In 2021, INCPAS outlined its 3 strategies to build the CPA talent pipeline in high school that included a new membership type for high school students. The society now haa more than 100 high school student members and is communicating CPA stories and impact statements with them throughout the year.
The next phase in this strategy is to build paths and remove the barriers for potential or aspiring CPAs who are enrolled in college. To achieve this, INCPAS leadership has identified the following areas as ones that can help make a meaningful impact in a challenging marketplace for student talent.
“There is no silver bullet when it comes to creating and sustaining a strong CPA talent pipeline,” said INCPAS President & CEO Courtney Kincaid, CAE. “If we’re going to move the needle, the profession needs sensible solutions at every step in the CPA journey. From high school to licensure, INCPAS seeks to provide real-world solutions along with a healthy dose of encouragement — this is a wonderful, fulfilling profession.”
Strategy 1: Reduce Time & Logistical Barriers with 120-to-Sit & Exam Changes Rule
Key factors contributing to the current CPA pipeline shortage include: declining college enrollments, rising tuition costs, logistical hurdles of studying for the CPA Exam, and constraints of sitting for the CPA Exam in limited time frames — time frames further limited by capacity during COVID-19 closures.
INCPAS is in the final stages of completing a regulatory rule change process that will remove barriers for accounting students seeking to pursue their CPA license and career in Indiana by:
- Moving Indiana into the group of 47 jurisdictions that allows candidates to sit for the Exam at 120-credit hours. while still requiring 150-credit hours for licensure
- Removing CPA Exam section names and windows, and allowing continuous testing and retaking of failed section(s)
- Incorporating changes to the CPA Exam that align with the new CPA Evolution Model Curriculum launching in 2024, which will include core skills along with future-focused disciplines
This will enable more students to graduate with the CPA Exam partially or fully completed, which significantly increases the likelihood that they will go on to become licensed CPAs in Indiana.
This rule change is expected to be effective on November 2, 2022.
Strategy 2: Reduce Tuition Barriers with Scholarships
The Indiana CPA Educational Foundation scholarship program provides financial assistance to INCPAS student members in college who are pursuing their accounting major and ultimate entry into the CPA profession.
Scholarships are $1,000–$2,000 per year and renewable for up to $5,000 total per recipient, dependent on recipient meeting the renewal criteria.
Currently, eight aspiring CPAs representing five Indiana universities are receiving a total of $13,000 for this program year. Three of them are graduates of the INCPAS Scholars year-long career awareness and mentoring program for high school students.
Applications for the 2023-24 academic year are now open.
Strategy 3: Increase Employer Access & Connections
Awareness and access to opportunities can be challenging, so INCPAS works to provide both through the following programming for college students interested in accounting.
- INCPAS Meet the Profession Night. This networking event provides high school, college students and INCPAS Scholars participants the opportunity to meet and network with our member organizations in a more informal setting. Unlike a traditional career fair, booths and materials are not set up — instead, attendees are encouraged to mingle and engage in more in-depth conversations. This year’s Meet the Profession Night will be hosted at the INCPAS Learning Center in January 2023.
- INCPAS Employer Guide. The just-released 2022-23 INCPAS Employer Guide is an annual publication shared with members, students, CPA candidates and educators to ensure it reaches diverse audiences statewide. This contains the most current CPA Exam information, study tips, advice from current CPAs, networking events, and internship and job leads from Indiana-based organizations looking for new hires.
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Partnerships. Organizations seeking to invest in a more diverse talent pipeline can work with INCPAS either as a program-specific sponsor or now as a year-round Profession Partner — the organizations that have made this commitment for 2022-23 include BGBC, Cummins, Deloitte and OneAmerica. Their participation not only helps build and retain more CPAs overall, it also helps put them in front of students so they can get a feel for company culture and the possibilities of a CPA license.
The INCPAS Board of Directors has dedicated a task force to identify additional risks and opportunities for CPA the talent pipeline in Indiana, which will be reflected in INCPAS’ 2023-24 strategic plan initiatives.