Highest Level of Accounting Graduates in More Than 30 Years

Over 64,000 students graduated with a bachelor’s or master’s in accounting in the 2006-07 academic year, adding up to the largest number of graduates in this discipline since the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) started tracking the data 36 years ago.

Female graduates slightly outpaced male graduates in accounting at 52 percent to 48 percent. In 2006-07, the cohort of fresh accounting talent increased by 19 percent, compared to the number of accounting graduates in the previous survey which covered the 2003-04 school year. The number of students enrolled in accounting programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels also jumped 19 percent, from 2004 to more than 203,000.

Denny Reigle, AICPA director of academic and career development, cites the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act — one of the most far-reaching accounting reform bills to affect American business since the 1940s — as the impetus for the surge in graduates.

“The years in the aftermath of Sarbanes-Oxley have spotlighted the critical role the accounting profession plays in our capital market system. One fortunate result of SOX was greater interest in accounting on the part of students, as this report attests,” says Reigle.

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