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PSA: Do Not Suggest That We Make the CPA Exam Easier in Order to Solve the Accountant Shortage

angry guy yelling at laptop

Y’all need to calm down, I’m running out of “angry person” stock photos.

With the accountant shortage in full swing and the profession’s talking heads, peanut galleries, unwashed masses, and unelected old white guys in charge discussing ways to ease it, it’s inevitable that we’ll start throwing out some WILD ideas. Like this one:

Logan meant to open the floor on a discussion about this crazy idea, a noble intention that was immediately met with rage. The kind of rage that only Twitter can stir up.

I’m trying to redirect attention away from the 120 vs 150-hour rule debate

You can make it easier to sit for the test, but that doesn’t mean more people will become CPAs

Lowering hour requirements will increase the pool of who is eligible

But as I said, the difficulty of the test will weed out a lot of candidates

Observations about the reactions towards this tweet…

🚩Seeing a trend with anon accounts being very against increasing the ability to become a CPA

🚩People are so passionate about this topic at a level that doesn’t make sense

— Tax TeleGraf (@LoganGrafTax) March 10, 2023

In fairness to Twitter, some folks understood the assignment. Like David here:

There’s some more reasoned discussion to be had here should you be interested.

SO. Let’s place a moratorium on discussing this particular item, perhaps permanently. What else we got? Have we considered giving CPA exam candidates free toasters upon passing all four parts?

9 thoughts on “PSA: Do Not Suggest That We Make the CPA Exam Easier in Order to Solve the Accountant Shortage

  1. A CPA is a prestigious position and it shouldn’t be dumbed down for anyone. Competency is a critical part of becoming a CPA, so making the exams easier would be a disservice to our society. Perhaps, if taking the exams were more affordable, that might bring in more candidates. However, it wouldn’t be fair to those who paid all that money, previously, to get certified. I think recruiting candidates through networking with college graduates would be an effective way to gain more CPAs in the field.

  2. How has the difficulty of the exam been determined in the past and how do we determine that inthe future? Simply pass/fail rates?

  3. We’re all in favor of solving the shortage by increasing pay because both incoming and incumbent accounting professionals benefit from that scenario. Only prospective CPA’s benefit from making the exam easier while it waters down both the prestige and marketability and therefore compensation for existing CPA’s. Pretty easy to see why this is a nonstarter.

  4. i believe anyone should be able to sit for the exam regardless if they have a degree. I can learn all i need to know to pass the CPA, CFA, CGMA, ABV, etc. through the internet without having to pay a fortune for school. If someone can pass these exams without schooling, they should be eligible to practice. The CPA exam should not be made easier, but anyone should be eligible to sit.

    1. You can pass without a degree because college DOES NOT adequately prepare you for the exam. However, you will not be able to do the work of a CPA without proper education.

  5. Personally, I’m not against the education or experience requirements or even the difficulty of the exam. I think extending the window would be helpful to so many people. I know there are people who sacrificed time with their spouse and children, sleep, fitness, etc to get the exams done as they are. But that should have to be required to pass these exams.
    If you look at the CMA you have 2 years to get the next exam done. I would love it if the exam had a 36 month window. One test a year is manageable.

  6. Remove licensure requirements such as:

    36 semester (54 quarter) hours in general business. (New York)
    Completed at least 24 semester hours in general business courses (New Jersey)

    I have 150 units and I passed the exam. But I can’t get licensed where I live because I didn’t spend an extra year of my life taking econ or whatever “general business” means. I have a degree, then I took accounting classes, then I passed the exam. Why isn’t that enough?

  7. The issue isn’t the difficulty of the exam – it’s the time constraint. I’d argue that the exams should require a higher score to pass but increase the 18 month window to 36 months.

    It takes at least 500 hours to properly study for all four exams – most people do not have that much excess time in an 18 month window. I took great joy in fully understanding the material but it took me 10 years post graduation to make time for the exams. I’ve worked full-time in both public accounting and industry (both require at least 60 hours a week). It’s a satisfying but unforgiving career – long hours and low pay.

    I did not have an undergraduate degree in accounting so had very little exposure to intermediate and advanced accounting. I went straight from financial / managerial classes to tax classes in my masters program. I learned most of the material on the CPA exam on the job and during my review courses.

    Lastly – if the large accounting firms stopped sponsoring Becker and allowed their employees to choose a better preparation course – we’d see more CPAs. Becker is very gimmicky – circle this, highlight that, draw a line there. If you want to actually learn the material – there are better courses out there.

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