Crazy talk

Are Too Many People Passing the CPA Exam?

The AICPA recently announced that it would be re-evaluating the CPA exam scoring process and we’ve been wildly speculating awhile as to what that might actually mean. Staying true to the doom and gloom, yours truly immediately thought the AICPA Board of Examiners was convinced you kids would bomb FAR horribly in Q1 and 2 of 2011 with the addition of IFRS and they were just preparing for that.

Upon further reflection, maybe the exam is too easy. Maybe requirements to sit are not strict enough (even though we’re down to 4 states that allow you to sit with 120 units last I checked). Maybe the job market is worse than anyone wants to admit — now wait a minute, what does that have to do with it?


There isn’t raw data that tells us how many would-be CPAs we have on our hands who have passed all four parts of the CPA exam but still can’t get a job, at least none I’ve seen. I’ve spoken to these people and it doesn’t seem to be getting better in the aggregate.

I believe the BLS numbers somewhat concur with this conclusion, if you can believe them. (CPA Trendlines has them)

I hear you guys bitching about it all the time. If you’re still employed and trying to take the CPA exam, you get the extra special designation of ultra-masochist but it’s not you guys the AICPA BoE is worried about, it’s the bottleneck of people who’ve passed the CPA exam trying to squeeze in 2 years in public to get a license.

Case in point, a friend of mine here in the great (broke) state of California decided to take on the CPA exam a tad later in life than some of you. We won’t hate on her for that. She worked her ass off and eventually got through it. She’s a leader of a prestigious accounting society in her community and has the credentials a lot of the kids coming out of school don’t. She can’t find a job. She’s tried every firm in town large and small as well as the surrounding area. I’ve scouted the Bay Area and can’t find anything for her either.

She’d stay more than 2 years and be more than a body filling the chair but they don’t even have a chair for her.

She’s not the only one. So maybe the AICPA BoE caught on and is going to try to change that. They can’t create the jobs so what do you think they’ll do?

Oh, and if anyone has a lead on a public accounting gig in the top half of California for my qualified little friend here, do get in touch.

Five Year Outlook: Will You Be an Accountant?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for accountant.jpgStupid question you say? Okay but a recent survey done by E-conomic says a nearly half of our friends across the pond want to be doing something else in five years because the tax and financial reporting regulation will continue to be a nightmare.
The difference between wanting to do something else and actually doing something else is well, sorta big.
Accountancy Age:

Anders Bjornsbo, E-conomic’s operational director, said: “It’s alarming that half the accountants we spoke to said they were thinking of leaving the profession. While that’s unlikely to happen, it is perhaps illustrative of the dissatisfaction and disillusionment felt by accountants today.”

Dissatisfaction and disillusionment is something that has been discussed here in spades on our exodus post. But people getting out of the numbers game altogether? Bah. That just doesn’t strike us as a trend we’ll see soon. The survey indicates that most of you will seek advisory gigs as more compliance work moves offshore, “[T]hree quarters seeing themselves moving away from their traditional role to a more profitable consultant and business adviser position.”
That sounds about right. Despite the widespread misery, there are too many jobs out there that pay well. And let’s face it, you guys like money. You’re not going to leave it all behind to join the clergy or become philosophers.
Discuss your outlook and if you’re leaving the traditional accountant life behind for the advisory world or if you’re a lifer as tax/audit/financial reporting. And if you’re leaving all the glamor for the Peace Corps, let us know about that too.