To encourage students to pursue degrees in accounting, researchers support introducing them to the subject earlier in their academic careers. Speaking at NASBA’s June Regional Meetings, the 2017 NASBA Accounting Education Research Grant recipients reported on the information their studies have shown, and all agreed that having students start learning about accounting, perhaps as early as the fourth grade, should be considered. They pointed out recruitment efforts to guide students to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are starting back in the primary grades, and accounting should have similar promotion.

Dr. Brandis Phillips of North Carolina A&T State University recommended that to accomplish diversity, all professions need to reach out for recruitment to reflect the changes in the population. He proposed it is not too early to start the process by talking about accounting in grades 4-7. In minority communities, many “have no concept that they could be accountants,” Dr. Phillips observed.

Dr. Kimberly Swanson Church, of the University of Missouri – Kansas City, is involved in a project to have the College Board approve an advanced placement course in accounting. However, since AP courses are not available in all schools, she suggested as an alternative accounting be offered instead as an honors course. Dr. Church suggested that the State Boards try to “build a bridge with the department of education” in their state to promote such programs. To change perceptions of the profession, there is a good reason to reach down to the 6th-9th grade level, she advised.

There is a need to establish in all schools the same opportunities for learning about accounting, Dr. Reza Espahbodi of Washburn University agreed. His research predicts that success on the Uniform CPA Examination is more related to socioeconomic status than to ethnic group or gender.

Dr. Espahbodi reported the most striking result from his research “is that controlling for opportunity variables, African -Americans and Hispanics have a much higher probability of passing all four parts of the Uniform CPA Examination, and a lower probability of dropping out after the first attempt” at taking a section.

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