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Let's Keep the 150 Hours for CPA Licensure, but There's Still the Accounting Pipeline Problem...

Accounting is far more interesting in practice than a textbook. There’s another level of learning that happens when we can see accounting in “real life.”


As CPAs, folks need to put some respect on our credential. We must also ensure that we’re actually great accountants, not just good test takers. That being said, I’m all for upholding the 150-credit hour requirement, BUT…


Put some respect on the CPA credential.
Put some respect on the CPA credential. Photo courtesy of CreateHERStock.

Let candidates get those extra hours in more relevant ways. I was one of those who went to grad school mostly to get CPA-eligible hours. Prior to that, I had never had a student loan (thank you OSU Young Scholars!) and didn’t prioritize grad school because I was planning to get my CPA - and no credential is better than that.


Oh, we have accounting pipeline problems, and we don't know what to do...

Preserve the Profession


Do we need to maintain the rigor of our profession? Absolutely, and we can collectively do that - with a universal approach that's less Flinstones and more Jetsons. To earn those extra hours, give candidates a real expectation of what it’s like to work in accounting.


How about internship-style projects where candidates earn hours for doing accounting projects with companies like:

  • Reconciling a balance sheet account.

  • Shadowing parts of an audit engagement.

  • Observing a monthly P&L review.

  • Learning how to research & implement new accounting standards.

  • Participating in SOX testing; helping create SOD and RCM matrices.


Just like CPA Evolution...


Just like candidates can soon choose their specialization on CPA Evolution, let them choose a project to work on. Not only do they get relevant accounting training, but they also get to experience accounting in a professional setting. They'll feel the rigor of month-end close, leading a team, thinking on your feet, doing decision-making research, and so many other things that a textbook won't show them.



I had a chat with my friends at the AICPA about the 150-hour educational requirement for CPA licensure. Tune in to the Journal of Accountancy podcast episode to hear about why we need to keep the 150 hours, how future CPAs can get those extra hours after graduation, and my advice to all the future CPAs everywhere!



The Accounting Pipeline Problem


This is part of the pipeline problem. Candidates don't really know what they're getting into. They've been stressed trying to learn complex accounting and questioning their career choice in this industry. The reality is, if they can SEE us and what we actually do and the value we bring, they'll be running to Prometric.


What's Next?


What do you think about the 150-hour requirement? Comment below!


The CPA exam is changing is 2024. Here's what to expect: CPA Evolution Overview.

Who is Nikki? Here's a little about me.

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