Pathways Discussion Page

engaging the broad accounting community

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  • AAA HQ
    Update after the 2013 Annual Meeting
    discussion posted October 12, 2015 by AAA HQ, tagged update 
    Update after the 2013 Annual Meeting

    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!

  • AAA HQ
    Pathways Second Year Update
    discussion posted October 12, 2015 by AAA HQ, tagged update 
    Pathways Second Year Update


    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

  • James Serocki
    Tax Careers34
    discussion posted September 15, 2010 by James Serocki 
    Tax Careers

    I would be interested in participating in a discussion in how best to provide business students (likely accounting majors) sufficient timely information to properly consider a tax career. It appears the recruiting process (e.g. for internships), primarily by CPA firms, comes early in a student's academic process usually junior status, often before any tax courses are taken. Therefore, most students being recruited, have only educational exposure to accounting through their course work and defer to a selection of assurance. As an academic (former practitioner) teaching taxation in a business school, my concern is that some changes need to be made in order to provide accounting majors a balanced exposure to all aspects of a career in accounting, including taxation.  This change process should be a collaborative effort by academia and potential employers (e.g. CPA firms, industry, government). 

  • Larry E Rittenberg
    Pathways Commission3
    discussion posted August 4, 2010 by Larry E Rittenberg 
    Pathways Commission

    I have read your project paper and viewed your presentation from yesterday.  Although stated very broadly, the presentation still focuses on 'money", rather than "transforming data into information" (which has also been suggested as a definition of accounting).  While the documents talk about what accountants do, the value proposition for accounting still seems very narrow (to me, at least)  by focusing on money (and similar measures).  As you progress, I urge your commission to keep in mind the broad areas that COSO has covered in the past few years (governance, enterprise risk management, controls, fraud prevention and detection) as an integral part of accounting.  I personally believe it will continue to be a growing part of what will be happening in our organizations, and either we endorse it or lose it.  I know that you have Paul Sobel on one of your supplier groups. He is excellent and can bring the internal audit, control, and risk management perspective to the discussion.

    Good luck on the project.  It is important and I wish you well.  If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

  • Bruce K Behn
    Feedback From AAA Northeast Regional Meeting, October 15,...1
    discussion posted October 18, 2010 by Bruce K Behn 
    Feedback From AAA Northeast Regional Meeting, October 15, 2010

    Following the presentation on the status of the Pathways Commission on Higher Education for the Accounting Profession, audience participants were asked to offer their comments and input.  The following is a summary of the comments received at that meeting:

    • We need to offer more accounting elective courses.
    • We need to broaden the types of other courses offered in accounting programs.
    • We need more forensic accounting courses at the university level.
    • University programs need to emphasize that accounting is more than just getting a CPA certificate, i.e., students should be exposed to other certificates like IMA and CMA.
    • We need to make accounting more fun in the classroom.
    • There should be more options as a path to obtaining a PhD in accounting.  All the programs are geared toward full-time and young people and there is no practical path for someone with experience and beyond their 20’s to be able to obtain a PhD.
    • Online programs need to be seriously considered as a path to PhD and to undergraduate degrees.
    • Require more accounting research focused courses in the curriculum.
    • Teach college and university teachers how to teach.  Obtaining a PhD is not an indication of a person’s ability to teach the subject.  We do more to teach elementary school teachers how to teach than college professors.
    • Get input from AICPA Leadership Academy and younger accountants.
    • We need to get input from students about to graduate.  Also, we should obtain input from students who graduated 2-3 years ago to learn how well prepared they believe they were to enter the profession.
    • We should include input on what is missing in accountants from other “users” of services such as the SEC, plaintiff’s attorneys and investment bankers.
    • We should study the cost of students obtaining the extra 30 hours in the 150 requirement and whether it is cost beneficial.
    • Teaching is too directed at obtaining a CPA and we need to teach for other alternative career paths as well.
    • We need students to have more reading, thinking and communication skills.  Expand accounting pedagogy to include other important skills and implement it earlier in the university experience.
    • We need to improve the image of becoming a CPA with a television program.
    • We need to better understand why the pass rate for the CPA exam is so much lower than doctors and lawyers.
    • Professors need to adapt to changing learning styles of the students.
    • Change introductory courses (high school and college) to start with a focus on financial statements or outcomes rather than current method of teaching inputs which means bookkeeping which is a turn-off.
    • We should have someone from a large not-for-profit on the Commission as well as representation from GAO and SEC.
    • Expand the use of internships, co-opts and other programs that blend in practical experience.
    • Need to incorporate more real-life examples, simulations and cases into the curriculum.  Add practical skills to the regular curriculum.
  • Julie Smith David
    Who/what are our current/future markets for accounting...2
    question posted November 9, 2010 by Julie Smith David 
    Who/what are our current/future markets for accounting information and professionals? What are the skills that future accounting professionals will require?
  • Susan V Crosson
    Feedback from the Mississippi Society of CPAs Accounting...1
    discussion posted November 14, 2010 by Susan V Crosson 
    Feedback from the Mississippi Society of CPAs Accounting Educators Symposium

    Below are comments made by participants at the MSCPAs conference October 29, 2010:

    -Need effective presentations and resources for teaching accounting, i.e., topical videos for advanced tax topics

    -Need better pedagogy i.e., a practice set to create a not-for-profit so in class can review disparate answers.

    -Need more authentic assignments i.e., Management accounting business memo.  Students need to be able to filter for relevant info, formulate key questions, present alternative solutions, and support recommendations.

    -Need to change the perceptions of high school guidance counselors, i.e., Career preference tests are based on 1950s DOL profiles which are no longer relevant about what accountants do!

    -Need to recognize what accounting is being outsourced to the third world and what our value proposition is.

    -What should be done about high school students that are not top notch that want to do accounting?

    -Current accounting students are not prepared to do accounting in practice—need more internship experience!

    -Accounting grads should be work ready!

    -Look at accounting:business curriculum….should it be 50:50?

    -Students need step by step experience in how to conduct an audit so can learn to think beyond checking off the step on the audit checklist.

    -What can be done about the international regulatory barriers?

    -What can be done about the barriers to obtaining international experience?

    -What responsibilities does the accounting profession have for regulation?  Are we thought leaders in new regulations and laws?

    -K-12 GenEd should include business and accounting, why doesn’t it?  What can be done?

    -PhD shortage-are there enough faculty to teach?  Are enrollments rising?  Is ADS working?  What else can be done?

    -Current faculty should promote the academy as a profession choice.

    -Current Accreditation [credentialing] of faculty is NOT what the profession needs

    -Curriculum should allow for different professional pathways: public, private, academic….one size or emphasis does not fit all!

    -Can we afford to provide different pathways? 

    -How to teach emerging topics, i.e., reconciling book to tax income becoming more difficult due to fair value accounting.

    -There should be one accounting license for US—broad credential.  Granted at national level not state level.

    There should be other credentials for SEC versus non SEC work skills…

  • Julie Smith David
    I am excited to learn more about the Commission!2
    discussion posted August 3, 2010 by Julie Smith David 
    I am excited to learn more about the Commission!

    Having reviewed the overheads, it seems like this is an exciting idea and has a lot of potential!  I can't wait to learn more about it!

  • Julie Smith David
    Feedback from John M. Wachowicz2
    discussion posted August 20, 2010 by Julie Smith David 
    Feedback from John M. Wachowicz

    Given your interest and position in strengthening accounting education, I thought I would share one thought with you. That is, that understanding accounting entries can lead to a greater understanding of accounting.

    In Strategic Finance magazine recently there was an article that I found very interesting: See:

    Lehman’s Shell Game: Poor Risk Management  By Saurav K. Dutta, CMA; Dennis Caplan, CMA, CPA; and Raef Lawson, CMA,  CPA, CFA
Lehman’s precipitous fall that began in 2008 ended in bankruptcy.  The 2006 strategic shift from a low-risk brokerage model to a high-risk, capital-intensive banking model burdened the company with dangerous illiquid assets, and then the subprime crisis exploded. What followed was a sophisticated implementation of Repo 105 and 108 transactions to cloak the true condition of the company’s worth. The authors analyze the legality and ethics of the accounting practices during the fall.

    I e-mailed the authors to compliment them on their article and their judicious use of 4 sets of journal entries that made some of the author's points come to life for me. They all e-mailed me back and said "thanks" plus they were especially glad that I liked the use of journal entries. They had debated whether to include them or not -- knowing that professional articles nowadays generally do not include journal entries.  Ultimately they decided to include them anyway because they thought they would prove useful. And, to me they did.

    I know that accounting education today neglects journal entries -- for the most part. And, maybe that line of thought should be reconsidered.

    Ta ta 4  now!



    John M.  Wachowicz, Jr., Ph.D.,

Professor and Regions Bank Scholar

    The University of Tennessee

    Department of Finance – 438 SMC
916 Volunteer Blvd.

    Knoxville, TN 37996-0540

  • Julie Smith David
    How do we attract adequate numbers of high potential,...2
    question posted November 9, 2010 by Julie Smith David 
    How do we attract adequate numbers of high potential, diverse students/talent into the accounting profession and retain these students throughout their educational and professional pathways?