There’s little doubt that the current pandemic has disrupted the plans of CPA Candidates and others entering the workforce. Industries that found themselves on solid footing merely months ago are now finding themselves struggling to keep operations going.
However, as the cliche goes, there’s a reason that crisis and opportunity are considered two sides of the same coin. As the economy begins to re-open, there is an opportunity for accountants and CPAs, specifically, to find meaningful and stable employment.
CPA employment opportunities aren’t just in traditional spaces. The economic disruption means that accountants are needed almost everywhere to help plan, manage, and navigate these turbulent times. They will serve on the frontlines of the economy and can provide their knowledge, skills, and experience wherever they’re needed.
A word that most accountants will hear over the next several months, if not years, is “recovery.” As companies begin to alter their operations to adjust to their new reality, CPAs will be needed to strategize for the future.
One of the ways they will be expected to do this is through scenario planning. CPAs can help project cash flow and model new ways for businesses to generate revenue. They can also help provide insights into restructuring, as well as mergers and acquisitions.
Should CPAs prefer to focus on these issues instead of sticking with one firm, they can also offer their services as a consultant to companies contemplating reopening. CPAs are excellent at modeling risk, which can provide companies with valuable awareness of how issues with supply chains, remote work, and other common issues will affect their reopening plans.
While the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program now live in the past, legislators are working on new relief packages. The larger packages are likely to come through the federal level, but state and local governments have also worked to be proactive in providing grants and incentives to companies operating within their districts.
As these relief packages move forward and become enacted, companies will need help determining what type of relief they need and which programs are most advantageous for their continued operations. Of course, here lies an opportunity for CPAs to find compelling work consulting with companies, big and small, to determine how to keep their employees employed and increase revenue.
It’s both obvious and painful to say that not all companies will survive this economic downturn. Many will need to declare bankruptcy or completely shift the way they do business. CPAs with training in bankruptcy services will likely find themselves in high demand.
This type of work can be difficult, but it is needed. Through bankruptcy services, CPAs can help companies navigate to a better place or reorganize into a sleeker, more agile version of themselves.
Many companies will also seek to lower costs by moving accounting work externally. Often this means moving data and accounting work to the cloud. Cloud computing is an area of expected growth for accounting firms, as companies find ways to shed server and other costs.
There are also CPA opportunities that still exist. Audit and assurance are areas within the profession that will continue to grow over the next several years.
Another area where accountants and CPAs will find opportunities is fraud prevention and data security. These are often services that CPAs and accounting firms already provide. With companies placing a higher priority on security, this is an area of employment that CPAs should also consider.
The current economic turmoil renews the demand for accountants and CPAs. Except for the medical field, there is no better profession better suited to help people and companies through the pandemic. For businesses, industries, and economies to survive, they’ll need the knowledge, skills, and expertise of CPAs, so there will be plenty of opportunities for CPAs to find meaningful work.