AICPA seeks to ease talent ‘crunch’

Dive Brief:

  • The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Department of Labor announced the signing of Liberty Bank, Aon plc and HP Inc to the Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners Program on Nov 14. The companies are the first to particate in the program.
  • The program aims to cultivate highly engaged candidates for employment in financial jobs and expand the pool of qualified professionals. It “will help ensure diverse, skilled teams are ready to fill financial jobs,” Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said in a statement. 
  • The program “establishes a cohort of employees that a finance leader can develop and monitor over time to greatly increase the chance of developing a highly engaged, more skilled, long-term employee,” Tom Hood, executive vice president of business engagement & growth at the AICPA, said in an emailed response to questions.

Dive Insight:

Attracting and retaining talented workers has been a top challenge for CFOs in recent months. A tight labor market has complicated efforts by finance leaders to keep business operations running smoothly amid the highest inflation in nearly four decades.

Under the Finance Business Partners Program, the employer will select and hire apprentices and provide on-the-job training and mentoring. The employer will communicate with the AICPA on trainees’ progress and offer feedback on the effectiveness of the program. 

After completion of training, an apprentice will receive the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation signifiying expertise in various aspects of business, according to the AICPA. The apprentice will also receive a Finance Business Partner certificate from the Labor Department. 

The “learn-while-you-earn” program in finance and accounting is partly aimed at relieving financial pressure on apprentices and expanding the number of qualified job candidates, Hood said.

Attendance at four year colleges has declined, with enrollment last spring slumping 4.1%  compared with spring 2021, Yahoo Finance reported. Also, fewer people graduating with accounting degrees, according the AICPA. 

There is a talent pipeline crunch, a need for new skill sets driven by technological changes and understanding of the advantages of a more diverse workforce,” Hood said. “Apprenticeships facilitate more diverse hiring, which means a more inclusive workplace, and they also provide a recruiting advantage and widen the aperture for a more inclusive talent pool,” he said. 

The program has three well-established companies as its first partners — Liberty Bank, the oldest mutual savings bank in the U.S.; Aon, a multinational insurance company; and HP, a technology company.

“Registered Apprenticeship is a proven model and solid investment for employers seeking to develop a talented and diverse workforce,” Walsh said. The Labor Department has a “continued commitment to expanding Registered Apprenticeship programs in high-growth and emerging industries,” he said.


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