The drop in accounting grads is getting real. Read what a professor has to say.

After 14 years of teaching accounting at Metropolitan State University, Barbara Beltrand, has never seen so few students roaming the hallways.

“We have almost a third less students in our program than ever,” she says, describing a sharp drop in the number of finance and accounting graduates over the past four years.

What’s causing this downturn?

According to Barbara, it’s the convergence of several factors—a smaller population of high school graduates, fewer foreign exchange students, and a trend toward less demanding or more “glamorous” career fields.

This, combined with a mass exodus of 300,000 retirement-age accountants, has created a slew of open accounting and finance positions.

“It’s more and more difficult to find the right talent,” says Gwen, partner at Scouts Talent, an on-demand finance and accounting firm that provides accounting consultants for interim and fractional project-based work in the Minneapolis market.

“We need more talented accounting professionals joining the workforce,” she says, “and we have to find ways to be more resourceful.”

Building a new generation of talent

In an effort to help more students succeed in getting their accounting degree, Scouts Talent has launched a program at Metro State, called the One-to-One sponsorship program.

Essentially, each time Scouts places a consultant on a project, they sponsor an accounting class for a student at Metro State. Whenever possible, they also connect these students with internship opportunities and jobs.

“It’s extremely gratifying to be able to help students who are working very hard to achieve their education and career dreams,” says Gwen.

The students at Metro State are especially grateful for the support.

One student who had a class sponsored through the One-to-One program said, “Putting myself through college primarily on student loans puts a lot of financial pressure on a person. A scholarship like this relieves some of that financial stress.”

“A significant number of our students are older, already working, and first-generation college students,” notes Barbara. She sees Metro State’s role in helping non-traditional and immigrant students get an accounting degree as one way to mitigate the workforce crisis here in Minnesota.

A great opportunity for students

“There’s never been a better time to pursue an accounting degree,” says Gwen. “The fact that more opportunities are opening up—and that accounting will always be an essential part of every business—means there’s great job security and long-term career paths for students in this field.”

Barbara appreciates the attention Scouts Talent is giving to this workforce crisis—and the support they’re providing to students.

“It’s a small drop in the bucket,” says Gwen. “But we hope the One-to-One program is part of a much larger conversation about keeping our industry strong.”

Learn more about how Scouts Talent is giving back and supporting the industry.


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