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Here’s the AICPA’s Revised 12-Point Plan to Herd Students Into Accounting

hand checking things off a checklist

Good news, everyone! The AICPA released an expanded pipeline plan today.


If you assumed the plan would revolve around an aggressive effort to bully firms into paying people what they’re worth, you’d be wrong.

“The detailed plan features input from a significant set of stakeholders and calls for those stakeholders to work together to increase the number of accounting graduates and the number of graduates who obtain CPA licensure,” reads the Journal of Accountancy article touting this new and improved pipeline acceleration plan.

And here it is.

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

“Building the CPA pipeline requires a united effort from all stakeholders tied to the profession,” said Going Concern favorite Susan Coffey, CPA, CGMA, the AICPA’s CEO of public accounting in the news release. “We need to work together to raise awareness about the rewarding work we do, broaden the range of talent we draw from, and address stumbling blocks that derail too many prospective CPA candidates. As the largest national body for the accounting profession, the AICPA is uniquely positioned to channel ideas into action and mobilize efforts in a coordinated way to achieve success. Our plan offers a framework for moving forward but is by no means the last word – this is an evolving process that will require resolve, foresight and close collaboration with important partners.”

We find out from the AICPA’s blog post about the pipeline acceleration plan that improving salaries for accountants falls under item #2, Addressing firm culture and business model challenges:

In collaboration with stakeholders, the AICPA has identified initiatives that address the following key areas:

  • Awareness: Increasing awareness about the accounting profession and promoting the benefits of a career in accounting
  • Improved perceptions: Dispelling outdated perceptions and leveraging updated, positive messaging that can help the profession resonate with today’s students
  • Training and education: Providing high-quality accounting education and training opportunities
  • Firm culture and business models: Equipping firms with the tools to offer competitive salaries and benefits, as well as career advancement opportunities and compelling work
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion: Attracting and retaining a broader range of talent
  • Partnering with educational institutions: Affiliating with colleges and universities to offer internships, scholarships, and other programs to attract individuals to the profession, help defray costs, and assist students in developing the skills needed to succeed as a CPA.

Good luck convincing firms to do the one thing they should have done 15 years ago that got us into this mess in the first place. If that one issue is not remedied, then the rest of this is pointless.

A synopsis and full version of the Pipeline Acceleration Plan are available directly from the AICPA. In the meantime, no one be shocked when the next AICPA Trends report comes out.

2 thoughts on “Here’s the AICPA’s Revised 12-Point Plan to Herd Students Into Accounting

  1. You’re the only one making sense! Also make NASBA easier to work with, they are a nightmare!

  2. Right now accountants in industry are often making very good salary. However, they do not need a fifth year of school to end up in that position. I know the AICPA does not want to bend on this point, but it likely is a sticking point on why there are less candidates for CPA. They did come up with potential by-pass with earn while learn with work for a firm counting towards credits while in said fifth year, but this will require contracts so firm will still have said trained employee after the internship.

    The other problem I see with it is the “dispelling outdated perception”. From the article I read, put out by the AICPA, they indicated that we are not expecting long, long hours anymore, and the work will not involve long hours of repetitive tasks. Well, from what I’ve heard from others in public accounting and read in other focused articles, not to mention personal experience this is a fallacy. Why else would there be all the articles on burnout over the last five years(yes it had started to become a huge topic pre-pandemic). And with the current and foreseeable shortage it is likely to get worse. Perhaps many issuing said plan are in different positions, and should have taken a survey of the AICPA members, but for a profession whose primary characteristic is integrity, putting out such a statement to potential future candidates is not a good look.

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