By Michael D. Colgan, PICPA CEO and executive director
The accounting profession is going through a period of great change, and these transformative times will continue into the foreseeable future. The current population in the profession is aging, new technologies and business processes are evolving, and the needs of clients and companies are becoming more varied. This presents many challenges, but it also presents a great deal of opportunity and rewarding choices for the next generation of CPAs.
More than 175 Pennsylvania students applied for
a 2017 PICPA scholarship. This year’s recipients
will be announced by June 1.
Effective April 1, 2017, the PICPA has a new entity, the Pennsylvania CPA Foundation (the Foundation) to inspire students to pursue careers in accounting and to provide educational, motivational, and financial support to those working to attain the certified public accountant (CPA) credential.
Leaders within the profession have identified recruitment and retention of talent within the profession as top areas of concern. More than 50 percent of the PICPA’s current membership will likely be retired in the next 15 years. This retirement will occur concurrently with fewer students enrolling in colleges and universities.
The Foundation was formed to expand programming that was previously supported by the PICPA so that it can broaden the impact and reach of the programs. It will begin by addressing five critical areas that impact the pipeline of talent into the profession.
The Foundation will provide opportunities for students to learn about career options available to them when they choose to pursue an accounting degree, and will reach students in elementary, middle, and high schools with programming, contests, and materials.
Education and Support for Accounting Majors
There are currently more than 100 accredited accounting programs at colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, and the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded across Pennsylvania numbered 3,500 in 2015. The Foundation will provide financial, educational, and career guidance to students once enrolled in accounting programs through scholarships, awards, networking events, and mentoring programs.
Educating the Educators
The Foundation will offer programs to accounting educators at both the high school and post-graduate level to keep them informed of professional issues, the needs of employers, and best practices in curriculum and delivery among their peers. More than 160 of our current members are actively engaged in committee activity in this area, and that number is expected to grow as programs expand.
Supporting Aspiring CPAs
Even though record numbers of students have graduated with accounting degrees over the past several years, many are not pursuing the CPA credential. This is creating a talent gap in firms and businesses of all sizes. The Foundation will provide financial, educational, and motivational support through the journey of CPA Exam completion.
Diversity and Inclusion Awareness and Education
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 1 in 3 residents is a minority. By 2044, minorities will become a majority in the U.S. population. The work of the PICPA Diversity Committee recognizes the urgent business case for diversity and inclusion, and the Foundation will be committed to programming and materials that address the recruitment, retention, and development of minority CPAs.
The Foundation will be led by a 15-member board of directors who are committed to, and support, the activities of the Foundation, as well as many members who voluntarily engage in these activities. Recent research commissioned by the PICPA shows that there are many CPAs, firms, and companies interested in supporting these activities, and we look forward to your participation. We will be sharing our successes going forward.
PICPA members, when you receive your dues statement for 2017-2018, please consider making an investment in the profession that has provided you with so many opportunities throughout your career.