Accounting News Roundup: CPA Ambassadors and Auditor Rotation Lives (Somewhere) | 05.22.17

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CPA ambassadors

In recent years, the gap between the number of accounting graduates and the number of people sitting for the CPA exam grew to levels that made some people — mostly AICPA executives — uncomfortable, so a new urgency around convincing graduates to obtain a CPA license emerged. The AICPA sold this to firms as having a “Pro-CPA culture” and in some firms, this has turned into “robust or formal programs”:

Before Jess Wong, 23, even moved to Philadelphia to start her first job out of college, she had a road map for earning her CPA license and the knowledge that her new employer was going to help.

A mentor from PwC—a CPA Ambassador, as they’re called—had already emailed with info on earning her license within her first year and assurances that everyone at the Big Four firm would support her as she studied for the challenging exam.

“They made this process so easy for me,” said Wong, who is an assurance associate in audit. “I didn’t even have to shell out any money. I could just focus on studying with the materials they provided me and take the exam.”

This level of hand-holding at PwC isn’t shocking. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that their employee manuals have sections explaining how to avoid walking out of windows.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think personal responsibility has gone out of favor in most accounting firms. It seems unlikely that non-Big 4 firms would go to such lengths to ensure new hires have an easy time passing the CPA exam. This is the same profession filled with partners who say things like, “I had to work 80-hour weeks for 30 years to get where I am today.”

Still, the AICPA may be desperate enough to start loaning their own people to firms as “traveling CPA ambassadors.”  If they pilot this program, they don’t even have to give me credit for it.

Auditor rotation lives (somewhere)

Auditor rotation may be dead here in the U.S. but it’s a thing in Europe, where ABB Ltd. is swapping out EY for KPMG. CFO Journal reports that this follows the new rules implemented in the E.U. last year “which stipulate auditor rotation with mandatory retendering after 10 years and a maximum tenure of 20 years.”

Previously, on Going Concern…

In Open Items, someone’s asking about employment history as part of Big 4 background checks.

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