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NASBA chair offers insight into future of CPA pipeline

Written on Dec 22, 2022

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

While accounting continues to focus on building the CPA pipeline, Michael Fritz, CPA, NASBA chair, said he still believes in the opportunities of the profession.  

“This is a career where if you spend time in the profession, it can be very rewarding,” he said.  

Fritz joined OSCPA President & CEO Scott Wiley, CAE at the Dec. 15 Town Hall to discuss the CPA pipeline, CPA Evolution, hot issues on NASBA's radar and other trends shaping the profession. 

Fritz noted the decline over the years in the number of people taking the exam, and NASBA’s work with the AICPA to make the exam process more accessible for candidates. He said they found attrition along CPA exam continuum, finding various areas where people stopped their exam journey after coming to the website but not finishing the application, passing one section but not taking others and more.   

One of the ways they’re working to solve this is through sending email reminders about scheduling and letting candidates know when their past section score will expire.  

Fritz noted they are also actively trying to combat some of the old misconceptions possible candidates might have about the exam, such as long hours and inflexible culture.    

“We’ve got to adjust to work life balance and flexible work arrangements and stop putting a banner on our chests saying, ‘I worked 80 hours this week,’” he said. “That message has got to change.”  

Wiley said the popular business narrative talked about lately concerns the problems that are emerging or what’s gone wrong with the profession. However, he said it’s worth remembering the benefit CPAs bring to the business environment every day.  

“I'm reminded every day there are trusted advisors who are working with America's startups and the growing middle market we find booming here in Ohio,” he said. “Those trusted advisors are helping leaders navigate the challenges of this economy and trusted advisors are certified public accountants. They're you or your colleagues or peers. And there's so much opportunity to be found in this profession.”