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The AICPA Has Cooked Up Yet Another Plan to Do F*ck All to Solve the Accountant Shortage

Young caucasian woman girl with confused, annoyed, frustrated, irritated look expression

I know you’re as sick of hearing about the accountant shortage as I am writing about it, alas here we are. One group that isn’t sick of discussing it is the AICPA. While all their schemes up until now have done approximately fuck all to fix the issue, there’s now a Pipeline Advisory Group that will surely get to the bottom of this at long last.

Journal of Accountancy:

The AICPA has formed an advisory group of accounting stakeholders that will help to shape strategy to address the profession’s talent shortage.

The National Pipeline Advisory Group represents a broad spectrum of leaders in the accounting profession. The group’s work on a national pipeline strategy will be informed by the use of technology, surveys, and in-person forums to solicit insights and input from diverse groups nationwide, the AICPA said in a news release.

“The slowdown in young adults choosing accounting as a career is a collective problem for the CPA profession and requires a collective and inclusive solution,” said Sue Coffey, CPA, CGMA, CEO of Public Accounting for AICPA & CIMA, together as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. Coffey is executive sponsor of the initiative and member of the advisory group.

“We want to make sure we have a broad range of viewpoints and perspectives to help define the profession’s pipeline strategy moving forward,” Coffey said. “This deep, capable, and experienced group will play a critical role in guiding that conversation and subsequent call to action.”

Now, before you say “didn’t they do this already?” you should know that ‘The National Pipeline Advisory Group’ “is focused on developing a cohesive and agile national strategy.” Says JofA, that strategy goes beyond the elements of the Pipeline Acceleration Plan, a set of initiatives already underway or being explored. Whew, here I thought they were demonstrating to us the meaning of insanity in practical application.

The Pipeline Acceleration Plan (known around these parts as the AICPA’s 12-Point Plan to Do F*ck All to Solve the Accountant Shortage approved in May at Council):

What the plan actually needs to look like:

Pay people better then you can hire more people which would address public accounting’s second biggest issue of relentlessly long hours. While you’re at it start promoting entrepreneurship, small firm, and straight-to-industry as viable options for accounting majors instead of professors aggressively advertising Big 4 as the be-all end-all of accounting because that gateway to Hell is scaring a lot of people away. You’re welcome for that freebie, AICPA.

The Center for Audit Quality just released a report on increasing diversity in the pipeline that, while clearly focused on diverse students (it’s literally in the title of the paper), gives us a wealth of data on why young people are choosing other majors. It also gave us this quote:


So we already have a wealth of answers to the “why” in the “why aren’t young people pursuing accounting?” Is a new group somehow going to unearth an as yet undiscovered, mysterious reason for why young people are choosing majors other than accounting? Sure hope so, this song and dance is getting old.

No offense intended to members of the group, sure you all are wonderful people.

12 thoughts on “The AICPA Has Cooked Up Yet Another Plan to Do F*ck All to Solve the Accountant Shortage

  1. Are there any countries without a shortage of accountants? Read somewhere that France has 16,000 unfilled accounting jobs — about 10% of the total number of accountants employed. Not sure about pay but they have a 35 hour work week.

  2. Whew! I feel better now. Clearly the AICPA does not care that our pipeline is lacking underrepresented minorities…of the 21 people they found just two. Yep…Sue will be a great successor to Barry. More of the same. Pay more, eliminate 150 and fire entire AICPA Board and management team—a good start to addressing the profession’s challenges.

  3. After being a member of the AICPA for many years, I decided not to renew my membership a couple years ago. This organization is completely feckless, and many of their recent actions have seemingly been intended to undermine the value of a CPA license. The CGMG bullshit was the last straw for me.

    I don’t think anyone involved in running the AICPA really cares about the accounting pipeline shortage. As long as they’re getting their fat paychecks from the membership dues CPAs pay for very little in return, they’re happy as pigs in shit. The reduced dues as a result of lower membership down the road won’t be their problem. They’ll be long gone by then.

  4. The CPA problem has been developing for years, an Academic program divorced from Real World realities that relies on Big 4 practical training, compensation out of line with professional competance and stress, no clear career path and an irrelevant AICPA that no longer benefits the practitioners.

    The real question is why anyone would chose the CPA route with it’s constant deadlines, Busy Season and inadequate compensation when for the same or less effort there are better paid and less demanding alternatives in Finance, Law and Engineering?

  5. Don’t worry – we will outsource accounting jobs from India, China, and other 3rd world countries. Get use to seeing these people in your offices and neighborhoods.

  6. I look through the list of the participants and am not encouraged. Meaning no disrespect to those folks, but it needs to be understood that this issue is an existential threat to smaller regional firms. Any efforts now will take years to even determine if they are impactful. I know the Convergence Consulting folks work with some smaller firms and I hope they can represent as moderators.

  7. This author sounds like a crybaby. A cynical, stupid little boy. Cry more little boy. Cry more.

  8. The CEO of our state society who is not a CPA or accountant but an association professional, has been appointed to this committee. Probably very few of the people on the committee actually do accounting because practitioners have so many job demands they wouldn’t have time to meet. I’ve been doing accounting for 45 years. It’s hard and gets harder every year. You have minimal control over your schedule, which means you have minimal control over your life. I would not advise anyone to enter the field.

    1. I don’t know if you are in NJ, but our new Executive Director is the same boat- of course, she checked all of the diversity boxes. This is exactly why I didn’t renew my membership. The NJCPA is useless- just like the AICPA.

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