ICPAS Report: Time Biggest Deterrent for Potential CPAs

Unveiling the findings of its extensive research into the dwindling supply of new CPAs, the Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS) has released its 2024 insight special feature, “Re-Decoding the Decline: An Updated CPA Pipeline Report.”

In October 2023, ICPAS, collaborating with the Center for Accounting Transformation, formed a coalition of research partners, including the American Accounting Association and 26 other state-based CPA membership associations. This coalition conducted a comprehensive national survey aimed at understanding the factors influencing accounting students and young professionals in their decision to pursue or forego the CPA credential.

The survey gathered responses from 7,780 accounting students, graduates and young professionals under 35, focusing on those who have pursued or are pursuing accounting degrees and careers. This included 3,287 full- or part-time students. The survey captured perspectives from across the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and internationally.

The survey identified “time” as the primary challenge deterring prospective CPAs. The top five challenges are:

  1. Workload time commitments to study for the exam.
  2. Personal time commitments to study for the exam.
  3. Difficulty of exam content.
  4. Fear of failing the exam.
  5. Navigating the exam application process.

Geoffrey Brown, ICPAS president and CEO, reflected on these results stating, “In 2016, we warned that action was needed to better guide prospective CPAs to avert a future talent crisis in the profession. Now, the situation has worsened. It’s imperative that we heed the feedback from prospective CPAs and collaborate on restoring the talent pipeline and charting a path forward. We hope this new research will spark meaningful discussions that lead to action and lasting change.”

The complete survey findings are detailed in “Re-Decoding the Decline,” available now in PDF and digital formats at www.icpas.org/pipelinereport. Print editions are available upon request.


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