Number of accountants increased after financial crisis

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In the four years following the financial crisis, membership growth of global professional accounting organizations far outpaced all employment growth in most regions worldwide.

According to a new report by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), Nexus 1: The Accountancy Profession, Behind the Numbers, the number of accountants represented by IFAC members grew faster than total employment increases from 2009 to 2013.

More than 175 IFAC members and associates in 130 countries and jurisdictions were involved in the research.

In South Africa results from the South African Job Index show advertised accountancy and finance roles increased by 21% across South Africa from quarter two to quarter three in 2014 according to the Robert Walters South African Job Index. Overall, the demand for accounting and finance professionals was strongest in Johannesburg, with the number of jobs increased by 29% in quarter three, followed by Cape Town, where jobs increased by 19%.

The number of accountants in advanced economies increased by 20 per cent compared to a total employment growth of 2,6 per cent; 15 per cent in Brazil, Russia, India, and China (2,9 per cent total employment increase); 18 per cent in Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey (10 per cent total employment growth); and 11 per cent in emerging markets (5 per cent total employment growth).

“This study reinforces the importance of the global accountancy profession in good times and bad,” IFAC CEO Fayez Choudhury said in a written statement. “In challenging environments, expert and trusted professional accountants help make sense of rapidly changing regulation and provide strategic advice that strengthens organizations and advances economies.”

The study also indicates for the first time how many people are employed as accountants or support staff worldwide: about triple the 2,84 million members of IFAC professional organizations. The total membership grew 16 per cent during the five-year study period. Most of that growth (two-thirds) was organic, according to the report, while a third was the result of more member organizations joining the IFAC. Europe had the most members; Africa and the Middle East had the least, but experienced 25 per cent growth during the study period.

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