The part education will play in the CPA Evolution initiative was addressed by several speakers at NASBA’s Annual Meeting on November 2. “We are cognizant of providing resources for smaller colleges to move down this path,” NASBA Chair Laurie Tish told Boards as she outlined the steps being taken to bring information to educators in cooperation with the AICPA and the major CPA firms. Bill Reeb, AICPA Past Chair, noted that the bigger schools have already moved ahead and are providing the kinds of content required for the Evolution, and the major focus now is providing resources for smaller schools.

An academic resource hub that provides free faculty access to over 90 resources which are researchable by topic has already been established by the AICPA. Faculty and practitioners are working with NASBA and the AICPA on task forces to determine what should be included in the core and disciplines tested on the Uniform CPA Examination. Their work is expected to yield a high-level model curriculum that will be available for faculty in June 2021.

American Accounting Association (AAA) Chief Executive Officer Yvonne L. Hinson reported that faculty members want guidance as to what they need to include in their curriculum versus what the firms will be training new hires to do. Dr. Hinson outlined the many ongoing AAA initiatives to promote the evolving profession, including teaching bootcamps, recorded conferences and webinars, and other common resources. Working with the AICPA, the AAA sent a survey to accounting department heads to find out if their accounting programs are teaching: data analytics, IT audit, cybersecurity, blockchain and other related topics. The results of that curriculum “gap” analysis will reveal how those courses are being integrated into accounting programs and will be used to create the right resources to assist faculty. “We are excited about determining where to put our resources,” Dr. Hinson said.

What a school’s accreditation signifies to a Board of Accountancy was addressed by Dr. Stephanie M. Bryant, Executive Vice President and Chief Accreditation Officer of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Focusing on the new amendments to the Uniform Accountancy Act’s Model Rule 5-1, she explained that for a school to have “Level 1” accreditation it “must meet the business accreditation standards plus the additional accounting standards to achieve supplemental accounting accreditation.” The AACSB has awarded supplemental accounting accreditation to 188 schools.

“AACSB accreditation is a strong validator of high quality curriculum, faculty, assurance of learning, strategy, and scholarship but we are not prescriptive on the form of the curriculum,” Dr. Bryant stated. “Thus, transcript review is still needed at the State Board level where the State Board is prescriptive in education.”

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