The CPA profession offers myriad possibilities for career growth and development. This category has stories for every stage of a CPA's career, whether you just took the CPA Exam, are just starting out in the CPA profession, looking to boost your career or have your own firm.
College can be very expensive – I’ve got reams of cancelled checks to my student loan provider to prove it - but it’s also the best way to increase one’s chances of economic mobility. A college degree is essential if you’re planning to earn a CPA license.
The AICPA has long been committed to ensuring that there is a strong supply of talented CPAs in the pipeline to help the profession continue to meet the needs of U.S. capital markets. One of the ways the AICPA does this is through our AICPA Legacy Scholars Program.
The program, established in 2011, awards recipients with a one-year scholarship. It uses on-campus service work to help them develop the soft skills, including leadership and communications, needed to thrive in the accounting profession. Scholarship recipients plan, promote and execute specific on-campus events each semester that promote the value of the profession to others. To date, more than 300 students have participated in the AICPA Legacy Scholars program
The AICPA Legacy Scholars program comprises four distinct awards:
The AICPA | CIMA Competency and Learning website has been a very valuable tool to me since its launch in February. It has helped me both build needed competencies on my team and strengthen my own “strategic skills” in communication and leadership.
I have worked at large firms and now a smaller organization, and based on my experience, I believe the website is beneficial to CPAs from any size and type of organization. It offers small firms a full range of technical and non-technical resources, many of which are free. Larger firms may find that the resources have depth that can complement their in-house learning materials; particularly when it comes to non-technical perspectives, such as developing emotional intelligence.
To help you better understand how to leverage the website, I want to share my favorite resources and how they have helped me. All the resources mentioned below are free for AICPA members.
Building New Competencies for Your Finance Team
My company has approximately 75 employees. As Director of Accounting and Compliance, I function in many areas, from insurance and risk management to financial reporting and HR. I also assist with legal and marketing.
When we had personnel changes this past year, I turned to the AICPA | CIMA Competency and Learning website to find planning, forecasting and budgeting resources. Using these tools helped my team develop a common language and build new competencies quickly and efficiently. I shared many of the website's resources with a staff person who took over several key responsibilities, and it helped her build needed skills in a short period of time.
We live in an age of short attention spans and demands for more productivity. In my role as an accounting professor, if I don’t grab my accounting students’ attention and immediately explain the relevancy of a topic, they tune out.
Today’s young people have a greater aptitude for learning new skills, especially when it comes to new technological applications. They enjoy experimenting, and they don’t mind failing – as long as failure is just a hurdle on the way to the reward at the finish line.
Short attention spans and the need to multi-task are not limited to college students. The nature of today’s business environment requires CPAs to be multitaskers. Thirty years ago when I was a CPA in public practice, we used to take CPE courses once or twice a year to catch up on new standards and guidance. Today, changes are taking place so quickly that we need to be learning new material daily. Our instructional methods and learning habits need to adapt accordingly.
Nano Learning: Breaking Instruction Into Small Pieces
Do you remember when there was one basic kind of accounting and all accountants did pretty much the same thing?
Neither do I. But I do know that the demand for broad business knowledge is increasing exponentially. Finance and management disciplines – such as strategy, human resources, risk management and data analysis, to name just a few – are converging, and in today’s business environment, companies expect employees to demonstrate their competence in these areas. This means that CPAs and CGMA® designation holders who want to support their organizations’ growth must develop new competencies.
I’m a pretty competitive person. Whether it’s pickup soccer, playing against my friends in our fantasy football league, or a game of Yahtzee with my wife – I enjoy the thrill of competition. The process of giving it my all is one of the things that keeps me motivated in both my professional and personal lives.
In the spirit of competition, the American Institute of CPAs recently announced the opening of the 6th annual AICPA Accounting Competition. This year, the AICPA is challenging undergraduate students to think like management accountants as they help a business hone its strategic plan. This means students will be analyzing complex financial issues and business operations in the context of the market environment and recommending strategies for growth and sustained success.
The competition has a number of different steps. Fifteen teams will be selected from the first-round submissions as the semi-finalists for the competition. The top three teams will each earn $10,000 as well as an opportunity to present their cases to an executive panel of judges at the AICPA’s offices in North Carolina. Faculty advisors will accompany their teams to support them as they present. The teams will compete for a first place prize of $5,000, a second place prize of $3,000 or a third place prize of $2,000 to be awarded to their schools.
With the deadline for first-round submissions coming up soon (2:59 pm ET on September 28), I sat down with AICPA’s Erin Carson, Manager of Student Recruitment and Engagement, for more details on the competition and what students need to know to put their team in a position to succeed.
Last week, the AICPA released the 2015 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report. The report found that enrollments in undergraduate and graduate accounting programs increased in the 2013-14 academic year, and combined to cross the 250,000 threshold for the first time. On the recruiting side, accounting firms hired a record number of accounting graduates in 2014, representing a seven percent increase from the previous survey.
In addition, there was optimism from both universities and firms that the growth of the accounting profession will continue. Ninety-seven percent of bachelor’s programs and seventy percent of master’s programs stated that they expect their enrollment to be the same or higher within two years of responding to the survey.
Building upon the record levels of hiring, 91 percent of firms reported that they expect to hire at the same or an increased level in the following year. Larger firms are particularly optimistic about future hiring levels. All firms employing more than 200 CPAs reported their hiring will either increase or stay the same in the next year. This indicates that job prospects for current enrollees in accounting programs, as well as recent graduates, remains extremely bright.
The American Institute of CPAs recently announced that the application period for this year’s Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop (ASLW) is now open. The Workshop, now in its 21st year, is an invitational program for minority accounting students who plan to pursue the CPA license.
The Workshop will feature interactive programs, speakers and panel discussions aimed at improving attendees’ professional skills while highlighting the many career benefits of earning the CPA license. Sessions will cover issues such as strategies for passing the CPA exam, navigating corporate culture, financial literacy, and thinking like an entrepreneur
The AICPA Legacy Scholars Program will provide more than 100 scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year, totaling more than $380,000, to deserving undergraduate and graduate accounting students from across the nation. New this year is a more convenient, streamlined application process which allows students to fill out a single application for all four AICPA Legacy Scholarship awards.
“The AICPA has a long history of investing in the future of the profession by awarding scholarships to highly qualified accounting students,” said Joanne Fiore, AICPA vice president, professional media, pathways and inclusion.
Since 2011, the Institute has been awarding annual scholarships under the AICPA Legacy Scholars program umbrella, expanding the financial award to add a service component. The service aspect of the program is designed to help students develop the soft skills, including leadership and communications, needed to maintain a successful career. Scholarship recipients plan, promote and execute an eight-hour service project each semester. The service activity must relate to accounting, serve the community and be meaningful to the student.
“Our AICPA Legacy Scholars program helps students defray the cost of their education, while helping instill a commitment to public service that the accounting profession is known for,” Fiore added.
AICPA Legacy Scholars are Student Affiliate Members of the AICPA, a free membership option available to all currently enrolled college students. Each AICPA Legacy Scholar is assigned a coach to help guide the student’s service project and offer advice on questions related to the accounting profession.
Scholarship funding is provided by contributions from the AICPA Foundation, Robert Half International, Accountemps, the New Jersey Society of CPAs, the Accounting Education Foundation of the Texas Society of CPAs and the Virgin Islands Society of CPAs.
The American Institute of CPAs recently announced that students from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas have earned first place in the 2014 AICPA Accounting Competition.
AccountingWeb reports that the UNLV team’s top finish in the competition earned a $5,000 award for their school. Students from North Carolina State University placed second, taking home $3,000 for their university. The third-place team from the University of Southern Indiana earned $2,000 for their school.
In addition, each of the three finalist teams received a $10,000 award to be split among the team members. All of the awards are funded by the AICPA Foundation.
No matter how many times you may have reminded yourself, it’s a fair guess that you most likely did not completely eliminate the urge to splurge during the recent holiday season. Even though your family may have said no gifts are necessary, it can be hard to swallow the idea of showing up empty handed—my immediate family says year after year that “our presence is our present,” and yet we all show up with armloads of gifts, every year. The last thing we want is to cause our loved ones financial distress at our expense, so how do we fight the urge to splurge in the year ahead?
Last time, as part of a discussion on AICPA’s Future of Learning initiative, I focused on the Future of Learning Task Force recommendation to innovate and experiment, including ideas on selecting the right delivery method for a topic, ways to integrate technology into learning and, perhaps most importantly, ideas for small changes to delivery that can have a huge impact.
Creating a Spark
Today, let’s focus on the recommendation to “ignite a passion for learning.”
In a professional environment where complying with CPE hours often places more value on how much time you spend in a classroom than the quality of what you learn—it is not uncommon for a CPA’s desire to learn to be extinguished and replaced by a resignation to comply.
The importance of motivating CPAs to build competency in meaningful ways cannot be undervalued. And, as we noted in the report, nothing motivates and engages learners like meaningful, purposeful experiences. Whether you create regulation, develop employees or deliver learning, challenge yourself to answer the following, Education for what purpose? If you keep this in mind you will help professionals make the most out of each learning experience.
The American Institute of CPAs recently announced the 2014 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop graduating class. The Workshop, an annual invitational event now in its 20th year, is open to ethnically diverse accounting and finance majors who plan to pursue the CPA license.
The 114 students selected for this year’s Workshop successfully completed the two-day program, which strengthened their professional and leadership skills, while highlighting the career possibilities becoming a CPA affords. The AICPA Foundation covers all program costs, which include the student attendees’ transportation, hotel accommodation, and meals.
“I am confident that the life lessons learned at ASLW will benefit these students and will help them immensely along their path to becoming CPAs,” said Kim Drumgo, AICPA director of diversity and inclusion and Vice Chair of the National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.
In May 2014, the AICPA’s Future of Learning Task Force announced four broad recommendations to positively impact the future of learning for the CPA profession. The recommendations are:
Innovate and experiment
Ignite a passion for learning
Make learning personal
Measure what matters
These recommendations and insights, as well as other resources related to the initiative, are now available on the new Future of Learning site. If you haven’t yet visited the site, I highly recommend you do so to gain insight into the drivers behind the initiative and its recommendations. Navigating the site will take you on a journey that explores change within business, the evolving workplace and shifts in the CPA profession. You’ll gain a better understanding of trends impacting learning, ranging from how technology is rapidly changing delivery options to the impact of Millennial expectations on learning and the workplace.
In this four-part blog series, we’ll go in depth and look at each of the task force recommendations, as well as ways you can begin to implement them.
September is underway and that means it’s back to school for students. As teachers finalize their lesson plans, a growing number may be incorporating financial literacy education. In fact, many schools around the country have already begun integrating financial literacy into their curriculums. And it makes perfect sense.
Helping young people understand financial issues is a matter of great importance. Younger generations are facing an increasingly complex financial field, compared to their parents, and they are more likely to shoulder more financial risks in adulthood, especially when it comes to saving, planning for retirement and covering healthcare needs. On July 9, the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hosted the U.S. release of the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment financial literacy data. The assessment tested 15 year-olds on their knowledge of personal finances and ability to apply it to their financial problems. This is the first large-scale international study to assess the financial literacy of young people.
Each year, the AICPA honors our members and other key stakeholders for their contributions to the accounting profession.
In this post, I’ve highlighted a number of recent awards and the impressive contributions of those who have earned them.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, CPA, was honored with the Outstanding CPA in Government Impact Award: State Level. The award recognizes CPAs working in state government who have contributed significantly to increased efficiency and effectiveness of government organizations and to the growth and enhancement of the CPA profession.
To lessen the financial difficulties Michigan was going through, Governor Snyder infused his administration with a sense of urgency, saying he wanted to accomplish four years of policy reforms in his first year and then maintain that pace. Under Governor Snyder's leadership, Michigan has eliminated its $1.5 billion structural deficit and produced three balanced budgets. Read more in this CPA Practice Advisor article.
Is your CPA firm involved in the scramble for talent? As I give presentations and work with CPAs around the country, it seems like many CPA firms are in hiring mode. Increasingly, I’m telling these firms that to remain competitive, they must understand their younger recruiting candidates—Millennials. Millennials are the generation born roughly between 1980 and the early 2000s. I tell CPA firms, if they want to get into the Millennial brain, they should be aware of five important facts.
Fact #1: Millennials are poised to take on more responsibility. The oldest members of this generation have now entered their thirties. With about 10 years on the job, they have built the kind of experience that CPA firms need to remain successful. However, if they don’t believe the firm offers them the opportunity to grow and contribute, these younger professionals won’t hesitate to move on to a better option.
The takeaway for CPA firms: Employee surveys or one-to-one discussions can help you better understand staff expectations.
It is probably understood, but here it is anyway: You should not post photos of yourself doing questionable activities to social media. This is just common sense when it comes to managing your online reputation, right? Yet, you would be surprised how many people forget their professional etiquette when posting. Sure, it is fun to share your weekend escapades with all your friends, but do not ignore the business aspects of your online presence as well.
Thanks to the Internet, you most likely developed an online reputation without even knowing it. Now it’s up to you to protect your good name—or do a little damage control. As Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Most of us are familiar with the story of the frog that was dropped into a pot of boiling water and immediately jumped out to save itself. The same frog later found himself in a pot of water at room temperature. The temperature was gradually increased and the poor frog, not noticing the danger, remained in the pot to suffer an untimely demise. Although not scientifically accurate, the anecdote serves as a metaphor for one’s inability to notice gradual change.
In our careers, we can all feel like we are that frog at times. Just like temperatures, careers can change for the worse, often gradually and without notice. However, if we pay close attention to the red flags in our careers, we can know when to jump long before the water starts to boil.
I would like to share a few thoughts from my own experiences that may help you – whether on a partner or CFO track – detect the warning signs along your career path and keep yourself out of hot water.
You have just been handed the project. You know the one – the assignment no one else wanted, and even though you thought you were flying under the radar, the project still landed in your lap. Now what?
You have two options: run away from your boss’s office or face the project head on—and come away a victor. It’s up to you.
Don’t Daunt It, Flaunt It
I think we all face the “dreaded project” at some point or another in our careers, probably on more than one occasion. It can be particularly daunting as a young CPA to get an assignment that’s outside what you consider your realm of expertise, and sometimes, you just can’t say “no.” Yet, to think you will come out of the experience unscathed might not be realistic. Nevertheless, it’s my experience that you will learn and become empowered for the next big challenge.
Here are a few tips to help you handle the difficult assignment—and conquer it:
We are now a couple days away from one of the most watched and tweeted awards shows, the Academy Awards. Earlier this week the AICPA's CPA Letter Daily polled its readers to see which movie they thought would win the Best Picture Oscar. “12 Years a Slave” was the top vote getter, with 31.71% of the vote. Coming in next was “American Hustle” (19.59%) followed by “Gravity” (13.79%). We will just have to wait and see if the readers predicted correctly.
A highlight of most award shows, at least for CPAs, is not necessarily who won what or what they were wearing, but rather those 30 seconds of fame for the CPAs featured on stage during the national broadcast. Most years the CPAs wave from the stage, sporting briefcases embossed with their firm’s name. However, some years, they get a slightly different mention, as the cast of “The Big Bang Theory” gave CPAs two years ago at the Emmys.
In January, PwC, which has overseen the balloting process for the Oscars for the last 80 years, announced that Brian Cullinan, CPA, chair of PwC’s U.S. board of partners and managing partner of PwC’s Southern California practice, joined the leadership team managing the 2014 balloting process alongside Rick Rosas, CPA. They will be the only two people in the world who know the identities of the Oscar winners before they are revealed on Sunday.
In addition, the AICPA has created a new scholarship for students who have earned a finance-related associates degree and declared their intent to major in accounting at a four-year college or university. The AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship will provide $1,000 to five qualified recipients.
The AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship joins the AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship, AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship, and AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students to comprise the AICPA Legacy Scholars program.
I don’t really recall my mindset when applying to college (it’s been more than five 15 years), but I can confidently say I should have spent more time thinking about my future employment prospects. Planning ahead would have allowed me to spend less time in college worrying that it would be difficult to find a job related to my major.
Luckily for high school students interested in accounting and college students planning to become CPAs, the job-related news about the profession lately has been very positive.
The AICPA’s Legacy Scholars Program, which awarded more than $370,000 in scholarships in the 2013-2014 academic year, has announced that applications are now live for 2014-2015. The application deadline is April 1 for the four scholarship programs that comprise the AICPA Legacy Scholars Program. In addition to financial assistance, the scholarship recipients gain real-world experience and develop the skills employers want to see.
Check out the infographic below for more information on the program.
What are the consequences if organizations aren’t making the most of up to half of their potential talent? Unfortunately, that’s the case in many firms, according to recent AICPA trends data, which found that the percentage of women in leadership positions in the profession has actually dropped from 23% in 2010 to 19% today. As you can imagine, this trend was a hot topic of conversation at the AICPA Women’s Global Leadership Summit, which was held in Washington D.C. in October. Those who attended the Summit found those statistics particularly troubling because among those present were a number of very talented and vibrant women. If firms and companies are not working to create opportunities for talented women to live up to their full potential, then these organizations are missing out on a lot.
The first graduates from the Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program taught their first semester of college accounting courses this fall. The ADS Program, which was designed to address the nationwide shortage of accounting faculty, has supported more than110 audit and tax professionals in their pursuit of PhDs in accounting. The first 12 graduates of the program have obtained jobs on college campuses.
“Having the first Accounting Doctoral Scholars begin teaching undergraduates is a real milestone for both the program and the profession as a whole,” said Steve Matzke, Director of Faculty and University Initiatives at the AICPA, who has managed the ADS Program since its launch. “While there is still more work to be done, we are confident that the ADS Program will ultimately fulfill its mission of helping secure the future of the profession by incrementally increasing the current number of accounting faculty who hold PhDs.”
As part of an ongoing effort to inspire, nurture and empower the next generation of CPA leaders, the AICPA established the Leadership Academy in 2009 to provide rising stars in the profession with advanced leadership training and access to well-connected professional networks.
In my final live blog from the Women's Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., we look at the business of women’s initiatives and the importance of linking your efforts to strategic imperatives for alignment and buy-in. Panelists for this session, "Finding the Right Balance: A Business Case for Women in Your Organization," include:
Michael Bach, CCDP/AP, founder and CEO, Canadian Institute of Diversity
and Inclusion, Canada
Mary Bennett, MBA, CIA, CEC, chair of AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee,
founder, MLBennett Consulting LLC, Asheville, NC
Todd R. Mitchell, CPA, CGMA, CEO Solutions LLC, Greer, SC
Mary Bennett is an expert in helping the
accounting industry build business-focused initiatives relative to retaining and developing
women. She has helped hundreds of firms in the U.S. and Canada to understand their
business reasons for investing in these efforts. Male and female partners and managers in
these firms come to understand the myths and misperceptions about “women’s initiatives.”
They begin to understand where the real business risks are and what their specific scenario
indicates in terms of strategy application. (Email subscribers can read the live blog on our website.)
Kicking off day two of the Women's Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. is Edie Weiner, president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown Inc. The global economy is fundamentally changing and, with it, much of what we have learned
about the world we live in. It is difficult to escape from the mental anchors that hold us at
bay in yesterday’s world, yet as professionals, women and potential leaders, we have to
work on changing our perspectives and becoming engaged in the new opportunities and
challenges we face. Join me as I live blog today's keynote session as our resistance to change is exposed and we open up
to the world of change that is emerging. (Email subscribers can read the live blog on our website.)
At the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos, International Monetary Fund Chief Christine
Lagarde called the advancement of women the greatest economic opportunity of our time.
She is recognizing what Kay calls “womenomics” — the extraordinary value
of women in the workforce. Global studies show that companies that employ more senior
women make more money. They have more degrees and are ideally suited to the
demands of our talent-driven economy. But to keep them in the economy, the workplace
must adapt to their needs. Too many women in their mid-30s hit the brick wall of kids vs.
career. But we cannot afford to keep losing them. Kay marshals evidence from employers
large and small to show how possible it is to satisfy the demands of family and career.
Flexible work schedules prove to be a win-win; when companies take the clocks off the
wall and choose to measure output instead of input, they see productivity rise by an average
of 40%. What starts as talent retention becomes a profit bonus any company would be
happy to have. She gives an inspirational boost to women and a practical guide to
employers, drawing on her own juggles as the working mother of four children. This
presentation provides research- and experience-based advice to companies looking to
retain and recruit valuable female employees.
The AICPA is gearing up
for our Fall Meeting of Council, which begins Oct. 20 in Los
Angeles. Be sure to follow @AICPA_JofA and @AICPANews on Twitter and subscribe to the AICPA’s
Press Center RSS feed to keep up with all the
news and information coming out of the meeting.
In the meantime, I’ve
highlighted a few recent accounting articles in the news that you may missed
over the last week.
Today covered the recent written
testimony that the AICPA submitted for the record
of the House Small Business Committee’s hearing on retirement savings for small
employers. In the testimony Jeffrey A. Porter, AICPA Tax Executive
Committee chairman, suggested several ways to simplify the complexity of the
retirement planning universe.
“When a small business grows and begins to explore options
for establishing a retirement plan, the alternatives, and the various rules,
can become overwhelming,” he wrote in his testimony.
There’s nothing like a personal financial incentive to challenge undergraduate students across the country to test their personal financial planning skills. The American Institute of CPA’s fourth annual AICPA Accounting Competition opened earlier this week, with teams competing for a $10,000 top award and second and third place prizes of $5,000 and $2,500, respectively.
The competition underscores the important role CPAs serve as financial planners at a time when young adults are dealing with crippling student loan debt and maxed out credit cards.
I spoke with Erin Curtis, AICPA manager, College Student Recruitment & Engagement, to find out some inside information about this year’s competition and what CPAs can do to help spread the word about the great opportunities a career in accounting provides.
In July, 2013, I left public accounting and joined the AICPA
as program manager for the Forensic and Valuation Services Section. As part of
my introduction, the AICPA sent me back to school. I attended the National
Business Valuation School from July 15 to 19 in New York. BV School is an
intense five-day training program focused on theories, applications, best
practices and controversies in business valuations.
For some of my 24 classmates, BV School was their first exposure
to valuation education. For others like me, the course was a great
comprehensive refresher on the complete Accredited in Business Valuation Body
of Knowledge. Some were already practicing in the valuation area and took
the course in preparation for the ABV exam. The Roadmap
to the ABV Credential recommends BV School as one of several choices for
During the three decades of my academic career, many
industries have been transformed by the phenomenal changes in technology and
globalization. But in my industry– higher education – there have been mainly
beneficial effects of technology and globalization, with no major disruption to
the basics of academic life. The way I spent my first days as a rookie
Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California is remarkably
similar to the life I am leading now as a chaired full professor at the
University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business.
In this final session I will be covering from the AICPA's E.D.G.E. Conference in Austin, Texas, Donna W. Salter, Senior Manager, Young Member Initiatives, AICPA, moderates a panel of young CPAs. Learn how some very involved, young CPAs use their talents and skills to help impact the profession on the state and national level. By investing their time, these professionals have ultimately created a win-win situation—the profession addresses the leadership pipeline issues by training these young CPAs as volunteers, and they, in turn, get tons of leadership experience, mentoring, and professional development. Panelists include:
Ebonie Jackson, CPA.CITP, CGMA, Strategic Management Consultant, Health Care Regulatory Consultants, LLC
Today's hot topic at the AICPA's E.D.G.E. Conference in Austin, Texas, is women's professional issues. In this session, Yasmine El-Ramly, CPA.CITP, Project Manager, PCPS – Firm Services, AICPA, and Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA, Vice President, Firm Services & Global Alliances, AICPA, will describe best practices to promote the advancement of women in the profession at the organizational and individual levels. The AICPA is hosting the Women's Global Leadership Summit, Oct. 24 to 25 in Washington, D.C.
Throughout my career in communications, I’ve sought out every opportunity to develop the skills that will hopefully help me become an effective leader in the future. Almost all of the dedicated and successful professionals I know - in every field - have done the same. Some people, like Derek Jeter and Winston Churchill, are viewed as being great natural leaders – the kind of individuals who can motivate and bring out the best in the people around them. But the vast majority of individuals – even successful leaders - have needed a little guidance along the way to develop and refine the qualities that may eventually allow them to help steer their organizations to great heights.
To help develop the future leaders of the accounting profession, the AICPA recently announced the 2013 Leadership Academy class. This group of 38 rising stars will attend the 5th annual Leadership Academy, held in Durham, N.C. this fall. The five day program will be an opportunity for participants to learn leadership theory and strategic planning techniques, while developing tools for handling complex management challenges.
As a recent article in Accounting Today notes, CPA leaders, including AICPA Chairman Richard Caturano, CPA, CGMA, and Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, the Institute’s president and CEO will engage the participants, all under the age of 36, and discuss the issues currently facing the accounting profession.
In addition to promising
demand, the pipeline of future accountants is stronger than ever, with historic
levels of student enrollments in accounting programs and record numbers of
accounting graduates in 2012.
To gain insight into why
accounting is more popular than ever, and to better understand the content of
the Trends report, I sat down with Scott Moore – AICPA Director of Students and
Professional Pathways, who led the effort to compile the Trends report.
James Schiavone: One of the things that really struck me about
the report is that the number of students who are earning their master’s degree
in accounting has doubled in the last ten years. Can you explain why we’ve seen
such a sharp increase?
For many years, I had what I now call an "accidental career." I didn't put much thought into why I was moving up the ladder, I just climbed
because that's what I was supposed to do.
It’s no surprise that I soon found myself unchallenged and feeling like
I wasn't making a difference.
When I stopped to evaluate, I realized that the power was mine to make a
change. It was time to find out what would happen if I put my whole heart and
soul into something. So I quit my job and started a business. I spent my life
savings trying to figure it out. Ultimately I learned more about business, life
and myself than I ever could have on the safe road.
recent – and I use the word recent liberally – college graduate, one of my few
regrets is that I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to spend a summer studying
abroad. I generally excuse this away because I had my hands full juggling my
course work and extracurricular activities and was always eager to return to my
native New York. If I was being honest with myself, the real reason was that I could
never seem to navigate the financial and administrative aspects of applying to
take classes overseas during the summer.
those of you who are still in school and seeking to broaden your horizons,
Michael Eisenberg, a Los Angeles-based
CPA/PFS, recently spoke to U.S.
News & World Report to educate their audience on how to pay
for short study-abroad trips.
article encourages students to look for scholarships and aid to pay for the
parts of a short-term educational trip not eligible for 529 plan funding.
reading AICPA Insights, so I can safely assume that you’re interested in
accounting. And since I’m making assumptions, I’m going to assume that you like
to watch TV (hey - all the cool kids are doing it). And since you’ve got an
inquisitive mind, I bet you wonder how networks decide which shows get made and
which shows on TV "make it." Maybe, you got a little fix watching the People’s Choice Awards
last month. And since then, you’ve been twiddling your thumbs as you count down
the days until the Emmys.
Well keep reading, because I have just
the thing for you.
set the scene…The TV industry is booming and each network is in search of “the
next big thing.” At the same time, accounting is in the spotlight as one of the
fastest growing professions. Put the two together, and the network executives
have decided this is a profession that should play a role in their next pilot.
That’s right, it’s the AICPA’s
Competition of Creative Excellence.
know I’m preaching to the choir here, but with the profession’s modest 4.2% unemployment
rate, and a median salary of more than $62,000, there is a lot to like about a
career in accounting.
Rebecca Mahler, manager
of career research at the AICPA, stressed to U.S. News and
World Report how important it is for aspiring accountants to become certified.
"It's really the gold star on the resume," she said. "It's an
invaluable credential, and you get a 10 to 15 percent higher salary."
I initially chose to write a feel-good year-end reflection because that’s what all the cool, popular bloggers on the internet do. And I want to be cool and popular, too. But as I started going back through all the news from 2012, I quickly realized that it was an extremely eventful year, even by the lofty standards established by previous years (I’m looking at you, 2002!). That said, an on-the-go CPA could surely be forgiven if they were too busy to notice the top* four articles, which gave us a reason to smile during the course of the year.
As noted right here on AICPA Insights in March, a survey from Careerbliss.com found that being an accountant is the eighth happiest job in America. Employees were asked to rate 10 factors that affect workplace happiness, including one's relationship with the boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and control over the work one does on a daily basis.
Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the very first Women’s Global Leadership Summit,
organized by the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee, along with
sponsors AICPA Private Companies Practice Section, the American
Woman's Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Canadian Institute of Chartered
Accountants. What an inspiring experience with a group of accomplished,
empowered women. Women from all areas of accounting gathered to talk about the
business case for creating inroads for women leaders in the profession, best
practices for onboarding, preparing and maintaining female leadership and the
effectiveness of establishing mentorship and advocacy programs.
I know many of my peers are striving to stay ahead of the
complexities of the profession, build a solid reputation and balance work and
family in an increasingly challenging environment. I came out of the Summit
feeling energized that more women are assuming leadership roles in accounting. I thought: “What advice do I wish I had heard
from my peers and role models when I was just starting out in the profession?”
The first day of the fall meeting of the AICPA governing Council kicked off on Sunday. Follow the "read more" link for a look at the day through the eyes of social media. (If you're viewing this post through our email subscription, depending on your email client, you may need to click through to read the story.)
around the globe face extraordinary challenges when navigating through the
current global economy. To thrive in the long-term, organizations must
constantly innovate, evolve and transform.
of the most critical factors that determines an organization's fate in this
environment is the quality of its human capital and the way it manages its
recent report from the AICPA and CIMA showed that while most companies
understand the importance of human capital, they do not appear to have the
right systems, processes and information in place to manage talent effectively.
Think about your organization for a minute. Does it invest in training and the
development of talent and skills? Or does it view training as a compliance
USA Today recently reported that service businesses are leading an uneven job recovery. In the service sector, accounting firms have regained 87% of the jobs they lost, in part because of the growth of start-up businesses, new financial rules and U.S. companies expanding globally.
Salaries of accounting graduates are continuing to rise. In an April 2012 report on the starting salaries of the college class of 2012, the National Association of Colleges and Employers said the median salary of accounting majors was $47,800, up 2.8% from the 2011 median salary. The overall average salary of new graduates was $42,569, up 4.5% from 2011.
Long term, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to increase 16% from 2010 to 2020, or about as fast as the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over that ten-year period, accounting employment is forecasted to increase from 1.22 million to 1.41 million jobs.
These statistics point to continued growth in the job market for CPAs, but where will CPAs find job and career opportunities?
Hi! My name is Joseph Farco and I’ve recently completed a summer internship with the AICPA. I assisted the Communications and Media Channels team in the New York office. While working with the AICPA has not only allowed me to learn more about numerous issues facing the profession, it also has helped me develop one of the most important skills for any business professional: communications.
From a young age I always knew I wanted to go into business, because I visited the New York Stock Exchange once a year on Kids’ Day. How was I allowed to go to this event on a yearly basis? Well, my father has worked on the floor of the exchange since 1980. His desire to see me do well in life combined with my annual visits to the NYSE, fueled my fire to go into business. This led me to mostly business electives in high school which included two college level accounting classes. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed those classes and I became interested in learning more about accounting. My passion for mathematics led me to embark on a journey to Seton Hall University, where I graduated in May 2012 with a BS in Accounting. My future plans are to pursue an MBA in Finance and eventually sit for the CPA Exam. My long term goal is to one day open up my own practice.
While the focus of my internship has not been entirely on accounting work, I’ve learned a number of lessons that could be used on a daily basis in the “real world.”
The AICPA recently announced Paul Wright, a student at Western Washington University, as this year’s winner of the Beta Alpha Psi’s Medal of Inspiration Award. Danielle Lee of Accounting Tomorrowreports that the AICPA-sponsored award, which includes a $5,000 cash stipend, honors a student who has experienced extreme hardships in his or her life and demonstrated an unusually high level of success in face of this adversity. Wright was born with arthrogryposis, a disability which includes stiff joints and missing muscle, requiring multiple surgeries before he turned 16. AccountingWEB noted that, despite his disability, Wright enrolled in Western Washington University, declared an accounting major and last April joined Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary organization for financial information students and professionals. He has worked with the university’s disability resource center and local BAP chapter to stream meetings to students who couldn’t attend. “A key lesson I learned while growing up is that true strength comes from the heart,” said Wright. “I know that I work harder for everything and that makes me feel even prouder of my accomplishments.”
Both Accounting Today and Inside Higher Education covered the release of a new report from the Pathways Commission on Accounting Higher Education. The Commission, put into place in 2010 and co-sponsored the by the AICPA and the AAA, was tasked with studying the future structure of higher education related to accounting and developing recommendations to engage and maintain the strongest possible academic community in accounting. Their report summarizes two years of collective effort by more than 50 individuals representing a diverse array of stakeholders in the accounting profession.
The report presents seven main recommendations and provides ideas on implementation efforts. The recommendations range from attracting a more diverse population of students to the profession to reforming accounting education so that teaching is respected and rewarded. Additionally, the commission recommended establishing an implementation process to address their suggestions by creating a continuous, sustainable process.
This week’s ‘In the News’ post comes from the AICPA and CPA/SEA Interchange conference in St. Louis. I’ve been learning a lot at the sessions and having a good time networking with my colleagues at the state societies and sharing ideas and information. There has been a lot going on in the profession recently and I’ve been trying my best to stay on top of it all. I’ve highlighted a few of the more interesting articles I’ve seen in the past week and shared them with you below. If you see something that you think was particularly important, send me an email or let me know in the comments section.