Riding the Pipeline

Fall is here and it’s back to school for many. Including CalCPA, in a way.

The application period recently closed on our Industry Influencer campaign—our retooled Campus Ambassador program—and we’re looking forward to working with college students across the state to help spread the word about CalCPA and the opportunities a CPA career provides.

This initiative is just one piece of our outreach efforts to prime the accounting pipeline. Why is this important?
  • Accounting graduates trended downward in the 2019–20 academic year, with decreases of 2.8 percent at the bachelor’s level and 8.4 percent at the master’s levels.
  • Total hiring of new accounting graduates in 2020 has decreased by 10 percent.
  • The number of successful candidates decreased 5.5 percent between 2020 and 2021.
Turning these numbers around involves various stakeholders—state CPA societies, AICPA, NASBA, CPA firms, colleges and universities, and students and candidates themselves, among others. One of the biggest pieces of that collaboration has been CPA Evolution.

Launched in 2018 by the AICPA and NASBA, CPA Evolution explores modifying the requirements for initial CPA licensure in response to the rapid change in the environment in which CPAs operate. 

The new core + discipline CPA licensure model starts with a deep understanding in accounting, auditing, tax and technology, and adds a discipline that demonstrates deeper skills and knowledge. Disciplines include information and controls, tax compliance and planning, and business analysis and reporting. 

This new model reflects the realities of a dynamic CPA practice, will help to future-proof the CPA as the profession evolves and supports a rigorous licensure framework and the enhanced public protection it brings.

The rollout of the new CPA Evolution exam is slated for Jan. 1, 2024, and CalCPA will be working with stakeholders across the profession to help students, candidates, academia and firms prepare for this significant change.

While there’s more to the pipeline issue than educational or licensure requirements—including firm & corporate business models, recruiting and retention, and diversity and inclusion efforts—and work to be done, there are also opportunities to showcase the important role CPAs play in business, protecting the public and helping clients thrive.  

2022-23 AICPA Chair Anoop Meta noted in his acceptance speech, “The CPA is a foundation to open doors, broaden horizons and build career journeys. It was true when I passed the exam in 1991, and it’s just as true now, if not more.”
Denise LeDuc Froemming, CPA, CAE, MBA is president & CEO of CalCPA and CalCPA Education Foundation.