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Accounting News Roundup: The 150-hour Rule and Drastic Career Changes | 11.11.16

The 150-hour rule

Last week, Blake Oliver wrote a good perspective on the future of the accounting profession at CPA Practice Adviser. It included something that I think everyone knows, but not many people say out loud: "The 150-hour requirement is hurting the profession." 

There was an overwhelming consensus among the attendees that the 150-hour requirement to attain the CPA license is not helpful.

Why? Because it's just another hoop to jump through. It adds to the cost of getting the CPA license and doesn't provide any assurance that a CPA is more capable than one who didn't obtain the additional education.

Here’s a case in point: One attendee said that he took a course in fly fishing to meet his education requirement.

Either require a master's degree in the field or don't. Otherwise it's just an unreasonable barrier to entry in the profession.

Every state requires 150 credit hours now, however, according to the AICPA website, "None of the states that have passed the 150-hour law require a master's degree."  

It is a weird middle ground to take. The AICPA says that "a traditional four-year undergraduate program is no longer adequate" for anyone who wants to become a CPA yet they stop short of saying those additional credits need to be in accounting. As Blake mentioned above and many, many others have pointed out, the 25-30 additional credits could be met from when you spent two semesters exploring a Bakery Science major.

I don't have much confidence that this particular wrinkle in the CPA requirements will be ironed out any time soon, if ever. If any states started requiring master's degrees to be CPA eligible, you can bet that accounting graduates would drain out of that state to become eligible somewhere else. Likewise, the AICPA won't pressure states to require master's degrees because they might see the designation gap widen further. Sure, there will always be people who want the CPA regardless of what the requirements are, but the 150-hour rule does make for an extra hurdle that doesn't make a lot of sense.    

Career change?

This may sound crazy coming from me, but if you're looking for a drastic career change, maybe you should consider a position in the Trump administration? The SEC is still short a couple of commissioners and I'm sure one of you people could do a decent job. Just try to keep the enforcement orders against accountants and auditors coming. I've gotta eat, you know.

Has Donald Trump released his tax returns?

Nope! And at least one of his advisers quoted in Bloomberg seems to think that no one cares:

“What Trump showed was that nobody really cared about his returns,” said Stephen Moore, an economist who advised the billionaire businessman on tax and economic policy.

This is, of course, not true. I think what he meant to say is that Donald Trump didn't care? In any case, the IRS will be in a weird spot since the Treasury Department falls under the executive branch. Tax historian Joe Thorndike is also quoted and says, "We will have to trust the IRS to do its job, and most people don’t trust the IRS.”

Previously, on Going Concern…

Megan Lewczyk wrote about digital bank heists. And in Open Items, someone in Big 4 IT advisory is thinking about an MBA.

In other news:

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