Pathways implementation taking next steps

By Ken Tysiac

A transition is taking place as implementation of the recommendations of the Pathways Commission on Accounting Higher Education continues, the AICPA and American Accounting Association (AAA) announced Thursday.

The Pathways Commission was formed in 2010 to study possible future higher-education paths for those seeking entry into the accounting profession.

Recommendations were published in a report in 2012, and at that time the AICPA and AAA agreed to continue their support for the commission for another three years as the commission worked to implement the recommendations.

As the end of that three-year period approaches, the AICPA and AAA are transitioning ongoing projects into their respective organizations during the coming year. The transition will be complete by Aug. 1.

Developments in implementing the commission’s recommendations have included:

  • Proposal for an advanced placement (AP) course in accounting. The commission has been working with The College Board, which provides AP courses in high schools, to propose such a course in accounting.
  • Development and distribution of the Pathways Vision Model. This model emphasizes the importance of professional judgment, the complex thinking that it involves, and the critical role accountants play in the success of corporations, firms, organizations, and governments around the world.
  • Integration of professionally oriented faculty. The commission has developed a summary of leading practices and a set of principles for effectively integrating professionally oriented faculty into accounting departments and schools, asking department chairs to sign on as adopters of the principles.
  • Expansion of an AAA Auditing Section “boot camp” program. The program works to incorporate current practice issues into accounting classes and research. In the coming year, boot camps are planned for management accounting, tax, and accounting information systems.

“Accountants play a crucial role in the economy,” AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, said in a news release. “Therefore, ensuring that our pipeline of talent is supported by an education system that meets the evolving demands of an increasingly complex profession is of the utmost importance.”

The commission has pushed forward with its recommendations with more than 75 volunteers working on more than 17 task forces.

“As an educator committed to accounting as a learned profession, I am enthusiastic about continuing work toward Pathways-inspired goals to advance the future of accounting through connecting education and research to practice in the service of the public interest,” AAA Executive Director Tracey Sutherland said in a news release.

More information on the Pathways Commission is available online. The website will continue to host archival information and post updates to make them available to the accounting community.

Ken Tysiac ( ktysiac@aicpa.org ) is a JofA editorial director.

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