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The Authorized Watchdog, Accounting: Find out how to Wreck (and Rescue) a Occupation:

In my earlier life, turning into a CPA was, in a way, straightforward.  To make sure, the two-day examination itself was very robust.  Not like state bar exams which typically have an 80% first-time go fee, the November 1996 CPA examination, for instance, had a 17% go fee for first-time take a look at takers.  However the course of of turning into a CPA was quite simple.  Simply get a B.S. or B.B.A. in accounting, join and go the CPA examination, after which wait on your certificates to reach within the U.S. mail. …

At this time, there are lots of articles concerning the declining variety of CPAs and, particularly, of accounting majors within the CPA pipeline.  The most recent such article is right here, in right now’s WSJ (subscription required).  That article’s title signifies its proposed resolution to the issue: How can we make accounting cool?  And there are lots of articles like this one, angsting about how one can replenish the numbers inside the occupation.  However I doubt individuals are actually avoiding accounting as a result of it’s un-cool.  It has all the time been un-cool (which, in some circles, may be cool).

It’s true that some may keep away from accounting as a result of, not like many areas of examine, it’s critical and troublesome.  I’m not simply evaluating it with frivolous majors reminiscent of sexuality research, puppetry, video video games, and grievance research.  Not like regulation, for instance, accounting entails numbers and typically truly requires you to reach on the “proper” reply.  And even within the areas of accounting that require judgment—and there are lots of—not all opinions are equally legitimate. Nonsensical and disorganized babbling—I’m pondering of some prosecutors as I write this—received’t earn you a passing mark in an accounting class or on the CPA examination.  However simply as with its lack of coolness, accounting’s rigor can also be nothing new.  As the good Arthur Andersen stated way back, accountants should “assume straight, speak straight.”

Provided that its un-coolness and rigor has not modified, my speculation is that the variety of accountants and would-be accountants within the pipeline has dwindled due to what the occupation has completed to itself since I turned a CPA.  At this time, as an alternative of the troublesome, however brief and easy, path of incomes a B.S. or B.B.A. in accounting after which passing the CPA examination, the occupation has erected quite a few expensive and time-consuming limitations to entry.  Listed below are the hoops {that a} potential CPA could have to leap via, relying on the state: …

In sum, right now the CPA certificates is not a glittering prize on the finish of a really rigorous however brief and clear path, because it as soon as was.  Slightly, the trail is now prolonged and winding, and the prize just isn’t even seen, not to mention glittering, from the beginning block.  Additional, even when you win the prize a few years down the highway, the enjoyable solely then begins, as holding it could require your hard-earned cash and worthwhile time within the type of ongoing, necessary CPE. …

I’m wondering: how many individuals have handed on the accounting occupation for the authorized occupation?  As a substitute of (A) going to high school for 5 years, taking a CPA examination with a 17% go fee, after which hoping to search out qualifying employment for 2 years earlier than taking a second examination (ethics) to grow to be licensed & licensed, you (B) take a tender main and graduate in three years, go to regulation faculty—perhaps even one which has a two-year JD program (see, e.g., right here)—after which take a bar examination the place common go charges usually break the 80% mark. …

As an lawyer, I’ve to finish 30 CLE credit each two years.  Alternatively, CPAs could have to finish as many as 120 CPE credit each three years (e.g., IL) or 80 CPE credit each two years (e.g., WI).  On an annual foundation, that is 15 credit for the lawyer and 40 for the CPA.  Provided that, and given the accelerated path out there to would-be legal professionals (i.e., finishing a much less demanding school diploma in three years and finishing regulation faculty in two years), the regulation choice could be much more engaging than the CPA choice—notably for these fascinated with tax.

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