The compression of the CPA pipeline is an issue of state and national concern. SCACPA, as well as societies in other jurisdictions and national organizations, are continuously exploring avenues to relieve the compression and enhance the profession’s attractiveness to would-be CPA candidates and students.

In our own state, the recent revisions to the Accounting Practice Act removed several barriers to licensure. SCACPA also continues to foster relationships with colleges, universities, and firms to encourage and support students and CPA candidates along the licensure path. These support mechanisms include networking opportunities, scholarships, student debt relief, and CPA Exam Bonuses. SCACPA’s advocacy and growth efforts sew the seeds for future success. Many thanks to our volunteers and elected officials who understand the importance of the profession’s relevance and growth.

On the national side, the AICPA recently unveiled a multi-point plan to address the pipeline issues. Among them is the Experience, Learn, and Earn program. The AICPA says this program “will combine meaningful online study integrated with early work experience.”

With a small pilot planned for this fall, the AICPA (in conjunction with NASBA) says program participants will:

  • Graduate with their bachelor’s degree and core accounting classes at fewer than 150 credit hours,
  • Join a firm right away as a paid first-year staff member (not an intern),
  • Get up to 30 credit hours through online courses while working a flexible schedule and getting paid work experience,
  • Complete their credit hours and continue their journey to CPA.

According to the AICPA, “The anticipated cost of the 30 credit hours will be under $5,000, and less if a student needs fewer hours. … Student associates will likely take 1-2 years to complete their needed credit hours to a maximum of 30 credit hours, and the ELE program will work with the pilot university on different credit hour tracks so that students can tailor the program to just the credit hours they need.”

AICPA is currently gauging initial interest from firms that would be able to recruit and support at least one ELE participant to begin the program in the Fall. To best equip participants for success, firms should be willing to offer student associates a paid position with a flexible work schedule, including dedicated time to complete their on-line academic coursework.

Participating firms must agree to recruit and employ at least one ELE participant, a two-year commitment to the program, allow the participant a flexible schedule to allow time for

If your firm is interested in participating in the pilot or in receiving more information, please fill out the following form by June 30.

If you have questions before submitting the form, please reach out to Julia Woislaw at