An examination of the relationship between accounting firm size and employment expectations

Every year many college students choose accounting as their major in pursuit of a career in public accounting. Disenchanted with their jobs, every year, too, many accountants leave their public accounting jobs and seek alternative employment. Prior research demonstrates an information gap between the employers and the college graduates as a major cause of turnover. A survey was conducted to collect employee selection and retention information from both national and non-national accounting firms. The primary objective of this study was to investigate what job attributes are perceived important in the firms' selection and retention process. Significant differences were found between the national and non-national firms, suggesting the possibility of a correlation between particular personality traits and a successful employment in public accounting firms by their size. Subsequent analyses resulted in identifying attributes that are perceived significant to national and non-national public accounting firms. The findings of this research suggest that increased awareness about size differences coupled with realistic employment expectations are two necessary ingredients for a successful career in public accounting.