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EY makes big investment in accounting profession

June 14, 2024

The U.S. branch of EY announced an investment of $1 billion over three years in talent and technology, including an increase in early-career compensation, to transform accountants' experience and improve the profession's attractiveness.

The investment will target several areas, according to an EY news release:

* Early-career compensation;

* AI-enabled tax and audit processes;

* Pathways to CPA licensure;

* A new "360 Careers" experience; and

* Enhanced well-being benefits.

"Investors and global capital markets depend on a thriving accounting profession," Ginnie Carlier, EY Americas vice chair–Talent, said in a news release. "Our goal is to make EY US the most preferred place to launch an audit or tax career and become a springboard for future business leaders — for our own organization and leading public and private enterprises."

The announcement by EY comes a month after the National Pipeline Advisory Group (NPAG) outlined six broad strategies for improving talent acquisition and retention in the accounting profession, including a focus on enhancing the employee experience.

"Truly reversing the long-term accounting enrollment trends depends on the creation of a more attractive employee experience, including starting salaries that are competitive with other majors and professions vying for top talent," the NPAG report said.

Details of other aspects of the EY announcement include:

Compensation. EY said it will increase early-career pay as part of a total rewards package that values the CPA career path, with the goal of placing the profession and accounting degree on par with other business majors.

The recent NPAG report found that the higher the potential economic return to students, the more likely they are to invest in that career field.

"By increasing the starting salaries of CPA-track professionals to market-leading compensation levels, we are continuing to recognize the trust placed in the profession, reward the valuable skills accountants bring, and ensure a strong pipeline of CPAs for generations," Dante D'Egidio, EY Americas vice chair–Assurance, said in the news release.

AI-enabled tax and audit processes. AI-powered capabilities are being built into EY's core audit platform tools to enhance audit quality, improve productivity, support risk assessment, and deliver better business insights, the release said.

"To be successful in a rapidly evolving landscape, professionals need to develop a diverse set of skills, including technological proficiency and an understanding of the regulatory environment," said Kevin Flynn, EY Americas vice chair–Tax. "Our focus on the intersection of technology and talent provides our people with opportunities for continuous learning, which ultimately benefits our clients."

Pathways to CPA licensure. The release mentioned the EY Career Path Accelerator as a way to help remove barriers to entry and create a growing pool of future CPAs.

360 Careers experience. Beginning in 2025, according to EY, the program will give campus recruits the essential skills "to grow as leaders …, forge their paths as entrepreneurs, or advance to prominent C-suite positions later in their careers."

Enhanced well-being benefits. Dedicated coaching and well-being assistance will be provided for audit and tax teams "during periods of peak performance."

[Journal of Accountancy]

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