March 2002

Curriculum for the Well-Rounded CPA

I read with much satisfaction the January 2002 E3 Generation department, "New Competencies for Accounting Students" (page 68). The expanding scope of prerequisites for the practicing CPA is awesome and I totally concur with the writers.

Many years ago, while serving on the Advisory Board to the Accounting Department of the University of Miami, I advocated, in addition to the subjects suggested by your article, two other categories: proficiency in public speaking and writing, and training in behavioral subjects.

The need for speaking and writing skills is self-evident in dealing with clients, the public, other disciplines, courts, and agencies. Additionally, the CPA must understand her own personality and how it affects interaction with others. This is particularly applicable to areas such as estate and financial planning. Estate planning, for example, should not be an exercise in tax reduction without full consideration of the human beings involved and their family concerns. Whether all children should be treated equally without weighing individual needs is a question the CPA should address, recognizing the reactions of the parents.

Humanities should also be part of an accounting curriculum to ensure that a CPA candidate is a "total" person and not just a number-cruncher.

I enjoyed my 46 years as a practitioner and would hope that the accounting student of today is well aware of the additional demands in education and worldliness that the twenty-first century requires of tomorrow's CPA.

Stanley L. Cohen Aventura, Fl.


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