Training & CPE

Wanted: Accounting Ph.D.s … and soon

TeachLots of noise is being made over the fact that accounting enrollments are at an all-time high -- a great development for the talent-starved CPA profession.

But there's a problem as well: The number of accounting Ph.D.s available to teach this new wave of students has been steadily declining over the past decade, and accounting departments at colleges and universities nationwide are facing a critical shortage of faculty doctorates.

AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon outlined the problem during a professional issues update at the 2008 Interchange conference in New Orleans. Only 23 percent of the demand for audit doctorates and 27 percent of the demand for tax doctorates is being met, Melancon said, and schools may be forced to reduce enrollments in undergraduate accounting programs due to faculty limitations.

But the profession is ready to fight back.

The AICPA Foundation is administering an Accounting Doctoral Scholars program to help increase the number of accounting Ph.D.s nationwide.

"To date, more than 70 of the country’s biggest firms, along with several state CPA societies, have committed a total of $15 million to the program," the AICPA announced. "The firms will recruit top employees for the program and encourage them to become accounting professors in the audit and tax disciplines."

Funding will be provided for up to 30 new candidates each year for four years -- a total of 120 new Ph.D.s in audit and tax.

Applications will be accepted starting on Sept. 9. Further details about the program are available at


Bill Sheridan