Business and Indus­
try, Institute of Women’s Professional Relations,
Research Headquarters, Connecticut College, New
London, Conn., 1947.

A P P E N D IX E S

The master list of institutions included 207
schools, which conferred 80 percent of all commerce
degrees awarded in 1948-49.1 An additional 6
percent of all commerce degrees awarded in that
year were conferred by institutions which returned
questionnaires stating that they did not offer an
accounting major. Because very few institutions
(only one in four) not listed in either of the two
directories reported that an accounting major was
offered—and the number of accounting majors in
these schools was usually very low—it is believed
that the master list is sufficiently comprehensive
to be used as a basis for estimating the total num­
bers of such graduates. The master list device
was used to avoid an undue upward bias in the
estimate which would probably have occurred, if
the survey results had been applied instead to the
entire group of schools offering commerce degrees.
It is likely that institutions offering an accounting
major responded in proportionately greater num­
bers than did other schools.

21

rate of drop-outs between the junior and senior
class to the number of juniors enrolled in 1950-51.
The drop-out rate was calculated on the basis of
the change in the number of juniors in 1949-50
compared with the number of seniors in the fol­
lowing year.
No data from other sources were available for
use in testing the reliability of the enrollment data
obtained. Seniors majoring in accounting, how­
ever, comprised 24.5 percent of all commerce ma­
jors in 1949-50 according to the survey returns.
Accounting major graduates received 22.2 percent
of all commerce degrees conferred in that year,
according to the more extensive returns received
on this question. The similarity of the results
suggests that the enrollment data were roughly
representative of the total group, despite the
smaller number of returns obtained.
Placement Experiences and Earnings of Graduates
Majoring in Accounting

Colleges were requested to report the placement
experiences and monthly earnings for June 1949,
The reliability of the returns on the number of
and mid-term
graduates in the survey was tested by comparing June 1950,who found jobs 1951 accounting major
graduates
within 1 month
the increase in the number of commerce majors graduation. A review of the questionnaireafter
re­
between 1948-49 and 1949-50 as shown in the sponses makes it seem doubtful that the time limit
survey with the total increase in commerce majors
observed; probably the reported data repre­
reported by the Office of Education. In both was all placements of accounting majors for whom
sent
cases the increase was 17 percent, which indicates information was available.
that the respondents are probably representative
The data on placement experiences were too
of the total.
scanty to do more than indicate broad tendencies
The numbers of accounting major graduates in
as
1950-51 and in 1951-52 were estimated from the in the placement of accounting majors. Data 64
to the type of job placement were reported by
enrollment data reported by 74 institutions. The institutions for both June 1949 and June 1950
percent of change in the enrollment of seniors in graduates. Forty-five of the 64 institutions also
commerce and in accounting, respectively, between provided data on placements of mid-1951 grad­
1949- 50 and 1950-51, as shown in the survey,
These institutions had approximately
was applied to the total numbers of such gradu­ uates. of all graduates majoring in accounting 25
percent
in
ates in 1949-50 to obtain the estimated totals for June 1949 and June 1950; no percentage is avail­
1950- 51. A similar method was used to estimate
placement data submitted
the data for 1951-52, except that the number of able for mid-1951. The 4,046 accounting majors
covered 2,174 out of
seniors in 1951-52 was estimated before proceed­ graduated in June 1949, or 54 percent; half the
ing. The estimated number of seniors in the lat­ total June 1950 accounting major graduates, or
ter year was computed by applying the expected 2,134 out of 4,225, were included. Placement
1The master list included 149 out of 158 institutions whose names had been
information was available for only 41 percent of
obtained from the two directories mentioned. Reports were received from
84 of these schools, showing that one had dropped its accounting training
the mid-1951 graduates of the reporting institu­
program, 3 offered only a graduate major, and 5 offered professional training
tions (663 out of 1,596 accounting majors).
in accounting but no major during the period under survey.
Number of Accounting Major Graduates




22

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N T IN G

About 46 schools provided data showing earn­
ings of June 1949 and June 1950 graduates in the
public accounting field and 26 showed earnings of
mid-1951 graduates. Forty-two schools submit­
ted data on earnings of June 1949 and June 1950
graduates entering the private accounting field;
28 of these institutions provided data on earnings
of mid-1951 graduates in this field. Data on
earnings in other types of accounting were too
scattered to be usable.
Schools were asked to report the “ most usual
monthly starting salary” of graduates placed in
each field of employment in each period. The
estimated average salary in each category was
determined by obtaining the arithmetic mean of
the salaries reported, with the number of students
placed used as weights. It is believed likely that
the earnings arrived at by this method are some­
what overweighted by earnings of the better stu­
dents who are the first to be placed, and also the
ones about whom the college is most likely to have
information (many probably having been placed
directly by the college). However, the trend
shown is believed to be representative of actual
changes.

Only 80 of the 384 private schools of business
(about 20 percent) returned questionnaires, and
the number submitting usable returns on the num­
ber of graduates was even smaller. Although the
over-all trend of enrollments and graduates re­
ported by these institutions was believed to be
representative of the broad trend, the data were
considered insufficient for the purpose of arriving
at any specific estimates of the numbers of students
in such institutions or specific changes in the
supply of accounting personnel trained by such
schools.
Twenty junior colleges, 40 percent of the total
receiving questionnaires, sent in replies. Only 10
of the schools replying stated that they offered a
2-year accounting major sequence and the total
number of such graduates in all 10 schools was
less than 150. The number of junior college ac­
counting graduates appears to be so low that it
is unlikely that the over-all supply of trained
accounting personnel would be much affected;
therefore, no further attempt was made to analyze
returns from these schools. For the same reason
no reference is made to the data on this subject in
the main body of the report.

Private Schools of Business and Junior Colleges

Data on Women

It is recognized that a good many private schools
and some junior colleges train accountants. There­
fore a questionnaire, similar in design to the one
mailed to the colleges, but slightly modified to
meet differences in educational organization, was
mailed to some 384 private schools of business and
to some 50 junior colleges. The private schools
included all institutions listed in the Directory oj
Business Schools in the United States 2 and offering
a 2-year course in accountancy, plus several widely
known schools of accountancy not listed in this
directory. It is believed that the mailing list
included about 95 percent of all private schools
offering training above the bookkeeping level. The
list of junior colleges was selected by the Junior
College Specialist in the Office of Education, and
was believed to include all such institutions offer­
ing comprehensive training in accountancy.*

Specific data on the number of women who
received degrees with a major in accounting and
the number enrolled in this field were requested
in parts IV and V of the questionnaire. Schools
which sent in usable returns on the total numbers
of students in these categories customarily stated
the number of women, if any. It is believed,
therefore, that the survey returns are represent­
ative and that the estimates are sufficiently reliable
for use in the report. Because the number of
women graduates and women seniors with account­
ing majors were only about 3 percent of the total,
no further analysis was considered feasible.
The questionnaire did not provide space for the
inclusion of placement data on women, but the
schools were requested in the covering letter to
provide any data which they had. A few schools
sent in general comments on their experiences in
placing women, but no specific data were provided.
Therefore, no statistical analysis of the placement
experiences and earnings of women could be made.

* Noflsinger, J. S., Directory of Business Schools in the United States,
National Association and Council of Business Schools, Washington, D. C.,
15.
90




23

A P P E N D IX E S

Facsimile of Questionnaire
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
BUREAU OF LABOR S T A T IS T IC S
in cooperation with
Washington 25, D. C*

FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY
OFFICE OF EDUCATION
Washington 25, D. C.

To the Dean of the Department o f
Business and Commerce:
Your, cooperation is requested in a survey of the numbers of students
recently prepared for professional accounting positions and of their place­
ment experience.
The survey, which is being conducted by the Bureau o f Labor
Statistics in cooperation with the United States Office o f Education, is part
of a program of studies designed to provide information on manpower require­
ments and on the present and prospective supply of personnel in occupations
of importance in the defense program.
The information will contribute also
to a study of the long-range employment outlook in accountancy, which is part
of the Bureau of Labor Statistics* continuing program of occupational outlook
stuuies for u s e in vocational guidance, and to the basic educational
statistics compiled by the Office of Education.
No over-all statistical information is available on the number of
college graduates who have specialized in accounting.
Furthermore, data on
the employment experience of such graduates are fragmentary.
Your response
will provide basic data for estimating the supply o f trained personnel and
will indicate recent changes in the employment situation in the accounting
field.
Educators, employers, executives of the professional accounting
societies, and other leaders in the accounting field, with whom this project
has been discussed, have uniformly agreed that there is a real need for such
data.
It is believed that most of the data on enrollments and on the number
of graduates can be readily supplied.
The section on placement in this
questionnaire is intended as a guide to the information needed.
Data on the
placement experience o f accounting students are o f great significance in
analyzing the demand for personnel and in determining the kind of educational
background preferred by employers for different types of jobs.
For these
reasons it will be appreciated if you will provide us with any recent place­
ment Information you may have available.
Data relating specifically to the
placement of women accounting majors would be very helpful.
Please indicate
in all cases which figures are actual and which are estimated.
If you cannot
conveniently fill out the placement questionnaire, you may attach an additional
sheet with your data.
Any comments or published reports which you believe
helpful should also be included.




E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N T IN G

Your immediate response will aid greatly in the early publication
o f the results.
Please fill out the white copy of the questionnaire as
completely as possible and return it in the enclosed self-addressed envelope
which requires no postage.
The information will b e held strictly con­
fidential and reported in such manner as to preserve its anonymity.
Your assistance in this survey will be greatly appreciated.




Very truly yours,

Ewan Clague
Commissioner of Labor Statistics

U .'S *

Earl J. McGrath
Commissioner of Education

25

A P P E N D IX E S

B.L.S. 2232
Return white copy to address below.
The green copy is for your files.

U.

Budget Bureau No. 44-5119
Approval expires August 30, 1951

S . DEPARTM ENT OF LABOR
B ureau o f L a b o r S t a t i s t i c s
Washington 25, D. C.

SURVEY

FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY
O f f i c e o f E d u c a tio n
Washington 25, D. C.

in cooperation with

OF BUSINESS

AND

COMMERCE

MAJORS

Number and Placement Experience o f Students Prepared in Colleges
and Universities for Professional Accounting Positions
Yes
Does your school prepare students for professional accounting?
If "no," please check here and return the unfilled questionnaire.

II.

III.

□

□

Do graduates of your school customarily take the CPA examination
without further education?

I.

No

□

□

□

□

Does your school offer an accounting major?
If "yes," please fill out entire questionnaire; if wno , n fill out
only, lines A. 1 and B. 1 in Section IV and complete Section VII.
IV.

Degrees Conferred
Number of persons receiving degrees in period
July 1948June 1949

Major field of study

Total
A.

Women

Women

Accounting majors only

M a s t e r ’s d e g r e e s
1. All b u s i n e s s and c o m m e r c e m a j o r s 1
a.

Accounting majors only

V.

Number of Students Enrolled

Total number enrolled .
in business and commerce 1
Class level

Total

1949-1950
Total
Women

1950-1951
Total
Women

Number enrolled as
accounting majors
1949-1950
Total
Women

enrolled

1.

Graduate

2.

Seniors

3.

Juniors

4.

students

Others 2

1 Include accounting majors as well, as otber subject majors in business and commerce,
o

Total

All b u s i n e s s and c o m m e r c e m a j o r s 1
a.

A.

Total

July 1950Mid-year 1951

B a c h e l o r ’s d e g r e e s
1.

B.

Women

July 1949June 1950

Include freshmen, sophomores, and special students.




1950-i951
Total
Women

26

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K I N A C C O U N T IN G

VI-

Note:

Placement Experience of Graduates With Major In Accounting
(for Non-Accounting Majors see Section VII)

If you are unable to supply all of the following data, please give as much in­
formation as you can.
Any deviations from the dates or job classifications
listed should be explained on the form or discussed on an attached sheet.
Class graduated in—
June 1949
Placement status within one
month after graduation date
Number

A.

Most
usual
monthly
starting
salary

Number

Mid-year 1951

Most
usual
monthly
starting
salary

Number

Most
usual
monthly
starting
salary

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

Total number placed 1
1. P u b l i c

June 1950

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

a c c o u n t i n g ............__

3. P r i v a t e a c c o u n t i n g ...............
3. G o v e r n m e n t a l acc o u n t i n g ,
F e d e r a l ___________________________
4.

G o v e r n m e n t a l acc o u n t i n g ,
S t a t e a n d l o c a l ____
___

_

5. B o o k k e e p i n g ________1________ _______
6. All o t h e r e m p l o y m e n t 2 ____________
B.

Number proceeding
post-graduate

C.

Employment

with full-time

education

status unknown

( i n c l u d e u n e m p l o y e d ) ... ...... .....

Total

( i n c l u d e A,

VII.

B,

C ) ...........—

Placement o f Non-Accounting Majors in the Professional Accounting Field
Class graduated in June 1950

Placement rtatus 6 months after graduation
N umb e r
A.

Number placed

in p u b l i c

B.
C«

Number placed
Number placed

Number proceeding with

Most usual monthly
starting salary

in p r i v a t e a c c o u n t i n g _______
i n g o v e r n m e n t a l accounting..

D#

3

graduate

*

2

«

education

accounting-.. .....
.

full-time

in a c c o u n t i n g _________

Include all students regardless of source of placement.
Include all positions not clearly belonging to tbe job classifications listed above. Such jobs as
cashier, teller, statistician, and accounting clerk as well as jobs of an entirely different nature,
such as salesman or advertising solicitor belong here.
Specify number or enter "none" or "unknown."

R e p o r t p r e p a r e d b y ____________________________________ _______________________________________________
(Naae)

Check here
survey

if you wish

an a n n o u n c e m e n t o f t h e p u b l i s h e d

(Title)

report

(O&te)

giving

the results o f this

□




labor - 0. C. <BL$ 5i-37$8>

A P P E N D IX E S

27

Appendix B.— Schools of Accounting
Accountancy is taught in many types of
schools— colleges and universities, business col­
leges, private schools, evening schools, and through
correspondence study. The institutions listed
below are all on the college level, award degrees
in accountancy or in business administration, and
are approved by one or more accrediting agencies.
This list of 153 colleges was prepared by Dr.
Walter J. Greenleaf, Specialist, Occupational In­
formation and Guidance Service, United States
Office of Education. Some colleges which offer
accounting training have been omitted because
they lack accreditation or because information
was not readily available on their course offerings
in accounting. Private schools of business in­
cluding correspondence schools have also been

omitted although many of them offer excellent
training in accountancy. In States requiring
courses above the high school level for the CPA
license, it is desirable that the student write to
the State Board of Education at the State capital
to find out if the school of his choice offers courses
accredited for this purpose.
All institutions listed here have acceptable ac­
creditation. Institutions indicated with the sym­
bol (f) are members of the American Association
of Collegiate Schools of Business. Those with the
symbol (*) are registered with the New York
State Education Department for certified public
accountant preparation. All others have general
accreditation from their respective regional accred­
iting associations, and offer work in accountancy.

Schools Offering Accountancy— 1951
(Approved by one or more accrediting agencies)
Alabama
Florence— Alabama State Teachers College
Spring Hill— Spring Hill College*
University— University of Alabama*!
Arizona
Tucson— University of Arizona!
Arkansas
Fayetteville— University of Arkansas!
California
Berkeley— University of California*!
Chico— Chico State College
Los Angeles— Loyola University (men)
— University of California at Los Angeles*!
— University of Southern California*!
San Francisco— University of San Francisco
San Jose— San Jose State College
Santa Clara— University of Santa Clara (men)
Stanford— Stanford University*!
Colorado
Boulder— University of Colorado*!
Denver— University of Denver*!
Connecticut
Storrs— University of Connecticut*
District of Columbia
Washington— George Washington University*
— Georgetown University*
— Howard University (Negro)
— American University
Florida
Coral Gables— University of Miami
Gainesville— University of Florida*!



Georgia
Athens— University of Georgia!
Emory University— Emory University*!
Idaho
Moscow— University of Idaho
Illinois
Chicago— De Paul University
— Loyola University
— University of Chicago (graduate)*!
Evanston— N orthwestern University * !
Peoria— Bradley University
Rock Island— Augustana College
Urbana— University of Illinois*!
Indiana
Bloomington— Indiana University*!
Collegeville— St. Joseph’s College (men)
Indianapolis— Butler University*
Notre Dame— University of Notre Dame (men)*
Valparaiso— Valparaiso University
Iowa
Davenport— St. Ambrose Marycrest
Des Moines— Drake University*!
Iowa City— State University of Iow a*!
Kansas
Emporia— Kansas State Teachers College
Lawrence— University of Kansas*!
Manhattan— Kansas State College*
Wichita— Municipal University of Wichita
Kentucky
Lexington— University of Kentucky*!

28

E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K I N A C C O U N T IN G

Louisiana
Baton Rouge— Louisiana State University f
Lafayette— Southwestern Louisiana Institute
New Orleans— Tulane University t
Ruston— Louisiana Polytechnic Institute
Maryland
Baltimore— Loyola College (men)
College Park— University of Maryland*!
Massachusetts
Boston— Boston University*!
— Northeastern University*
Cambridge— Harvard University (graduate)*!
Chestnut Hill— Boston College*
Worcester— Clark University
Michigan
Ann Arbor— University of Michigan*!
Detroit— Detroit Institute of Technology
— University of D etroit*!
— Wayne University*
East Lansing— Michigan State College*
Marquette— Northern Michigan College of Education
Minnesota
Minneapolis— University of Minnesota*!
Mississippi
State College— Mississippi State College*
University— University of Mississippi!
Missouri
Columbia— University of Missouri*!
St. Louis— St. Louis University*!
— Washington University!
Montana
Bozeman— Montana State College!
Missoula— Montana State University*!
Nebraska
Lincoln— University of Nebraska*!
Omaha— Creighton University*!
New Hampshire
Hanover— Dartmouth College*!
New Jersey
Jersey City— St. Peter’s College (men)*
New Brunswick— Rutgers University * !
Newark— University of Newark*
Trenton— Rider College*
New Mexico
Albuquerque— University of New Mexico
New York
Brooklyn— Long Island University*
— St. John’s University*
Buffalo— Canisius College*
— University of Buffalo*!
Hempstead— Hofstra College*




NwYr
e ok

— Continued.
Ithaca— Cornell University (graduate)*!
Loudonville— St. Bernardine of Sienna College*
New Rochelle—'Iona College*
New York—'College of the City of New Y ork *!
— Columbia University*!
— Fordham University*!
— Manhattan College*!
— New York University*!
— Pace College*
Niagara University— Niagara University*
Potsdam— Clarkson College of Technology*
Rochester— University of Rochester*
St. Bonaventure— St. Bonaventure’s College*
Syracuse— Syracuse University*!

NtCon
ohala
r ri
Chapel Hill—'University of North Carolina*!
Durham— Duke University*

NtDkt
ohaoa
r
Oo
h
i

University— University of North D akota*!

Akron— University of Akron
Athens— Ohio University
Bowling Green— Bowling Green State University*
Cincinnati— University of Cincinnati*!
— Xavier University (men)*
Columbus— Ohio State University*!
Dayton— University of Dayton
Kent— Kent State University
Oxford— Miami University*!
Wilberforce— College of Education and Industrial
Arts (Negro)

Olhm
kaoa
Norman— University of Oklahoma*!
Stillwater— Oklahoma A & M College*
Tulsa— University of Tulsa*!

Og
ro
en
Corvallis— Oregon State College
Eugene— University of Oregon*!

Pnln
esvi
nyaa
Bethlehem— Lehigh University*!
Grove City— Grove City College*
Lancaster— Franklin & Marshall College
Lewisburg— Bucknell University
Philadelphia— Drexel Institute of Technology*
— St. Joseph’s College
— Temple University*!
— University of Pennsylvania*!
Pittsburgh— Duquesne University
— University of Pittsburgh*!
Scranton— University of Scranton (men) *
Selinsgrove— Susquehanna University*
State College— Pennsylvania State College*
Villanova— Villanova College (men)*

A P P E N D IX E S

Roesn
hdIa
ld
StDka
ohat
u o
Tns
eee
nse

Kingston— Rhode Island State College*
Vermillion— University of South Dakota f

Cookeville— Tennessee Polytechnic Institute
Knoxville— University of Tennessee * f

Ta
es
x
Austin— University of Texas *f
College Station— A & M College of Texas*
Dallas— Southern Methodist University f
Denton— North Texas State College
Nacogdoches— Stephen Austin State Teachers College
Waco— Baylor University!

Uh
t
a
Vgi
iia
rn

Salt Lake City— University of Utah*!

Blacksburg— Virginia Polytechnic Institute*
Charlottesville— University of Virginia*!
Lexington— Washington and Lee University!




29

Vgi
iia
rn

— Continued.
Richmond— University of Richmond
— Richmond Professional Institute (College
of William and Mary)
Williamsburg— College of William and Mary*

Whgn
ait
sno
Pullman— State College of Washington*!
Seattle— University of Washington!

Wtiia
e Vgi
s rn
Wcs
ioi
snn

Institute— West Virginia State College (Negro)

Madison— University of Wisconsin*!
Milwaukee— Marquette University*!

Woig
ymn
Laramie— University of Wyoming*

•Registered b y the New Y ork State Education Department for C P A
preparation.
tM em ber American Association of Collegiate S chools of Business.

O ccupational O u tloo k Publications of the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Studies of employment trends and opportunities in the various occupations and pro­
fessions are made available by the Occupational Outlook Service of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics.
These reports are for use in the vocational guidance of veterans, in assisting defense
planners, in counseling young people in schools, and in guiding others considering the
choice of an occupation. Schools concerned with vocational training and employers and
trade-unions interested in on-the-job training have also found the reports helpful in
planning programs in line with prospective employment opportunities.
Two types of reports are issued, in addition to the Occupational Outlook Handbook:
Occupational outlook bulletins describing the long-run outlook for employment in each
occupation and giving information on earnings, working conditions, and the training
required; and special reports issued from time to time on such subjects as the general
employment outlook, trends in the various States, and occupational mobility.
These reports are issued as bulletins of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of
them may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25, D . C.,
at the prices listed with a 25-percent discount on 100 copies or more. Those reports
which are listed as free may be obtained directly from the United States Department of
Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington 25, D. C., as long as the supply lasts.

Occupational Outlook Handbook
Employment information on major occupations for use in guidance.
Bulletin 998 (1951 Revised edition). Price $3. Illus.
Includes brief reports on more than 400 occupations of interest in vocational guid­
ance, including professions; skilled trades; clerical, sales, and service occupations; and
the major types of farming. Each report describes the employment trends and outlook,
the training qualifications required, earnings, and working conditions. Introductory
sections summarize the major trends in population and employment, and in the broad
industrial and occupational groups, as background for an understanding: of the individual
occupations.
The Handbook is designed for use in counseling, in classes or units on occupations,
in the training of counselors, and as a general reference. Its 600 pages are illustrated
with 103 photographs and 85 charts.

Occupational Outlook Bulletins
Employment Opportunities in Aviation Occupations, Part li— Duties, Qualifications,
Earnings, and Working Conditions.
Bulletin 837-2 (1946). Price 30 cents. Illus.
Employment Outlook in Foundry Occupations.
Bulletin 880 (1946). Price 15 cents.

Ulus.

Employment Outlook for Business Machine Servicemen.
Bulletin 892 (1947). Price 15 cents. Illus.
30




A P P E N D IX E S

31

Occupational Outlook Bulletins— Continued
Employment Outlook in Machine Shop Occupations.
Bulletin 895 (1947). Price 20 cents. Illus.
Employment Outlook in Printing Occupations.
Bulletin 902 (1947). Price 20 cents.

Ulus.

Employment Outlook in the Plastics Products Industry.
Bulletin 929 (1948). Price 20 cents. Illus.
Employment Outlook in Electric Light and Power Occupations.
Bulletin 944 (1948). Price 30 cents. Illus.
Employment Outlook in Radio and Television Broadcasting Occupations.
Bulletin 958 (1949). Price 30 cents. Illus.
Employment Outlook in Railroad Occupations.
Bulletin 961 (1949). Price 30 cents.

Illus.

Employment Outlook in the Building Trades.
Bulletin 967 (1949). Price 50 cents.

Illus.

Employment Outlook for Engineers.
Bulletin 968 (1949). Price 55 cents.

Illus.

Employment Outlook for Elementary and Secondary School Teachers.
Bulletin 972 (1949). Price 40 cents. Illus.
Employment Outlook in Petroleum Production and Refining.
Bulletin 994 (1950). Price 30 cents. Illus.
Employment Outlook in Men’s Tailored Clothing Industry.
Bulletin 1010 (1951). Price 25 cents. Illus.
Employment Outlook in Department Stores.
Bulletin 1020 (1951). Price 20 cents.

Illus.

Employment Outlook for Earth Scientists.
Bulletin 1050 (1951). Price 30 cents.

Illus.

Employment Outlook in the Machine Tool Industry.
In press.
Employment Outlook in the Merchant Marine.
Bulletin 1054 (1951). Illus.
Employment Outlook in Electronics Manufacturing.
In press.

Occupational Outlook Supplements
Effect of Defense Program on Employment Outlook in Engineering (1951).
(Supplement to Bulletin 968, Employment Outlook jo r Engineers.)
cents.

Price 15

Effect of Defense Program on Employment Situation in Elementary and Secondary School
Teaching (1951).
(Supplement to Bulletin 972, Employment Outlook jo r Elementary and Secondary
School Teachers.) Price 15 cents.




E M P L O Y M E N T O U T L O O K IN A C C O U N TIN G

32

Special Reports
Occupational Data for Counselors. A Handbook of Census Information Selected for Use in
Guidance.
Bulletin 817 (1945). (Prepared jointly with the Occupational Information and
Guidance Service, U. S. Office of Education.) Price 20 cents.
Factors Affecting Earnings in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
Bulletin 881 (1946). Price 10 cents.
Occupational Outlook Information Series (by States).
VA Pamphlet 7-2 (1947). Price 10 cents each.
or States desired.)

(When ordering, specify State

Employment, Education, and Earnings of American Men of Science.
Bulletin 1027 (1951). Price 45 cents.
Fact Book on Manpower (1951).

Free.

Employment Opportunities for Student Personnel Workers in Colleges and Universities (1951).
Free.
Elementary and Secondary School Principalships— Chief Advancement Opportunity for Public
School Teachers (1951). Free.
Employment Opportunities for Counselors in Secondary and Elementary Schools (1951). Free.

Occupational Outlook M ailing List
Schools, vocational guidance agencies, and others who wish to receive brief sum­
maries of each new occupational outlook report, usually accompanied by a wall chart,
may have their names placed on a mailing list kept for this purpose. Requests should be
addressed to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor, Washington 25,
D. C., specifying the Occupational Outlook Mailing List. Please give your postal zone
number.




U. S . GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: I 9 S *