The AICPA and NASBA recently surveyed 300 U.S. accounting programs to show what technical skills students need as they enter the profession and what they may be missing. The survey focuses on topics such as data analytics, IT audit, cybersecurity, etc.
The survey was done as part of the CPA Evolution Initiative which is transforming the licensure model for the CPA. The survey showed that 64% of accounting programs are teaching analytics, but less than half cover cybersecurity.
If you are taking the CPA exam in the near future, you may want to listen to this interview with Mike Decker, the VP of Examinations at the AICPA. Mike leads the team of 62 people that write, administer and grade the exam.
At the recent AICPA conference, much of the discussion focused on what skills the accountant of the future would possess. There are two major changes happening in public accounting — technological disruption and a move to more advisory services.
These two changes require more diverse skills than ever before. Many of the skills are beyond the traditional CPA.
One of the primary skills that will be needed in the future is the ability to continuously learn.
“There will be a need to learn, unlearn and relearn… it’s the thought of futuristic literacy moving forward–not to read and write but the ability to unlearn so you can relearn, and the general awareness of all these activities for everyone. If you’re trusted advisors, you need to know the implications of these shifts–of both the wide knowledge and capabilities for a narrow knowledge.”
With these changes, the certifications will need to evolve. Possibly different types of certifications will be needed beyond the CPA.
To see the remaining summary of the conference, go to
In my opinion, as students start to focus on graduation, certification needs to be a focus. No matter the certification — CPA, CMA, CFE, or CISA, those initials will matter and could be a difference maker.