PhD accounting graduates are in demand amid regulatory changes Regulatory changes and tightened compliance requirements following corporate debacles, such as Enron and WorldCom, have reshaped the accounting industry, and fuelled the growing demand for PhD accounting graduates. 'The accounting stream in business schools has continued to grow relatively faster than other areas of business education. We therefore need more teachers with accounting PhDs to teach these students,' said Neale O'Connor, an associate professor at University of Hong Kong's School of Business, who noted there was a shortage of accounting professors in the United States and Australia. Part of the appeal of accountancy as an undergraduate subject is that there are more long-term career options available to the accountant, triggered, in part, by the introduction of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002. Besides the traditional route of working their way up the corporate ladder of an accounting firm or eyeing the chief financial officer role in an organisation, accountants can also become compliance consulting professionals who ensure that companies follow best practices and meet the demands of these new regulations. Listed companies in the US are thought to spend US$1million on complying with rules and regulations of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act each year, according to Professor O'Connor. 'Even amid a global slowdown, the demand for teachers with a PhD in accounting is stronger than in other areas of business such as strategic management and marketing. Though this demand may slow down slightly with some state universities in the US already freezing their headcounts, the trend is expected to continue once we emerge out of this downturn.' The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the driver behind many regulatory changes, covers corporate responsibility, criminal fraud and accountability, auditor independence and corporate tax returns among others.