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Survey results regarding recruiters' views of the 150 credit hour accounting curriculum.

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In 1969 the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) recommended that educational requirements for CPAs be increased.[1] Further, the Commission on Professional Accounting Education in 1983 suggested that:

Due to significantly increased knowledge requirements and to a changing accounting profession and environment, a baccalaureate accounting program is no longer an adequate education for entry into the CPA profession. The result is a compelling need to move forward with the implementation of a postbaccalaureate education requirement.[2]

Since this Commission's recommendation, the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) have jointly issued the Model Public Accountancy Bill which among other recommendations provided that the prerequisite for obtaining a CPA certificate should be a baccalaureate degree and not less than 30 semester hours of additional study.[3]

In addition after January 1, 2000, all new members of the AICPA will be required to have 150 hours of education. Presently twelve states have enacted legislation which requires 150 semester hours of education for CPA candidates. CPA firms in one of these states, Texas, presently recruit in South Dakota. Several other states whose firms recruit in South Dakota are now studying this requirement. Should the State of South Dakota enact legislation requiring 150 hours of education for CPA candidates?

A group that would be affected if South Dakota implements the 150 hour requirement are the firms that hire graduates of South Dakota colleges and universities. To determine these firms' opinions on the possibility of South Dakota enacting the 150 hour requirement, the researchers developed a questionnaire that was given to all recruiters of accounting majors at the University of South Dakota during the 1989-90 school year. Two forms of the questionnaire were used; one was given to CPA finn recruiters and the other form was given to recruiters of accounting majors for non-CPA firms (managerial accountants).

In addition, the questionnaire was used to determine if the recruiting firms would be willing to hire students with more than 120 semester credit hours. The recruiters were also asked to indicate the method by which the students should obtain the 30 additional credit hours. Also, they were asked to specify the portion of these additional hours which should be accounting courses, business and economics courses or courses outside the School of Business. Finally, the recruiters were asked to select 10 (3 credit hour) courses that they felt the students should take as part of the additional 30 hours.

CPA FIRM RECRUITERS

The public accounting questionnaire was given to 37 CPA firm recruiters. The researchers received 22 responses, which represent a response rate of approximately 60 percent.

Table I summarizes the recruiters' (CPA firms') feelings about the possible enactment of the 150 hour requirement. As can be observed, many of the recruiters believe that the 150 hour requirement should be enacted.

The recruiting firms' preference for hiring students, which is a concern of all students, with additional credit hours is presented in Table 2. As shown in this table, only four of the CPA firm recruiters prefer not to hire graduates with work beyond the baccalaureate degree.

Since the majority of the CPA firm recruiters are willing to hire students with additional credit hours, the logical next question is which method of obtaining the additional hours is preferred by the recruiters. As seen in Table 3, all but four of the recruiters felt that the students should acquire a master's degree. Specifically, most of the recruiters indicated that they would like the students to first obtain a bachelor's degree and then enter a master's degree program for the additional 30 semester credit hours (See Table 3).

Table 4 summarizes the recruiters' opinions as to the portion of the additional credit hours that should be accounting courses, business and economics courses, or courses outside the School of Business. Half of the recruiters indicated that at least 15 credit hours should be in accounting with the majority believing that there should be at least 10 credit hours in accounting. Also. the majority of the recruiters felt that there should be at least 10 credit hours in business and economics courses. Half of the recruiters felt that the course work outside of the School of Business should be less than 5 credit hours.

Next the questionnaire asked the recruiters to identify 10 (3 credit hour) courses that they felt the students should take. The majority of the recruiters (See Table 5) selected communication courses [Advanced Business Communication and Advanced Speech]. Two accounting courses [Computer Auditing & Internal Control and Seminar in Managerial Accounting] were selected by at least half of the recruiters. As also observed in Table 5, the top 10 courses selected are broken down as follows: 5 accounting courses, 2 communication courses, 2 business courses and 1 economics course.

The following courses were also recommended by several of the recruiters: Seminar in Accounting Research, Accounting Theory, Advanced Business Law, Organization Theory and Behavior, Administrative Policy, Controllership, Governmental and Not-For-Profit Accounting, Production and Operations Management.

MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING RECRUITERS

Only 3 out of the 10 questionnaires given to the managerial accounting recruiters were returned. The low return rate in itself may indicate that managerial accounting recruiters do not approve of the 150 hour requirement and/or prefer not to hire students with the additional credit hours.

This seems to be substantiated by the results of the returned questionnaires (See Table 1 and Table 2). Two out of the three responding recruiters did not want the 150 hour requirement enacted. All three responding recruiters indicated that their firm prefers to hire students with only baccalaureate degrees.

Even though the return rate is low, it is interesting to note (See Table 6) that the managerial accounting recruiters placed a greater emphasis on accounting courses and less emphasis on the business and economics courses and courses outside the School of Business than did the CPA firm recruiters See Table 4). Like the CPA firm recruiters, the managerial accounting recruiters felt that the students should take the Computer Auditing & Internal Control course. However, these recruiters placed a greater emphasis (100%) on the Governmental and Not-For-Profit course. The following courses were selected by 2 out of the 3 recruiters:

* Advanced Information Systems,

* Advanced Business Ethics,

* Advanced Business Communication,

* Seminar in Managerial Accounting, and

* Seminar in Auditing.

CONCLUSION

It appears that CPA firm recruiters are interested in the enactment of the 150 hour requirement and that they would be willing to hire students with the additional credit hours. However, the managerial accounting recruiters may not approve of the additional credit hours or be interested in hiring students with post-baccalaureate education.

Both the CPA firm and managerial accounting recruiters felt the additional credit hours should result in a master's degree after completing the bachelor's degree (4-1 arrangement, See Table 4). This method of obtaining the additional credit hours may best suit the present situation in South Dakota. It would allow all the colleges and universities presently offering a baccalaurate degree in accounting to continue their programs and permit the students to transfer/continue to a university which presently offers a master's degree in accounting. The 4-1 arrangement may meet the needs of the managerial accounting recruiters because it will give them the option to hire students with only a bachelor's degree in accounting.

However, the questionnaire results may indicate that the University of South Dakota might need to revise its master's degree in the accounting program in order to better meet the needs of its recruiters. That is, the master's degree program should be flexible enough to satisfy the diverse needs of the recruiting firms.

FOOTNOTES

[1] American Institute of CPAs, REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS FOR CPAs (Beamer Report) (New York: AICPA, 1969).

[2] The Commission on Professional Accounting Education, A POSTBACCALAUREATE EDUCATION REQUIREMENT FOR THE CPA PROFESSION (New York: AICPA.. 1983), p. 5.

[3] American Institute of CPAs, and National Association of State Boards )f Accountancy, MODEL PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY BILL November 1984). p. 22.
COPYRIGHT 1990 The Business Research Bureau
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Sage, Lloyd G.; Sage, Judith A.
Publication:South Dakota Business Review
Date:Sep 1, 1990
Words:1328
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