News & Publications

    The Pathways Commission 

    The Commission on Accounting Higher Education: Pathways to a Profession

    Charting a National Strategy for the Next Generation of Accountants

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession (ACAP) identified in its October 2008 report many contemporary forces affecting human capital requirements for the broader accounting profession. Among its findings, ACAP made several recommendations including the importance for the AAA and the AICPA to form a Commission to study the future structure and content of accounting education. The Pathways Commission’s purpose is to fulfill the goals of that recommendation and to consider the other ACAP human capital recommendations. The Commission will identify, explore and establish a national higher education strategy for the accounting profession broadly defined. The Commission’s activities also will be guided by the social purpose of accounting to consider the information right of capital providers, particularly individuals who are the core source of property at risk in the marketplace, as well the economic purpose of accounting, to provide timely information to those who are the decision makers employing and directing the use of such resources.

    The Pathways Commission, a joint project of the American Accounting Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, is seeking public comment and recommendations on future paths of higher education for the accounting profession by Jan. 5.

    “For the first time in history we have assembled all the key players in accounting education; high schools, community colleges, universities, corporations, regulators and CPA firms. Everybody is at the table,” said Bruce Behn, the Ergen Professor of Business at the University of Tennessee and chair of the Pathways Commission.

    “What we are looking for is input on how we prepare students to become accounting professionals in a modern marketplace. We are interested in strategic questions: How do we attract diverse talent and retain people through their career paths? What should the educational pathways be for accounting? What are those pathways now and what should they look like in the future?” Behn said. 

    The Commission will hold a public meeting in Atlanta, Ga., on February 26, 2011 to hear and evaluate thoughts and ideas submitted by interested parties individuals and organizations. Information on submitting comments can be obtained by contacting  Barbara Brady at or going to Two-page summaries of submitted comments are requested.

    The Commission’s goal is to generate ongoing engagement with the broad community in the accounting education process, with priority on involving perspectives from across the “supply chain” of the path through education to practice.  The Commission was formed in response to a recommendation by the Human Capital Subcommittee of the U.S. Treasury Advisory Committee on the Audit Profession. Forces influencing accounting education include a shortage of qualified teachers with accounting doctorates, a need for rapid revisions to accounting curricula to keep pace with changes in business, university budget constraints that threaten to make the cost of education prohibitive, and a need for training in specialized areas to meet the profession’s demands.

    In addition to Behn, Members of the Pathways Commission are:

    ·         William Ezzell, national managing partner – legislative and regulatory relations, Deloitte LLP

    ·         Leslie Murphy, president and CEO, Murphy Consulting, Inc.

    ·         Judy Rayburn, chair, department of accounting, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

    ·         Jerry Strawser, dean and KPMG chair in accounting, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University

    ·         Melvin Stith, dean, Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University

    The Commission’s first meeting was held in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 15-17.

    For more information, please visit

    Copyright © 2006-2015 American Institute of CPAs.