Chicago’s weekly newspaper, Crains, just had a headline story called, “The Hottest Job Sector”. It was about my original profession, Accountants. The article explains that local accounting graduates at downtown Depaul University are averaging $55,000 starting salaries with an 88% hire rate. The nearby University of Illinois accounting class had 98% get jobs!

Does this surprise me? Not really. As any of my blog readers know, I spent considerable time advising, for free, young people on their job searches and careers. Some are accountants or finance people but others are from more general business backgrounds or even other non-business fields.

The easiest “clients” I deal with are accounting graduates. This is true both if they are right out of school or, even easier, if they have been working for a while. Why is this? Because accounting graduates have a very marketable skill that organizations want. Big public firms, smaller private firms and even not for profits, all need accountants. Accountants are useful to analyze, and make sense of, the ever increasing mounds of data, or as we say now, Big Data, that all organizations seem to generate.

The hardest “clients” to work with are from very general business programs like Marketing or, even worse, Communications (which was my wife, Tricia’s, background). Why is that? Because, other than the fact they have a college degree, they have No immediate marketable skills! I get emotional sometimes when I meet with these young people and try to explain to them that cold-calling for an investment firm or an advertising firm may be the best and only option they have for a first job. After they do that for six months to a year in a major city like Chicago they can move into something better, but will still not make what the Accounting graduates make.

What about Finance majors? Isn’t that the same as Accounting? NO, or I would have titled this blog differently. Finance sounds like Accounting but it is more theoretical and less useful directly out of school. Accounting.

Sometimes young people tell me they can not major in Accounting because they struggle with math. When I received my undergraduate degree, I only took one math class in college, which is now being taught to my grandkids in the sixth grade! Accounting is about solving a puzzle and understanding some concepts, like debits equal credits and assets equal liabilities plus capital. For many bright young people, Accounting can be learned.

So for those entering college, think about it. Do you want to be in the group of graduates where 90% plus get jobs with pay above the average graduate? And parents please tell your children or for some of us our grandkids that Accountants Rule!