Many college accounting programmes need to “update curricula to keep pace with the changing profession”, according to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
The statement comes after a report published by both organizations found that there are “major gaps” in college accounting education today, with fewer than half of all programs teaching emerging topics, such as IT governance and cybersecurity.
It was found that more than 60% of collegiate accounting programs are teaching topics like data analytics and IT audit, and fewer programs cover cybersecurity, predictive analytics or System and Organization Controls (SOC).
Each of these topics could be covered more in-depth on the CPA exam in 2024, pending the results of the current exam practice analysis.
Though many schools are including technology topics within their programs, few offer “in-depth education on each topic, with smaller programs even less likely to address them”.
The report also found that few “programs offer extensive coverage of topics such as predictive analytics or SOC or skills such as digital acumen or understanding information security processes”.
Rather, colleges often touch on them in one or two class sessions in their Accounting Information Systems class, raising the possibility students “aren’t receiving in-depth instruction on these critical topics”.
Sue Coffey, chief executive officer, public accounting, AICPA said: “The accounting profession is becoming increasingly reliant on the use of emerging technologies, information systems and data analytics.
“Businesses are increasingly seeking technology-related services and advice and it’s important for newly licensed CPAs to be adept in their knowledge, usage and skills”.