CPA Survey Reveals the Desire for Educational Modernization

The Indiana CPA Society’s Center of Excellence recently released the results of a survey that vetted the educational proclivities of CPAs in the state. Roughly 700 Indiana CPAs that participated in the survey, the results of which revealed three major conclusions:

  • CPAs want more access to online, interactive and competency-based educational platforms
  • CPAs want more opportunities to improve their “soft skills,” which is a term used to describe non-technical skills
  • CPAs want to experience a greater sense of professional collaboration

These results come to no surprise for the Indiana CPA Society President and CEO Gary Bolinger, CAE. Last week he was quoted as saying, “The survey results confirm what we’ve known to be true for some time now. First, that mastery of non-technical skills is critical for current and future CPAs. Second, the current hours-based system of education is outdated and not meeting CPAs’ needs. And third, CPAs want options for professional development and need help mapping out those plans.”

In terms of preferred learning environments, almost 30% of CPAs expressed enthusiasm for online webinars while nearly 20% favored online self-study formats. The survey also found that over 90% of CPAs enjoyed classroom sizes with ten or more students present. And lastly, more than 60% of CPAs felt most comfortable in an informal setting rather than a formal one.

When polled about how CPA employers managed soft skill development, almost half of the CPAs reported their employers thought non-technical skills should be integrated into their continuing professional education requirements. Right now, the state requires all CPAs to complete at least 120 hours of continuing education training every three years.

Perhaps the most alarming survey result indicated that over 60% of CPAs had no professional development plans but were interested in acquiring the resources to effectively do so. In the group that had plans, only 44% of them admitted receiving skills development assessments.