AICPA Acquires High School Accounting Curriculum

The American Institute of CPAs has acquired the Accounting Pilot and Bridge Project (APBP) from Dr. Dan Deines, CPA. The APBP, a program that trains high school educators to teach a higher level accounting curriculum, was founded in 2006 by Dr. Deines and is modeled on a class he developed at Kansas State University.

Now under the stewardship of the AICPA, one of the Institute’s primary goals for the program will be increasing its reach. The AICPA will also be providing additional guidance and support to strengthen the community of teachers who have been trained to teach the course. The AICPA had been involved with the APBP as a sponsor, working with state CPA societies to expand the reach of the program. In 2016, the AICPA helped facilitate five training sessions with six state societies. It plans to expand the program this year to 14 trainings, with 20 state societies, reaching over 350 high schools teachers.

“By bringing the Accounting Pilot and Bridge Project in-house at the AICPA, we now have a formalized path to recruit highly motivated, talented high school students into the accounting profession on a national level,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA President and CEO. 

After going through the APBP program, teachers will have the ability to teach 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.

“The level of enthusiasm I’ve seen from teachers interested in going through the training and high school students who are eager to take a more advanced accounting class is a clear sign that this program is effective. AICPA ownership will help grow the program and continue its success well into the future.” said Dr. Dan Deines, CPA. 

Deines will continue to be involved with the program, providing training and guidance to the additional experienced trainers who instruct teachers on how to teach the course. 

Research conducted by the AICPA has demonstrated that the first accounting course high school students take has an out-size impact on their decision to pursue accounting as a major and career choice. And  AICPA research has found that 44 percent of high school students have either taken an accounting course in high school or plan on taking one, meaning the potential impact of the APBP is substantial,

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

  • Support from APBP trainers
  • Access to online teaching resources
  • Daily lesson plans and assignments
  • Pre-written exams with answer keys
  • A textbook, including teacher’s notes and Power Point presentations
  • Scholarships specifically for high school students who took their accounting course from an APBP trained teacher

An AICPA task force comprised of multiple stakeholders, led by former AICPA chairman and Pathways Commissioner Bill Ezzell, met in 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. The acquisition of the APBP is consistent with that strategy. The AICPA Foundation, whose mission is to advance accounting education, funded the acquisition.

The acquisition and oversight of 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 a dedicated website for high school educators and students, www.StartHereGoPlaces.com, 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 www.startheregoplaces.com/apbp


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