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APBP State Society Resources

Be a part of elevating the future of the accounting profession.

The state society’s guide to the Accounting Pilot & Bridge Project 


The Pathways Commission on Accounting Higher Education was created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the American Accounting Association (AAA) to study the future structure of higher education for the accounting profession. They develop recommendations for educational pathways to engage and retain the strongest possible community of students, academics, practitioners and other knowledgeable leaders in the practice and study of accounting. Seven recommendations were proposed and task forces have been working on implementing them since July 2012. Below is the recommendation that speaks to the advanced accounting course in high schools and subsequent next steps. 

Recommendation number five seeks to “improve the ability to attract high-potential, diverse entrants into the profession.” Action item 5.1.3 aims to “develop a high school accounting class that is eligible for Advanced Placement (AP) credit.”

  • Early 2013, Pathways and College Board discussed process and information needed for creating an AP Accounting course.
  • January 2014, AP task force presented College Board with materials and proposed course. More information was later requested and received.
    • Over 126 colleges and universities agreed to accept AP credit and over 500 high schools attested to capacity and desire to offer an AP Accounting course.
  • March 2015, College Board stated enough information was provided to move to next step.
  • Summer 2015, College Board attended Accounting Pilot & Bridge Project training.
  • In August 2015, as the term of the Pathways Commission came to an end, the advancement of an AP high school accounting course was tasked to the AICPA.    
  • October 2015, College Board informed the AICPA that it put all course development work on hold until 2017 to focus on improving existing offerings for teachers and students. 
  • January 2016, meeting held with expert panel to discuss potential ways to move the initiative forward. Further support of the Accounting Pilot & Bridge Project was agreed upon. 
  • Summer 2016, six sessions were held for seven states, training 71 teachers. 
  • Spring/Summer 2017, the goal is to expand the program to approximately 20 states and continue conversations with College Board regarding acceptance of AP Accounting course. 

Project Summary

The AICPA has partnered with state CPA societies across the country to increase the number of high school educators trained to teach higher-order accounting courses through the Accounting Pilot & Bridge Project (APBP). This initiative addresses the Pathways Commission’s recommendation that the profession improve its ability to attract high-potential, diverse entrants. The course is modeled on a class that Dr. Dan Deines (CPA and creator of the APBP) developed at Kansas State University. Its goal is to provide advanced accounting curriculum, while creating a better experience for high school students to learn and become interested in the study of accounting. To date, more than 1,000 high school teachers in 42 states have been trained through the program and are able to teach the course in their local schools. 

Program Description

High school teachers are introduced to the APBP course model and prepared to implement an advanced accounting course within their schools via a three-day training program. The program is designed to combat accounting being taught as too mechanical, which may discourage otherwise interested students from considering a career in accounting. The curriculum is unique in that it utilizes an integrated approach. Its current iteration can best be described as a combination of financial and managerial accounting, taught at an introductory college level. Teachers are provided with:  

  • 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

AICPA’s Role:

  • Provide $200 stipends for 2017 trainings, as approved by the Foundation
  • Pay for attending trainers and materials
  • Uphold a minimum of 30 teachers in attendance
  • Provide templated co-branded promotional materials
  • Send promotions to Start Here, Go Places. registrants in your state
  • Host registration on the Start Here, Go Places. website
  • Send weekly updates to participating states
  • Send registrant list to you prior to training and upon request
  • Plan meals and other logistics for training
  • Have an AICPA representative in attendance for at least one day of training
  • Provide best practices on implementation from other participating states 
  • Support teachers after training with dedicated resources, additional training and APBP trainers’ network

State Society’s Roles:

  • Help determine ideal date for the program
  • Assist in finding and booking location (i.e., state society office, local university or firm)
  • Help with finding and securing area hotels
  • Provide contact for securing meals for training
  • Sponsor one meal during training
  • Provide logo for web and print (PNG format only)
  • Approve co-branded promotions
  • Send email and/or flyer to high school contacts
  • Contact Department of Education representative and invite them to training
  • Invite appropriate university contacts who may aid in future implementation
  • Attend one day or entire training to experience it for yourself
  • Speak to attendees about your state society, if you so choose
  • Assist the AICPA with meeting the 30 attendee minimum

Moving Forward with APBP Training without AP Approval

AICPA research has found that the first accounting course high school students take greatly impacts their decision to pursue accounting as a major and career. Increasing the reach of the APBP course creates a more formalized path for recruiting highly motivated, talented students into the pipeline by providing them with an advanced accounting education in high school. Through the higher-order coursework, students will receive a more realistic picture of accounting as a potential career choice. Research has also shown that high school career counselors or teachers who support accounting can influence a student’s choice to ultimately pursue accounting as a career. Therefore, teachers will receive continued support and resources from the AICPA and their state societies, via Start Here, Go Places., to assist in their implementation of this course and further engage students in the classroom. 

Additional findings: 

  • College accounting majors were significantly more likely to have taken an accounting class in high school as opposed to non-majors (52% vs. 9%).
  • Nearly 21% of high school students have taken an accounting course in high school, while roughly 23% plan to, contributing to nearly half (44%) of all high school students. 
  • Honors and advanced placement courses receive relatively high levels of interest from high school students: 40% and 39%, respectively. 
  • Students surveyed actually favored honors accounting over AP by 1%.

Goals for APBP training: 

  • Build and collect metrics to further the case for AP Accounting.
  • Prepare more teachers to hit the ground running when/if AP Accounting is approved.
  • Provide higher-order curriculum to help teachers in the classroom.
  • Complete the program with the ability to implement all (or parts) of the training.
  • Provide a better experience for students along with a more realistic picture of the profession.
  • Increase the number of students interested in accounting, therefore contributing to the CPA pipeline.
  • Implement as honors credit, if possible.
  • Continue conversation with the College Board to gain AP approval.
  • Support teachers post training through a dedicated section on Start Here, Go Places.

Trainers and Bios

Meet the people behind the Accounting Pilot & Bridge Project and read their bios on the APBP Team  page

Yvonne Hinson, CPA, CGMA
Academic in Residence

Sonya Guthrie
Senior Manager, Academic & Student Awareness

Amy Merletti
Project Manager, Academic Initiatives

Evan Wolff
Associate Manager, Academic & Student Awareness