The Pathways Commission Homepage

The Commission on Accounting Higher Education: Pathways to a Profession

This is a public Pathways  public


Come experience this innovative learning experience where faculty and practitioners work together to create a program that helps faculty incorporate current issues of practice into their classes and research! The Pathways Commission’s focus on enhancing the value of practitioner/educator exchanges led to the approach of the largest public accounting firms to support expanding a successful project of the Auditing Section of the AAA.  The enthusiasm of both the firms and the professors is astounding and in the coming year three more bootcamps are planned for management accounting, tax, and accounting information systems.

Currently scheduled Bootcamps

  • American Taxation Association – 2015 Midyear meeting, Thursday February 26, 2015
    • ATA Teaching and Curriculum Conference (registration is full)
    • Sponsored by KPMG
  • Auditing Section, Audit Bootcamp – June 23-25, Chicago, IL (seating is limited)
    • Sponsored by PwC
    • Description: The Auditing Section’s Educator’s Bootcamp is an annual 2-3-day training event for approximately 35 faculty members that includes exposure to and discussion of current practices/issues with practitioners and coverage of the pedagogical approaches to teaching the relevant topics.
  • Information Systems Section – Summer 2015 (more information coming soon!)
    • Sponsored by EY


Help us encourage widespread implementation of leading practices. The Pathways Commission is asking your department or institution to adopt the principles spelled out in this document and to openly acknowledge your support in this journey to build a learned profession.

Here's how you can begin the movement:

  1. Download the "The Ask" by clicking on the image below.
  2. Tell us who you are by filling out this simple form. We would like to acknowledge your Institution and list it under our 'Participating Institutions' page.
  3. Share your thoughts and success stories about implementing these principles, by emailing Mimi Janotka at or by starting a discussion below in our discussion forum.
  4. This is a movement! Tell your colleagues and other faculty members to get involved! Adopt the Professionally Oriented Faculty Integration Principles today!

Participating Institutions:

  • The University of Rhode Island College of Business Administration
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Wake Forest University Accountancy Programs
  • North Carolina State University   
  • Lehigh University
  • Brigham Young University     
  • University of Oklahoma      
  • Bentley University
  • Colorado State University     
  • Virginia Tech
  • University of Purdue-Calumet      
  • University of Alabama
  • Texas A&M University
  • Northern Illinois University 
  • Hamline University School of Business         


We hope you enjoyed your time at the Annual Meeting! We felt the momentum and enthusiasm around Pathways was strong and we wanted to thank you for making this Project a huge success!

For the first time, the Pathways Commission had a booth at the Exhibit Hall which displayed all of our newest reports. Along with providing members with our newly published materials, the booth facilitated invigorating discussions about Pathways projects and possible future directions in accounting higher education. The booth was instrumental in connecting members and Commissioners in a more collaborative way allowing for the exchange of new exciting ideas and insights to emerge. On Tuesday morning, Pete and Carolyn Wilson visited the booth and gave a special presentation to the lucky visitors who happened to be visiting the booth at that time. This was a very special surprise, one that we hope will be repeated at next year’s Annual Meeting!

In addition to the booth, Pathways had four panel sessions that highlighted the work we have accomplished since last August.  While the first session provided an overview of the progress of all six recommendations, the remaining three sessions provided a more detailed examination of the Commissions work on curriculum, advance placement and integrating professionally oriented faculty more fully into the faculty. All four sessions were followed by great discussions, demonstrating the continued interest and engagement in the Pathways mission by members who are ready to implement these new ideas at their institution. Overall, we felt that Pathway’s presence and mission was positively received and we look forward to your comments and future participation!

Go Pathways!




Two years have now passed since the issuance of the Pathways Commission report: Charting a National Strategy for the Next Generation of Accountants. In its second year of implementation, The Pathways Commission continues to be focused on the overall goal of enhancing the quality and integrity of the educational process for future accountants, making sure that the pipeline of future accountants is robust and building a learned profession through greater connectivity between the academic and practice elements of the profession.

During this second year of implementation we have begun to realize the fruits of many hours of concentrated effort by so many outstanding volunteers.  Through the work of the Recommendation Leaders and their task forces, specific and actionable changes for accounting education and the practice community have been introduced and are being adopted by increasing numbers of faculty and other stakeholders with a vested interest in enhancing accounting higher education. 

Implementation activity occurred in every recommendation area during this second year of concentrated effort.  Several major papers which dig deeper into the opportunities and impediements to accounting education change are being published and can be reviewed in detail by clicking on  individual Recommendation pages.  A major survey of accounting department chairs is currently underway and will be published soon.  As anticipated at the beginning of the implementation process, the original recommendations and the additional insights from initial implementation efforts are leading to exciting new ideas and perhaps provocative additional recommendations.  Our focus this year has two major components—tangible results from existing recommendations and establishing a sustainable process for educational change into the future.

While significant implementation progress was made on many recommendations, here are a few key highlights for the second year of activity:

  • The “Vision Model” announced at the end of the first year of activity became a reality this year as faculty began using the model in classrooms and authors began incorporating it into their text book revisions. 
  • Significant new activities will significantly enhance the connectivity of accounting faculty and practioners.
  • Bold and necessary steps have been outlined for enhancing the value of professionally-oriented faculty in accounting programs.
  • Significant progress has been made toward achievement of a high school advanced placement course in accounting.
  • Significant progress has been made on initial recommendations about how to elevate the importance of teaching.
  • An in-depth study of various competency models has resulted in development of a comprehensive set of competencies that will be further developed for proposed curriculum enhancements and learning objectives.
  • Additional insights have been gained on the faculty shortage issue and what must be done to address this challenge.

pathways structure

The recommendation leaders and task force participants are proud of the work that has been done in a short period of time and are also excited about the prospects for future new ideas and enhancements to accounting higher education.  We all look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments as we move this process forward.  Most especially, we look forward to your reports of individual implementation success in your classrooms, accounting departments, accounting firms and companies or wherever you have the ability to positively influence the future of accounting higher education.

Bill Ezzell, Deloitte, LLP (Partner, retired)  and Mark Higgins, Dean and the Alfred J. Verrecchia and Hasbro  Inc., Leadership Chair in Business, University of Rhode Island

Professionally Oriented Survey

Want to contribute your responses to the Professionally Oriented survey?

Click here if you’re a
Department Chair:

Click here if you’re a
Professionally Oriented faculty member:

Your responses count! Thank you for your participation and continued support in the Pathways Commission.


The June 2014 issue of the Journal of Accountancy is now available online!

This recently published article in the June 2014 Journal of Accountancy titled, Highlights of Ethics Research supports Pathways Commission’s efforts and Recommendation No. 1 goal to “build a learned profession for the future by purposeful integration of accounting research, education, and practice for students, accounting practioners, and educators". The dissemination of practice- related research to practitioners supports this recommendation. Please click here for the full text of the article.

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Video from AAA Northeast Region Meeting (October 2013)

Video Updates from the AAA Annual Meeting (August 2013)

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Want to discuss the report? Just view the post, and enter a comment!

Pathways Commission Report, July 201255627Bruce K BehnMarch 3, 2014

Volunteer to participate in the implementation!

Already making progress? Share your success!

In the News


During 2013, a task force was empaneled to develop a vision of accounting, with a focus on what people should understand as a result of their first exposure to accounting.  They worked with Dan Roam, a visualization expert, and explored society's perceptions of accounting and the task force member's actual experiences with accounting.  The result of their efforts, and input from many others, is a visual representation that illustrates "THIS is accounting!"

Everyone is encouraged to share graphics created, and this web site is designed to give you what you need.  Watch the task force video to understand the richness of the model.... Use the graphics in your classes... Even make posters for your office.

And please provide feedback - this should be the start of a great discussion to help change society's perceptions of what accountants do!

Presentation Schedule

Want to hear more about Pathways? Below is a schedule of all future Pathways Presentations. Be a part of these insightful discussions which are shaping the future of accounting education!

Fall 2014


Meeting of Charlotte area university

Charlotte, NC


Elon University

Elon, NC

Winter/Spring 2015


APLG Annual

Nashville, TN


AACSB Dean's

San Diego, CA

2/28/2015 South Carolina
Society of CPAs 
West Columbia, SC
3/24/2015 NASBA Executive
Director's Conference
Tampa, FL
2015 Southeast
Region Meeting
Asheville, NC


2015 Western
Region Meeting
Coronado, CA
5/14/2015 Thomas J. Hindelang Business Professor Teaching Summit Philadelphia, PA
6/14/2015 ACBSP 2015 Conference, Thought Leader Session Philadelphia, PA




Report cover

pathways update 2013


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Pathways is sponsored by

AAA button     AICPA

The curved brick photo is by Jason Rodman and is being used under the Creative Commons license. The photo is available

The esclator photo is by Wally Gobetz and is being used under the Creative Commons license.  The photo is available at