NPR imagines a world with no accountants

Blog | August 12, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

NPR has the story: there’s a shortage of accountants.

And only technology can overcome our industry’s challenges.


NPR’s hit financial podcast, Planet Money, is required listening for anyone with an interest in how our economy works. And Planet Money’s sister podcast, The Indicator, just debuted a story that should be especially interesting to Billtrust customers. 

The reason for the shortage of accountants

Host Wailin Wong opens the show with a sobering statement:

WAILIN WONG: There's a downward trend in both the number of accounting graduates and people taking the CPA exam. And this is coming just as the industry really needs CPAs because of retiring baby boomers. The American Institute of CPAs estimates that three-quarters of its members hit retirement age in 2020.

Accounting jobs can be tedious and stressful, especially the entry-level jobs Gen Z accountants are likely to find themselves in. And, as we’ve observed during the Great Resignation, workers (especially younger ones) will not stay in jobs that make them unhappy. 

Adrienne Gonzalez is managing editor of Going Concern, a news site for Millenial and Gen Z public accounts. She guested on the episode and gave her take: 

ADRIENNE GONZALEZ: I feel like the pandemic just changed things for everybody. Everybody sort of woke up and was like, what am I doing? And accountants in particular - they are miserable.

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Technology can help to attract great accounting professionals

So, there aren’t enough incoming accountants, and the ones that we do have are quitting because of working conditions.

But there is hope. AR automation technology streamlines the tedious parts of an accountants job and opens up new possibilities for advanced skill sets. When big, fast data becomes available in real time, organizations will reach for talent beyond accounting majors. 

The Indicator co-host, Adrian Ma explains: 

ADRIAN MA: Companies are also trying to poach future accountants from other majors like computer science and data analytics. That could help modernize the profession in some exciting ways.

Then Adrienne Gonzalez expands on her point: 

ADRIENNE GONZALEZ: The talent shortage will not be as critical because technology is starting to pick up the slack. So I hope people aren't waiting around for this huge bumper crop of CPAs because I don't think they're coming.

And Wailin Wong comes back to sum it all up:

WAILIN WONG: And that technology she's talking about, it's automating the most tedious parts of the job. -All that administrative paper pushing can now be done with software, which means CPAs could be freed up for more creative problem-solving work - you know, the fun stuff.

Attract accountants to your business with accounts receivable automation solutions

Ah, the fun stuff. That’s what we were all dreaming about when we decided to be accountants and business majors in college. Not scrutinizing spreadsheets and doing data entry. We wanted to make the big decisions.

Now big data and automated solutions have come together to deliver the reporting and forecasting that accountants need to make their jobs interesting, grow in their careers and create value for their companies. 

That’s a news story with a happy ending. To learn more about how Billtrust can automate your team’s tedious tasks and put important decisions at your fingertips, please fill out this contact form.