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State Board Report

April 2015

There is a need to bring accounting practice and accounting education better together, William F. Ezzell, Co-Chair of the American Accounting Association/AICPA Pathways Commission, told the Executive Directors. A huge shortage of accounting faculty exists, he noted, and transitioning retired CPAs into the academic community has been one of the projects the Commission’s task forces have undertaken. Recent steps the Commission has completed include:

  • Compiled best practices from professionally-oriented faculty surveys;
  • Developed professionally-oriented faculty integration principles; Encouraged periodicals, including the Journal of Accountancy, to publish more practice-oriented research summaries;
  • Developed and planned faculty "boot camps" process for three sections of the AAA; Listed activities provided to academics;
  • Explored opportunities for externships/internships.

Mr. Ezzell said the AAA is setting up a Center for Excellence in Accounting Education and will be giving awards focusing on the elements of teaching. The Commission is also exploring requiring alternative terminal degrees, rather than the Ph.D., to provide additional faculty.

An advanced placement accounting course for high school students has been developed and awaits approval by the College Board. Over 450 schools want to offer the course, Mr. Ezzell reported. The goal is to improve accounting’s ability to attract high-potential, diverse entrants into the profession. Five schools in Kentucky have already shown the program works.

A straw man educational model for the common body of knowledge for someone who graduates from accounting has been developed. The employers of accounting graduates have indicated the need for graduates to have foundational/soft skills because their staff can obtain the content needed but have to be able to apply professional judgment.

"We have to scramble to find data" on how many are taking accounting, how many are teaching accounting, etc., in order to put together a platform so that everyone gets included in the classroom what they need to influence future generations. "Saying there is only one curriculum will not work," Mr. Ezzell stated.

Information about the Pathways Commission can be found at pathwayscommission.org.

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