AICPA and State CPA Societies Partner to Enhance High School Accounting Education

Accounting Pilot & Bridge Project Increasing Pipeline of Accounting Talent

September 28, 2016

Contact: James Schiavone, 212-596-6119,

NEW YORK (Sept 28, 2016) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is pleased to announce they have partnered with state CPA societies on a program to increase the number of high school educators trained to teach higher order accounting courses across the country. This initiative addresses the Pathways Commission recommendation that the profession improve its ability to attract high-potential, diverse entrants into the profession.

During this school year, the AICPA will be partnering with state CPA societies in a sponsorship capacity in an effort to expand the reach of the Accounting Pilot & Bridge Project (APBP). The initiative was created in 2006 by Dr. Dan Deines, CPA. The course is modeled on a class he developed at Kansas State University with the goal of providing a higher level accounting curriculum for high schools to better prepare their students for a career in accounting. To date, more than 1,000 high school teachers in 42 states have been trained through the program and are ready to teach the course in their local schools.

“It is essential that the accounting profession develop a stronger pipeline linking high caliber students in high school to university accounting programs,” said Dr. Dan Deines. “The success of the APBP has demonstrated that it is an effective model to build this pipeline of students. The AICPA and state CPA societies support for the expansion of the training program will help expand the number of teachers who are able to teach this course and ultimately draw more of the best and brightest students into the profession.”

An AICPA task force comprised of multiple stakeholders, led by former AICPA chairman and Pathways Commissioner Bill Ezzell, met in early 2016 to address the recommendations of the Pathways Commission. The task force recommended promoting and growing the APBP as the most feasible way to attract high-caliber students into the profession while remaining committed to longer term efforts with the College Board to launch an AP Course in Accounting. During the summer of 2016, the AICPA successfully sponsored five three-day training sessions for high school teachers in conjunction with state CPA societies in Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

After participating in the sessions, accounting teachers can integrate the topics covered in the APBP into a course that is substantially more advanced than what is generally offered at the high school level. The curriculum, a combination of financial and managerial accounting, is comparable to what a college student would learn in an entry level accounting course.

“For far too long, many students overlooked accounting as a college major because it was classified as a vocational career track or integrated into a required class such as economics at the high school level,” said Jeannine Birmingham, CPA, CGMA, president of the Alabama Society of CPAs. “We’ve been collaborating with the AICPA, high school teachers, the Alabama Department of Education and college professors to elevate the accounting curriculum in our state. We’re making progress, with an increasing number of high schools offering the APBP course, which in turn strengthens the pipeline of talent coming into the profession.”

AICPA research has found the first accounting course high school students take greatly impacts their decision to pursue accounting as a major and career choice. Increasing the reach of the APBP course creates a more formalized path to recruit highly motivated, talented students into the pipeline by providing them advanced accounting education in high school.

“As someone who has worked in accounting education for the majority of my career, I’ve seen firsthand how important a student’s first accounting class is,” said Dr. Yvonne Hinson, CPA, CGMA, Academic in Residence at the AICPA. “By training teachers to deliver a higher order accounting course at the high school level and continuing to provide them support, we’re increasing their ability to draw talented and motivated students into the accounting profession.”

High school teachers who go through the program will receive support from the AICPA as they work to implement the course in their state, including:

  • Daily lesson plans and assignments
  • Pre-written exams with answer keys
  • A textbook, including teacher’s notes and Power Point presentations
  • Access to online teaching resources
  • Continuous support from  APBP trainers


Providing support for the Accounting Pilot and Bridge Project is the latest initiative in the AICPA’s long history of activities to strengthen the pipeline of talent entering the accounting profession. The AICPA has provided scholarship opportunities for students for more than 45 years, including those offered through the AICPA’s Legacy Scholars Program.

The AICPA has a dedicated website for high school educators and students, Start Here, Go Places., which launched in 2001. The teacher section includes more than 70 classroom resources to further engage students in the study of accounting. For students, there are more than 100 profiles of CPAs across all areas of the accounting profession. The site also includes Bank On It®, an interactive game which puts the accounting principles and lessons learned in the classroom to the test.

More information on the Accounting Pilot and Bridge Project is available online at