[Ed. note: we received the following in response to my newsletter column dated September 14, 2021. In the column, I referenced the 2019 AICPA Trends report, which stated that non-accounting majors made up 31% of all firm new hires at that time. The reader comment is published here with permission from its author who wishes to remain anonymous. We are sharing it with you in order to facilitate the ongoing discussion about low candidate numbers and the long-term value and viability of the CPA credential.]
Some 20 years ago in the dead of night the AICPA’s Professional Ethics Enforcement Program (PEEC) changed the historical requirement that only CPAs can be partners in CPA firms to a mere majority. They then lobbied NASBA to get all the State Boards of Accountancy to include the “watering professionalism down” provision in their individual state laws.
Surprise, surprise the Big 4 firms are now primarily interested in attracting non-accounting majors as new employees. The foreseeable result is a significant reduction of student interest in our profession and the death of the 150 hour programs in our colleges and universities. Notwithstanding the stellar efforts of the CPA Exam Division the number of CPA candidates has significantly dropped and frankly this self-inflicted decline will continue.
This also puts at risk the “professionalism” of the whole CPA calling. No other profession – law, medicine, architecture, nursing, engineering etc. etc. – has knowingly diluted the professionalism of their own calling.
It also is a slap-in-the-face to any CPA who worked so very hard to pass the CPA exam.
– Professional Contributor
Time to Panic? New CPA Exam Candidate Numbers Are Lower Than They’ve Been in More Than a Decade [GC, August 2019]
NASBA Sees Significant Decline in CPA Exam-Related Revenue [INSIDE Public Accounting, November 2020]
Trends Show CPA Gap Widens [NASBA, November 2019]