Some Accounting Firms Going Out of Their Way to Discourage Employees From Becoming CPAs

You'd think with all the worrying going on in the accounting profession about talent and succession, that firms would be making it easy on the employees they do have to become CPAs. And I think, for the most part, many firms do encourage prospective CPAs with exam prep and exam fee reimbursement, time off to study and sit for exams, etc. etc.

Oddly enough, Dan Hood mentioned a recent survey from the Illinois Society of CPAs found that not all firms are eager to be helpful:

The Illinois society did a survey of the top 25 firms in the Chicago area, and found some disturbing results: 92 percent of them require staff to earn their license to progress beyond a certain level, and 76 percent will provide financial assistance for one attempt at each section of the exam — but the average exam-taker will make 6.5 attempts at different sections to pass all four, meaning they’re on the hook for those extra 2.5 tries. What’s more, 12 percent of firms only provide financial assistance for review courses, not the exam itself, and another 12 percent provide no assistance at all. Finally, a fifth of the firms don’t give employees any time off or schedule flexibility for exam prep and test-taking. And this is at top-level firms that are complaining about how hard it is to find CPAs!

Twenty percent of those firms don't allow for time-off to study or take an exam? Cue Mugatu:


AICPA President, CEO and Stranger Things superfan Barry Melancon can give all the speeches he likes; he can announce a nation-wide stadium tour that includes the Benjamin Bankes dancers, groupies and a bus with a stupid name ("THE CPA EXPRESS") but the requirements to become a CPA (namely, the 150-credit hour rule) has become a barrier for a lot of people. I have no idea why a firm wouldn't make it as easy as possible -- including reimbursement and time-off -- for anyone that is CPA eligible to pursue it.