The Ohio Society of CPAs is working on an action plan to attract more young people to the accounting profession.
During a recent Workforce Development Summit, the OSCPA gathered a group of leaders from over 50 organizations in the business, academic, nonprofit and government sectors to identify the steps needed to reverse the aging of the profession. Analyzing data from the Accountancy Board of Ohio, they found that of Ohio’s registered CPAs, over 45% are 60 years old or older, and nearly two-thirds are over the age 50. That means younger accountants are needed now.
“We are at a pivotal moment in the accounting profession, and we all have to work on this with strategy and focus,” said OSCPA president and CEO Scott Wiley in a statement Monday. “Education, training and quality of work are needed more now, and in different ways, than they ever were before.”
The five-point action plan, introduced by OSCPA chief learning officer Tiffany Crosby, provides a set of reimagined CPA pathways to attract the next generation of accounting professionals. To address the talent shortage, the steps include:
- Forming a coalition. The OSCPA is bringing together essential stakeholders to take collective action.
- Telling accounting’s story. Accounting’s story should be reframed as the language of business and a profession of opportunity where future CPAs can see themselves as key partners in empowering growth.
- Reviewing and revising the curriculum. The current accounting education landscape should better reflect the actual work of accounting to provide students with meaningful experiences.
- Enhancing the work experience. To remain stable, the work culture within the profession needs to reflect the changing demands of the current and incoming workforce.
- Establishing multiple pathways. Accounting careers need to be more accessible to a broader audience, and there needs to be a change in how young professionals and untapped talent make their way into the accounting profession, removing outdated or unnecessarily onerous barriers.
Event panelist Mike Duffey, senior vice chancellor at the Ohio Department of Higher Education, noted that the employment market has changed for many industries, and strategies such as the one the OSCPA has developed can help retain top-tier talent in Ohio.
“It is important to be forward-thinking on work-life balance, education and training,” Duffey said. “But it is also important to look back upon successful strategies from mid-century America: recruiting talent from within, training that talent for future jobs, and investing in deep and meaningful relationships with employees.”
The OSCPA acknowledged that there’s no “silver bullet” for resolving the talent shortage, but it sees its five-pillar plan as a comprehensive, actionable approach to address decades-old issues and drive real change.
“This is a complex conversation and an issue that will not be solved overnight,” Wiley stated. “We need to ensure that the profession has the talent necessary to address the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future. We are positioning accountants and CPAs as Ohio’s most trusted business advisers. OSCPA has a role to play in changing the landscape, and we are looking forward to working with our impressive coalition to make an impact in Ohio.”
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