Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Gary Birkenbeuel


In recent years, public accounting firms have struggled to retain their professionals compared to other neighboring professions. This paper investigates the core reasons for the relatively high turnover in the public accounting industry, evaluates current strategies that firms are implementing to improve retention, and provides guidance for firms combating the issue. This work utilizes qualitative and quantitative data related to accountants’ perspectives in working at top public accounting firms and why they resigned, actual turnover rates, costs of turnover, compensation, etc. This paper found that work-life balance, work culture, compensation, and career progression were the main contributors to turnover in the public accounting profession. The findings indicate that firms should push for a more customized approach in addressing retention according to the needs of different groups of people, given the complex and varied reasons for turnover.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.