The Accounting Podcast

This week we dive into the pipeline shortage and the need for more accounting candidates, and discuss Intuit's groundbreaking use of AI in TurboTax and its potential impact on accounting professionals. Guest Jack Castonguay sheds light on FASB's recent announcement on accounting standards for digital assets and how it affects companies holding crypto assets. We also explore positive aspects of the accounting profession and address the need for critical changes like higher salaries and re-evaluating the audit process.

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  • (00:47) - Welcome Jack Castonguay to the show
  • (02:00) - Jack is quoted: "Shrinking CPA Pipeline Fuels Calls to Relay Education Mandate"
  • (04:18) - Intuit introduces 'Intuit Assist' an AI chatbot for tax
  • (13:20) - The new AI in QuickBooks is ... less impressive
  • (15:21) - 6 in 10 Americans live paycheck to paycheck
  • (15:51) - FASB announcement on accounting standards for digital assets
  • (18:12) - Listener voicemail: Accounting teaches you to be a BS detector
  • (22:09) - Listener voicemail: Does the accounting profession cover too much?
  • (30:40) - Why more people should become accountants
  • (33:23) - The problem with ELE programs to reach 150
  • (38:27) - ADP study shows why and when people change jobs
  • (41:10) - How can starting salaries increase in accounting?
  • (46:33) - Why accounting students should double major
  • (53:01) - Checking back in on the live chat with questions
  • (58:48) - We get a one-star review!

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Show Notes
Intuit reveals new A.I. assistant after major investment
Intuit Assist - Your AI Accounting Assistant   
Intuit Mailchimp Launches New Global Campaign to Help Marketers Untangle Their Clustomer Problem
Introducing Intuit Assist: The Generative AI-Powered Financial Assistant for Small Businesses and Consumers
Promoting an employee may lead them to leave
Transformative Tax Preparation: Gen-AI Powered Intuit Apollo
Intuit Assist Poised To Boost Competitive Moat, Gets A Price Target Boost From Analysts
Intuit cut hundreds of jobs and spent at least $20 billion in a massive bet on AI. Today the company is revealing its new virtual assistant
Google to charge big businesses $30 per user per month for AI in Gmail and work apps

Meet our guest, Jack Castonguay

Get in Touch
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The full transcript for this episode is available by clicking on the Transcript tab at the top of this page

Creators & Guests

Blake Oliver
Founder and CEO of Earmark CPE
David Leary
President and Founder, Sombrero Apps Company
Jack Castonguay
Jack Castonguay, PhD, CPA is an assistant professor of accounting at Hofstra University and vice president of strategic content development at Surgent Accounting and Financial Education. He has a BBA and MS in accounting from James Madison University and a PhD in accounting from the University of Tennessee. He holds an active CPA licensce in VA and NY. He has published articles in The CPA Journal, Strategic Finance, and Accounting Perspectives and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and CFO Dive. Jack lives in NYC with his two dogs, Gatsby and Mr. Feeny.

What is The Accounting Podcast?

The Accounting Podcast (formerly the Cloud Accounting Podcast) is the world's #1 accounting, bookkeeping, and tax podcast! Join us weekly for a roundup of accounting news, analysis, and interviews. Plus, earn free NASBA-approved CPE credits for listening with the Earmark app. Learn more at

Attention: This is a machine-generated transcript. As such, there may be spelling, grammar, and accuracy errors throughout. Thank you for your understanding!

Jack Castonguay: [00:00:04] The firms have been ignoring economic theory for the past two decades, as in like, if you like, it's basic supply and demand. Right way of saying that's polite. I was being polite for for the longest time. They had an ample supply so they could pay them less. Right. And now they're still getting paid less, but now they don't have the ample supply. So they're jumping and they can't backfill. So economic theory would tell you, I'm going to start paying them more. Right. And they're really not like the way to keep them is just increase salaries. Right? I mean, it is sometimes obvious answers are obvious. And if you just pay them more, then they won't want to jump.

David Leary: [00:00:40] Coming to you weekly from the OnPay Recording Studio.

Blake Oliver: [00:00:48] Hello and welcome to the show. I'm Blake Oliver.

David Leary: [00:00:51] I'm David Leary.

Blake Oliver: [00:00:52] And joining us today is Jack Castonguay. How are you doing, Jack? I'm doing.

Jack Castonguay: [00:00:56] Great. How are you both doing?

Blake Oliver: [00:00:58] Really good. What was that?

David Leary: [00:01:00] David said. Thanks for joining us.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:02] Yeah. Jack is an assistant professor at Hofstra University, vice president of Strategic Content Development at Sergant. And I think those are your two main gigs right now, is that right, Jack?

Jack Castonguay: [00:01:13] Those are the two main gigs, yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:16] And how do you split your time?

Jack Castonguay: [00:01:18] Um, luckily I teach night classes and there's seven days a week, so, you know, Saturday and Sundays are still pretty busy for me, too.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:25] So basically, two full time jobs. It sounds like.

Jack Castonguay: [00:01:27] Two full time jobs. Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:28] Yeah, well, you know, this is accounting. So you're preparing your students for the future. Yeah. When they enter, when they enter.

Jack Castonguay: [00:01:37] There's some overlap, right? You know, a lot of what I'm teaching and what I'm doing at Sergent, those kind of definitely connect together.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:43] Well, I'm so happy that we booked you on the show this week because I was going through my newsfeeds and I saw a story by Amanda Icon on Bloomberg. The headline is Shrinking the Pipeline Fuels Calls to Relax Education Mandate. And you're quoted in here. Congrats for getting quoted in a Bloomberg article. Jack, do you want to give us the gist of this story and your your feelings about what Amanda wrote about here?

Jack Castonguay: [00:02:12] Sure. The gist of the story. Since 2016, new candidates have fallen almost every year. I think every year about one from a height of 46,000 to now, we're down to about 30,000 new candidates. And if you look at the reasons why, I think there's been some studies by the Illinois State Society, the Caq, two of the biggest barriers to people entering accounting and wanting to become CPAs are, well, the one 50 hours which you all have talked about on the show a good amount. And starting salaries. Right. I think too often we try to say it's one or the other, but it's two different pipeline issues. Right. I think I think the 150 keeps people from becoming accountants to begin with because you already have to have that extra year. And then once you start down the accounting path, so once you're like, okay, I'm actually committed to doing the 150, then you realize, you know, salaries have been almost flat in real terms. I'm sorry, flat in nominal terms, probably negative in real terms over a decade, you know, and that creates some disincentives to wanting to carry on through with the CPA.

Blake Oliver: [00:03:10] Mhm Yep. And and what are you seeing with your students Like how's the pipeline at your college?

Jack Castonguay: [00:03:19] Um, most colleges and universities accounting enrollments are down across the board and unfortunately that's also twofold. So part of it is some of the pipeline issues, right? The salaries, the 150, the CPA exam with a 50% pass rate, give or take. But also part of that is there's a New York Times article this past week where just college enrollments total are down from a height of like 18,000,000 in 2016, about 15 million in change now. And we haven't even hit the so-called enrollment cliff from all the people who didn't have kids around the 0809 financial crisis. So we're we're down. But I think it's it's both micro and macro issues that are driving that.

Blake Oliver: [00:04:00] Well and that brings us to technology. And I we talk on the show a lot about how we can't solve the pipeline crisis by just putting more butts in seats alone. We're going to have to use technology. And we saw a very interesting development on that front from Intuit this week. David, you attended the what was it called? It was like a live event. They did basically, it was a webinar and watched the whole thing and have some thoughts on it. You also brought a clip to the show. Do you want to talk first and then I'll play the clip. Or do you want. Yeah, I.

David Leary: [00:04:32] Mean, I could I could talk for a bit and we could at a high level. So Intuit obviously is this is their big announcement. We've talked okay. We're going to see some announcement from Intuit and they've been leading up to this on previous episodes. We've been talking about this. And I think on the surface the arguments are great because I think this video and their press that they put out this week is geared at the street. It's geared at Wall Street, it's not geared at end users, it's not geared at us who are kind of into this stuff. It's really geared at impressing Wall Street. And the argument comes out really great, right? Intuit says they have 60. Pb Is that per flops or something? Petaflops of data right 500,000 customer and financial attributes per small business 500,000 per small business 60,000 tax and financial attributes per consumer. 20 billion transactions imported annually. 810 customer driven interactions a year. 65 billion machine learning predictions a day. 25 million conversations processed. 2 million models running in production a day, 900 AI and machine learning patents. Right.

David Leary: [00:05:34] So all the things stacked there, right? It's super important. Right. But what I noticed, they didn't get the uptick in their stock bump the way Microsoft and Google did when they announced their because Microsoft, hey, we're going to add this to office and we're going to charge more for it. And they got the bump. Google said they're going to charge 20 bucks more or whatever per user for a Google office or Google Apps. Right. And they got a bump in their stock price Intuit. In the press did not say they were going to charge more for this. Maybe that's why it didn't get the the bump in price. But obviously it feels like the Street wasn't as impressed. Me, myself, I kind of stepping back, you know, I'm thinking we're still in QuickBooks Online futzing with bank feeds that are not the best and perfect in your They're stupid sometimes. And then, I mean, you want to talk about the OCR of bills and receipts that are built in that doesn't work very well. So all these things are AI driven, Right, right.

Blake Oliver: [00:06:28] So so let's watch this clip you brought and see if that adds any clarity for our listeners and our viewers as to what exactly Intuit's doing here.

David Leary: [00:06:36] Yeah, So the clip is part of the it was like a 45 minute presentation. And this is just the TurboTax clip, which actually I think is the only part I was impressed with or I think really has legs, if that makes sense.

Blake Oliver: [00:06:47] Let's take a look.

TurboTax Clip: [00:06:49] Let's take a look at Intuit Assist in TurboTax. Starting on Intuit Assist will be your shortcut to getting fast and reliable answers to questions about getting started. Like How long does it take? Intuit Assist will then guide you into starting your taxes. In this case, with live full service, Intuit Assist will welcome you with an onboarding experience to get to know you. It will help you get started by uploading, reading and interpreting common tax forms like your W-2 and 1040. So what.

Blake Oliver: [00:07:21] We just saw on the screen there is the user dragging documents from their desktop onto the screen, uploading the docs and now TurboTax, or what are they calling this Intuit.

David Leary: [00:07:33] Assistive assist to assist.

Blake Oliver: [00:07:35] Intuit. Assist is going to interpret based.

TurboTax Clip: [00:07:38] On the data you shared. Intuit Assist will create a personalized checklist of the remaining documents needed. It will catch that you received company stock and message you to confirm. Then it will inform you that this sale requires you to upload a 1099 B and give you clear direction on how to find that form. And then it will add it to your personalized checklist. Intuit Assist will guide you to upload the remaining documents reading, extracting, and applying the data to your return. At this point, Intuit Assist will activate the gateway to your tax expert who will prepare and file your return. You say it matches you.

David Leary: [00:08:13] Right there like we've been talking about this, right? We're like we've we've been saying, hey, somebody's going to take the tax organizer and get it into ChatGPT in a way so you don't even have to have your your your tax team interact with the clients until every document is done and uploaded. And obviously, this could be movie magic, but like this is the real use case. Some of the other ones are ridiculous. Some of the other ones were like pushing credit cards on people and pushing business loans on people. Like I don't know how that's powering prosperity into it. It's questionable at best, but like this really feels like. The dream, right? Yes. You're the tax organizer has gone away.

Jack Castonguay: [00:08:52] Is it? But is this that different from their old interview view when it was like, did you have a W-2 put it here? Did you get stock from your company? Put it here.

Blake Oliver: [00:09:01] So if they do it right, this is going to be better than that because the interview tool made you go through every single possible question. This is only asking you for the documents that it knows you need, just like a human would. Got it. So and for our listeners who are not seeing what's on the screen, all of this is happening in a chat based flow where it asks you for some documents to start. You upload those and then it asks you for more documents based on what you uploaded and can ask you questions and intelligently interact. And yeah, this could mean for a firm. If a firm had a tool like this, this could reduce the amount of work significantly to get that return done, because I feel like a lot of the work is just getting documents right and not having what you need. And if you had everything you needed when you sat down to do that return, it would be a lot faster. I don't know how much I'd be curious if our listeners could divide that up, right? If you're tracking your time, how much of your time is just collecting versus actually processing and producing the return? I'd be really curious to know. I bet it's a lot because it was in the in the world of bookkeeping where, you know, I built my firm. We're halfway through the video. I'll keep I'll keep playing it.

TurboTax Clip: [00:10:13] With Paul, a tax expert who can take extra care and explaining topics important to you. Once Paul has completed your tax return, he's ready to review it with you. During the video call, Paul walks through and explains the details of your return. He gives you time to get any open questions answered and lets you know that you can access your refund up to five days early through a Credit Karma Money account. And when you're confident Paul will sign and file for you. Intuit Assist uses the data it's collected to customize your tax dashboard. It will help streamline your tax prep and remove unnecessary questions as it learns more and more about you As you move through filing, you may occasionally miss or skip entering certain data. Intuit Assist will constantly check your progress and keep you on track by surfacing and resolving those issues on the spot. That means you're less likely to make any mistakes. Now let's get you the best tax breaks. Intuit Assist will search hundreds of deductions and credits to surface the ones that you might qualify for. As you continue Intuit Assist will anticipate where you're likely to have questions and proactively surface insights in the tax prep experience at the right time. And it doesn't stop there if you.

David Leary: [00:11:26] Pause that right there. So think as our listeners can't see this, the UI is different. So it's a different piece of UI where it's showing a graph and it's scrolling through the different tax deductions, a lot of animation and eye candy on the screen. But I think that's one of the things Intuit brought up is they're going to surface AI in the format that's it's best displayed in at the time. It's not always going to be the stereotypical ChatGPT chat box type interface. So that's something that you can't really see unless you see the video.

TurboTax Clip: [00:11:57] It's ready to show the math and answer follow up questions every step of the way. This builds confidence as Intuit assists talks to you in a way that a human would, making you feel safe and confident as if you were sitting across the table from someone once you complete tax prep. Intuit Assist will summarize and surface the most important elements impacting your tax return from highlighting significant increases in income to unpacking state taxes. To recapping all of your tax breaks and to how much you'll get. Or in this case, oh, if you need that extra assurance to put you at ease. You can connect to a tax expert with one click. We know that owing money makes many lose confidence. This combination of Intuit, assist and human experts is so powerful you'll be more confident in your tax outcome than you've ever been. That means total and complete confidence like you've never felt before when signing and filing your return. This is the new way of doing taxes.

Blake Oliver: [00:12:58] All right, that's it. That's Intuit Assist for TurboTax. We also saw examples of Intuit Assist in QuickBooks. Not quite as impressive. The main automation that was demonstrated was drafting invoice reminders customized. Now that's that's nice, right? Being able to customize it for your client with AI, that's kind of neat. But like this is something we already have automated. There's add ons that do this. It's not like and honestly, yeah, I wasn't that impressed with that. There was also the cash flow forecasting demonstrated, which to me has a lot of promise. But I'm a little skeptical because if it's just going off on based on bills and invoices you've entered in the system, you know, there's only so much that people have been.

David Leary: [00:13:47] Attacking this for a decade. Yeah, AI is not the thing that's going to push it over the edge. It's the data that has to exist or it can't do the cash flow. Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:13:54] So the thing I want to see is I want to see the AI automating repetitive tasks. Like I want to be able to say, Hey, recategorize all transactions in this account to this account for this period or, you know, find all the discrepancies like that in my accounts for this month and, you know, help me reconcile and like find the error, that sort of thing. I would be really impressed to see that. Yeah.

David Leary: [00:14:16] Some some part of this feels like this was very UI and marketing brand brand driven because they basically took all because this is all existed. There's the QuickBooks assistant TurboTax had their thing, MailChimp has theirs and then basically they just rebranded it to all to look, smell and taste the same. But I don't think if I'm in my QuickBooks assistant, I can ask a question and it's going to use my TurboTax data. I don't think things are connected under the covers yet. That would be nice one day. Just it's truly an assistant. No matter what you're doing, then it becomes real revolutionary. But yeah, the a lot of the use cases were like, Go get this credit card. I was like, This is a horrible demonstration.

Blake Oliver: [00:14:53] Help me, help me, help me apply for a new credit card like I helping Americans get more in debt than ever before. That's what we need. And actually, I have an article in my stack on how 6 in 10 Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. So is that really what we need? Is more debt?

Jack Castonguay: [00:15:13] I mean, doesn't intuit also own rocket mortgage? If I remember correctly?

Jack Castonguay: [00:15:17] Yes.

David Leary: [00:15:18] Not anymore. Oh, they don't know. Still that right before the the bust. Got it. It has really good timing on things like literally a month before the 2008 crash. Like the really smart timing.

Blake Oliver: [00:15:33] All right. Well, Jack, I want to talk to you about blockchain. I know you've published research on it. You've you've been working on it for a while. And we had some news about accounting standards and digital assets. What's the big announcement from FASB?

Jack Castonguay: [00:15:49] So the big announcement from FASB is if you're a company that actually holds crypto assets, you're going to get to carry them at fair value. Currently, it's under the impairment model, which means as soon as it falls a cent, you're technically have to mark it down. Every time it falls, you have to mark it down, but you can never mark it back up. So, you know, if you bought crypto, let's say at the height, you know, when it got up to what, when Bitcoin was around like 60,000. If it fell down to ten, you had to take that $50,000 hit. And if it goes back to 60, you had to still hold it at ten. So now they are completely wiping that standard and they're saying it's still going to be an intangible asset because by definition you can't touch it, which makes sense. But now it's going to be carried at fair value and you also have to separate it from your other intangibles. So you can't lump it in with patents or franchise agreements or anything like that. So if you're an investor, you get a lot more information than you're getting currently from companies right now.

Blake Oliver: [00:16:42] And this is proposed, right? Do we have any idea when it will actually go into effect?

Jack Castonguay: [00:16:46] So the FASB voted on it. They voted to push it to a final. We are expecting the final ASU, the accounting standards update probably by the end of the year. A reasonable it'll go into effect. I want to say the plan date on the initial draft was end of the year 2024. So companies will have a year to get this ready.

Blake Oliver: [00:17:07] Do you think this will encourage more companies to hold Bitcoin or Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies?

Jack Castonguay: [00:17:13] Personally, no. I don't think that's going to change it. I think you can make an argument either way. Companies are actually pushing for the standard, which makes sense because they want to take the gains too. But also a lot of companies don't like volatility and crypto is highly volatile, like most companies that technically accept it as payment. And what they do is the second they get it, they sell it, right? So they essentially transact at that price. So they don't really hold it anyways. I think if you're a true believer like Tesla, MicroStrategy, some of those companies, then yeah, you actually want the standard because you want to take advantage of it because you think it's going to keep going up. But honestly, I think for most companies, this doesn't change your portfolio holdings one iota.

Blake Oliver: [00:17:54] So, David, we got some listener mail. I want to play a couple of voicemails and we also got like some messages, like, I think this would be a good time to take a listen. So and I think I think one of these at least one of these is on 150, if not both. Yeah.

David Leary: [00:18:13] We're going to bring that up. I did get a LinkedIn message from somebody going back to last week's episode. They said he filled out his one of his requirements with a class called Native American Flute.

Blake Oliver: [00:18:24] Oh, for his extra 30 semester hours.

David Leary: [00:18:26] Yeah. Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:18:27] Native American flute. That's great. Somebody on my LinkedIn post accounting profession, someone on my LinkedIn post also did pickleball for credit. I couldn't believe that you can get credit for pickleball. I guess if you can get credit for beginning Walk slash run, which was the impetus for that post. A listener got credit for beginning walk slash run then. Pickleball is fair too, although arguably you get less exercise in pickleball than you do walking or running-

Jack Castonguay: [00:18:55] if it helps, I got credit for exploring the night sky when I was in undergrad.

Blake Oliver: [00:19:02] Well, you know, you never know when constellations might come in handy for pointing you in the right direction with your career, Right, Jack?

Jack Castonguay: [00:19:09] Exactly. All right.

Blake Oliver: [00:19:10] Let's take a listen to some of these listener messages. Got it. And by the way, if you want to send us a voicemail, you can record it on your phone as a voice memo and email it to us at the accounting podcast at earmarked me.

Katie: [00:19:24] Hi, Blake and David. My name is Katie Eyre and I'm a CPA tax accountant in sole practice out in Arroyo Grande, California. And I'm calling regarding the teacher who gave such a bad presentation of what it was to be an accountant to that poor high school student who sounds like a really ambitious, focused young person. What I would tell accounting students and what I do tell accounting students when I go in and talk at the junior college level is accounting teaches you what is really happening behind the scenes. It helps you understand the hidden mechanics of how business decisions get made. And this is key. And I think this would really appeal to high schoolers. My third point is it builds your awareness of when people are BSing you as an advertising in the media, in what you see happening in businesses in your own town, or as you move through life in your own transactions. And I think that ability to up your BS detector is a huge factor of being an accountant and is something that high school students would or should at least be interested in hearing about the profession. Thanks very much. Love the show.

Blake Oliver: [00:20:34] Awesome. Thanks for that message. I love that BS detector. I mean that that could be the alternative title for an auditor, you know, BS detector. Think about it that way. Here's another message that we got just this morning.

Torre: [00:20:46] Hey, Blake and David, this is Tori Cannavo from Irvine, California. I'm a CPA at a local tax. Firm and love the show. I've been listening a long time. I'm listening to the recent episode How to Improve the Image of Accounting. And you guys right at the end are talking about just the issues with the profession, specifically the fact that cash practices are now staffed with less than 50% of CPAs. And then you're talking about the distinctions of tax professionals versus audit professionals. And I think you guys are hitting on the fundamental issue in our industry is the CPA is just too wide. It's trying to address too many different aspects of our industry. And I mean, if I were if I were made Emperor of accounting, I'd probably want to split this up to where you have a lower level designation, something like Certified Accountant. You know, you could think of this in terms of how it is in the doctor world. You've got general practitioners and then you've got the specific niche things like surgeon surgeons and different specialties. And so something like that where certified accountant means you, you understand the fundamentals of double entry accounting, which really is the foundation of our of our industry. You need to know how accounting works and then branch out from there. So taxation would be a specialty, audit would be a specialty. You could have all of these different specialties that are higher level designations that require additional training and testing, but everyone would would fundamentally be at the basic level, understanding the basics of accounting. And I think we're missing that. And I see a lot of that in small business bookkeeping world, just a lack of understanding of the basics of double entry and what causes assets to go up and what causes liabilities to go down and things like that. People don't understand just just the basics. So anyway, that's what I was thinking. I love the show. Love what you guys do. Thanks so much.

Blake Oliver: [00:22:50] So, Jack, as a professional educator, this is perfect for you. What do you think about that?

Jack Castonguay: [00:22:55] I think we kind of have that. I think if you have an accounting degree, like the way he just described his certified accountant, not certified public accountant. Certified accountant. That's an accounting degree, right? If you make it through an accounting program and you don't know how assets go up or how they're organized. I'm going to question that accounting program. I promise all of my students at Hofstra know how to do that. So I think we have that to a degree. I think on the tax side, we also kind of have that like you have the right and the you don't need an undergrad degree. You can I think the rule is you have to be 18 and that's the limit for you to be able to apply as an. So we kind of have it on the tax side. If you have an accounting degree that gives it to you. I understand what he's trying to say because I do think if you take like the CPA exam, for example, and like I know you and I've gone back and forth on some of the stuff, it is trying to be everything, right? I mean, you look yeah. They got rid of as a section but they kept all the content right. They put economics in an audit, they put cost accounting in a bar. So they took all those concepts and kept them. And we keep adding more and more and more to the exam and what accountants need to know, and we never take anything away. So I do kind of agree that we do try and ask a little bit of everything from everyone, and that may not be the best approach, but I think we have other indicators without making another test, taking opportunity or a certification. I tend to be pro student and want stuff to be cheaper for them. So I wouldn't want to make something that's also just another costly layer for them to have to get hired.

Blake Oliver: [00:24:19] Yeah, I think I got a message from a listener who was saying that they specialize in tax and they see a lot of CPAs come out of school like they don't know how to do a tax return properly and you only have to take one tax course in school. And yet most CPAs are known in the public as specializing in tax. And that's a strange situation where we have the public associates, the CPA, very strongly with tax expertise, but the education is very minimal and we spend all this time on accounting standards and GAAP and audit technique. But most CPAs don't end up working in either of those fields, at least when it comes to the public.

Jack Castonguay: [00:25:02] Yeah, I mean, I think that's part of our image problem too, though, right? Because when people hear the word accountant, they think text, right? Yeah. You know, I have my PhD and I'm pretty sure my dad still thinks I'm busy in January and February because I do taxes, right? And I don't do my own taxes. So I think that that is part of the image problem when when they see us as accountants, they think tax. They don't actually think all the other things we're actually most of the people go into you know, if you look at master's in taxation programs, they're down 50% across the country. So there's 50% less maxers in tax programs over the last decade, fewer and fewer students are going into tax. The tax is actually a pretty it's such a small part of the curriculum because it's actually a small part of accountants. But I do think it does hurt us when everyone just thinks, Oh great, the accountants are the people that make me, make me pay the government, right? So that definitely doesn't help our image any-

Blake Oliver: [00:25:53] And maybe that'll just change naturally. Going back to what we saw with Intuit Assist, if TurboTax can figure out how to do most small business taxes with AI, which it seems like that's where they're heading. If it's anything like the individual TurboTax, we're going to see most small businesses, the majority will be filing with AI and not a human CPA. So that could assist this image change because the next generation of CPAs aren't going to be doing taxes. They'll be doing actual accounting. Yep. Which is exciting, right? Like we are certified public accountants, not certified public tax preparers, right?

Jack Castonguay: [00:26:31] Yeah. No, I mean, I think that'll definitely help, though, because, you know, from the image, I do think that's one of the images that hurts us. Right. Everyone just thinks taxes and, you know, that's such a small portion of what we actually do as a profession.

Blake Oliver: [00:26:43] Hey, thanks, everyone who has joined us live. If you want to ask a question of me or David or Jack, feel free to put that in the comments on YouTube or LinkedIn or wherever you are watching us Stream. I've got some more listener feedback. David So I'm just going to keep plowing through here. This is from Roger on Instagram. Love these clips and podcast. I'm a retired Marine and decided to learn a new trade that I can do with with my body being battered. Hence accounting. October will be the conclusion of my BBA and starting my Masters Texas and its 150 hours. Your podcast helped me get a quicker look inside the profession. I missed out on audit and so I am focusing on small businesses and cash basis. Thanks, guys. Keep the humor coming. Well, thanks, Roger. Thank you for your service. And it's so great that we're going to have you in the profession. Keep at it. Don't give up.

David Leary: [00:27:40] We gained one. We gained one.

Blake Oliver: [00:27:41] We gained one [CROSSTALK]

Jack Castonguay: [00:27:46] Roger has some good news, too, then, because Texas just announced that you can sit for the exam now with 120 their. Yes. They were one of the last holdouts not allowing people to sit till 150.

Blake Oliver: [00:27:55] Fantastic. Here is a message from Taylor. Taylor says, I really enjoy the podcast as an accounting senior in college. I notice you guys talk a lot about the pipeline shortage problem and what to do about it, but a lot of the stuff you guys talk about highlights the negative parts of the career. Could I suggest making more episodes talking about what you enjoy about your job? I think you both have a platform and should try to use it to get more people interested and do accounting in a positive light. Overall, Love the content and please keep it up. So Jack, we're having you on the show to also talk about why accountants should become accountants, why students should want to major in accounting and become accountants. What are the bright spots in the profession in your mind?

Jack Castonguay: [00:28:38] I think the biggest bright spot that we don't highlight enough is, I mean, Blake, you have your own business here. You get a degree in accounting, it puts you on your path to starting your own business way earlier than it does in a lot of other fields, right? You know, you get, let's call it three, four at most five years under your belt and you can actually go out and start getting your own clients, whether it's on the tax side, whether it's on the consulting side, whether it's on the bookkeeping prep side, it gives you an opportunity to start your own business. I mean, let's do some quick math here. If you get the 150, you're 26, 27, 28, you can start your own business. And there's not too many other paths that we can do that. So that's definitely on the bright side. And to I think it gives you so many more opportunities so you get that degree. You know, we know most people don't go through the partner track. When I was at PwC, I think the estimates were it was about 2% of new hires make it all the way to partner. I would guess it's probably lower than that now because the turnover rates have actually increased over the years. So they know you're not going to be partner and you get to see businesses like no one else does. And that gives you an opportunity to go into another business, a whole other line. You know, the average person changes careers three times, not jobs. So, you know, not going to work from to go to work for now, they change careers three times and I think those opportunities are way more for you in our field than they are relative to some of the other fields.

Blake Oliver: [00:29:51] Yeah, I am so glad that I have accounting knowledge because all the financial stuff that I have to do, owning my own business is something like I understand, you know, we got a comment here in the live stream from a geek. The association with taxes is that much more difficult to break in states that don't allow you to use the title accountant unless you have the CPA designation. And that's Texas is one of those states states. So are we. You can't it's it's always interesting to me. It's fascinating to me that Texas is the state that is the strongest in terms of protecting the word accountant. You would think it would be a state like California or New York. That would.

Jack Castonguay: [00:30:31] Be where I go first. Yeah, absolutely.

Blake Oliver: [00:30:32] Right? Right. It's a state like you think regulation. You think those states you don't think of red state like Texas?

Jack Castonguay: [00:30:38] No.

Blake Oliver: [00:30:38] So here's a message from Eric. Eric said, I am an enrolled agent and certified financial planner. I work in wealth management as a tax specialist at a larger firm helping clients with tax planning strategies. I want to become a CPA so very much. But the 150 credit hours is really standing in my way. I would be absolutely willing to study for the exams and I have a significant experience in tax preparation, tax planning and so on. I love how you guys always talk about the changes that need to be made to bring a more varied group of CPAs into the profession. Just throwing my voice out there as another angle to it. You guys have an awesome podcast and I always listen even though I don't get IRS from it. Keep up the awesome work. Actually, you can. Well, no, you can't get IRS for our show because it has to be federal tax focus the whole episode and we're never all federal tax but you can get IRS for the federal tax updates podcast. Check that one out and listen to that show as well. Um, but so that's an interesting message, right? So this is Eric is an enrolled agent and CFP but can't become a CPA even though Eric is super strong in taxes and it's because Eric would have to go back and get those extra 30 semester hours and that's somebody who could be joining our profession, you know, or joining the CPA Club. I just doesn't make sense to me.

Jack Castonguay: [00:32:04] Is this a way.

Jack Castonguay: [00:32:04] To bring up the program that Eric can go take?

Blake Oliver: [00:32:07] Let's tell us about Eli. What's that stand for?

Jack Castonguay: [00:32:10] I'm actually trying to think. Extended learning engagement, or I may be blanking on what exactly stands for.

David Leary: [00:32:17] It's.

Jack Castonguay: [00:32:18] You got it, David.

David Leary: [00:32:19] I knew it. I knew it when they launched it. Yes. It's experience. Experience and learning, right? Yeah. Okay.

Jack Castonguay: [00:32:26] There we go.

Blake Oliver: [00:32:27] We'll figure it out. But tell us what it is.

Jack Castonguay: [00:32:29] Yeah, just.

Jack Castonguay: [00:32:30] Let's just call it and go from there. So that's a program that the AICPA is sponsoring with Tulane University. They want to add other universities to where if you already have 120 and the 30 accounting credits, you can take an extra 30 credits through this program. It's asynchronous online and it'll cost about five grand as their current estimate. So it doesn't count towards the core accounting. So you still need those 30 credits anyways. But if you just need the extra 30, it's a way to do it. So you know, they have that program. But think if you're going to have that program like think you and I've talked about this a little bit is why have the limit right? If you're going to create a program like that or the Saint Peter's partnership where students can get their full extra 30 credits just through internships, then why not just allow a different work experience, right? Instead of one year, make it two years of work experience and you're effectively doing the same thing because, you know, we're keeping people like Eric out of the profession when, you know, if he has his CFP and his you know, he's someone I would want on my team, right? Yeah. But and I would want him to have the CPA. But the extra 30 credits is the one thing stopping him. And it's just it's just an unnecessary barrier that we create all these workarounds for instead of just moving the barrier.

Blake Oliver: [00:33:42] So David found it stands for Experience, Learn and Earn.

Jack Castonguay: [00:33:46] There we go.

Blake Oliver: [00:33:48] But so here's my my question about this program is we know that one of the biggest problems is staff having too many hours in the first few years of their careers and burning out and having them work and study at the same time seems like a recipe for burnout.

Jack Castonguay: [00:34:09] Burnout and higher fail rate, right?

Jack Castonguay: [00:34:12] Like, yeah, I mean.

Jack Castonguay: [00:34:14] I'm not sure about you guys, but you know, we talked about me working two jobs. You know, the last thing I want to do after a 60 hour, 80 hour workweek is come home and study for four hours a night, right? Like, yeah, you're all going to get burned out and you're probably not going to do as great. You know, we see students who do better are the ones who actually pass the exam either during their fifth year when they're getting extra 30 credits or directly after. Right. Like the ones who start it before they start working. I had the advantage of being able to take all my sections before I started working. Right. Some students don't have that advantage, but I mean, I can't imagine being on some of my busy season clients and then having to go home and study for Beck. Right. Like that's just or far any of them. Yeah. So these programs, they may get the credits, but I'm going to be real interested to see the pass numbers afterwards because they're working full time. And in theory, the firms want to give them the time. But, you know, we talk about the pipeline shortages here all the time. If you have a pipeline shortage, can they really afford to take you off 20 hours a week on a client? I don't think so. I mean, maybe maybe I'm being pessimistic, but I just don't see how they're going to be able to give staff that time when they can't give them time right now.

Blake Oliver: [00:35:17] I agree completely. I don't it doesn't it doesn't add up for me as an accountant. It doesn't add up. Matthew says Exactly right, Jack. Seeing a future as a business owner mentor, et cetera helps students better protect the public. Glad to have you a colleague. Glad to have you as a colleague in the higher ed world and enjoy the podcast.

Jack Castonguay: [00:35:36] Thanks, Matthew.

Jack Castonguay: [00:35:37] Thanks, Matthew. Matthew is at my alma mater, James Madison. So it gives me a chance to give out a shout out there.

David Leary: [00:35:43] So, so touching on that that that quote. Right. Or the message you just brought up there, Blake talking about how, you know, the accounting lets you do anything to some extent, And is that the actual one of the problems of this exodus we have? So I don't know if you saw Blake ADP now is the you know, they have their ADP research institute and they usually you know, it's how many payrolls and all that. But what they they have a new study they they put out about promotions. And what they've discovered is that when people get promoted many, many times, they leave a company and it's usually a lower earners, right. With less skills, skill type jobs, because even if they get a promotion now, they're just a little bit more valuable. So now they can go get a different entry level job somewhere else for more promotion, right? Yeah. And they said it's a little tougher. For example, let's say the a petroleum engineer, you kind of can't just jump to a different industry, but to some extent, if you're if you're an accountant and the accounting industry, you're like, this sucks and you maybe you get promoted, maybe you don't promote get promoted. Like fundamentally, that's the reason it's so easy to leave accounting. You can go to anything.

Jack Castonguay: [00:36:55] And.

Blake Oliver: [00:36:56] Every business needs accountants. It's good. It creates our skills are highly fungible. All right.

Jack Castonguay: [00:37:05] But it's a good point.

David Leary: [00:37:07] But but even as we talked about, Oh, we need to pay everybody more in our own industry. Yeah. Promote them, move them up the partner ladder, etcetera. Is that really going to solve this? Because arguably the skill set is too broad.

Jack Castonguay: [00:37:20] I mean.

Jack Castonguay: [00:37:21] So I think it would solve it though, right? Like the firms have been ignoring like economic theory for the past two decades. Right? As in like, if you like, it's basic supply and demand. Right way of.

David Leary: [00:37:32] Saying, that's polite.

Jack Castonguay: [00:37:33] I was being polite for for the longest time. They had an ample supply so they could pay them less. Right. And now they're still getting paid less, but now they don't have the ample supply. So they're jumping and they can't backfill. So economic theory would tell you, I'm going to start paying them more. Right. And they're really not like the way to keep them is just increase salaries. Right? I mean, it is sometimes obvious answers are obvious. And if you just pay them more, then they won't want to jump, right? Like if I'm making 5000 more than I would at the place I'm going to switch to, I'm probably not leaving. Right? Because I'm still going to be an accountant. To Blake's point, why would I leave? So, you know, the firms have a choice. Like, yes, people have options. Well, how do you keep people when they have options? You pay them more, right? You give them more vacation, you give them more time. You give them more benefits. And right now, we're still not seeing that. So, David, to your point, yeah, the exodus is going to keep happening until those economic forces adjust. And if they don't, you know, people are going to keep leaving for more money and less work.

Blake Oliver: [00:38:28] I want to get your take on this, Jack. In my mind, there's only two ways that starting salaries or staff salaries can increase in accounting. One, we redistribute from partners to staff. Fat chance of that happening when the model is that you have to wait 10 to 15 years to become a partner. You're not going to give that up, that salary up very easily when you had to work so hard to get there. Two is we increase the value of audits and tax work such that clients pay more and then we can pay our people more. But the problem in audit, which is the one I like to pick on because two thirds of accounting grads go into audit. The problem with audit is that audit has become completely commoditized. Every audit among firms of a similar size is identical to the people buying that audit to the public, to the investors, like an audit by PwC, KPMG, Deloitte or are interchangeable. You just got to get one of them. If you're a big public company, right? And same thing with like Grant Thornton, BDO, Masers, whatever, blah blah, blah right down the chain. So like, we've done this to ourselves.

Jack Castonguay: [00:39:39] We've commoditized the profession.

Jack Castonguay: [00:39:41] It's also game theory, right? So, you know, in theory, if they want to pay their people more, would just raise their audit fees. Right. The problem is, if they raise their audit fees, to your point and KPMG doesn't, well, then that that firm is just going to jump to KPMG. So we have a collective action problem to where they all need to do it together. Because if it's just one or the other, then no, you're going to get your exact point there. But you need all you need essentially the four of them. And then, you know, for their next group, the next tier down BDO, RSM, etcetera, then they need to do it. You need them all doing it at once. But again, game theory says one's going to do it and the other ones are just going to use it to steal market share. So yeah.

Jack Castonguay: [00:40:22] It's so. Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:40:24] So big picture. And this is something that I feel like nobody is talking about in the leadership of the profession. Big picture, we have to fix audit in order to fix the pipeline problem and increase starting salaries. We have to figure out how to increase the value of audit. And that means. That means figuring out how to make it not a commodity, right. To to make it differentiated. So we need to we need to create flexibility in audits, not have every audit follow all these rules and be about ticking and tying. And, you know, just it seems like there's zero interest to do that.

Jack Castonguay: [00:41:01] I mean, what what do you need to have that happen? Right. Unfortunately, you need like A01 Enron Worldcom type event, right. To where, um, you know, it's not just people focusing on, oh, this is just a check the box exercise. This stuff actually matters. And I think we're heading there, right? You know, you had the fraud, you had the, you know, the three failed banks, which I don't think was an audit failure. To be clear, I've been I've had some people disagree with me on that. But I don't think that was an audit failure. But it's perceived in the public as an audit failure. Right. Because they got a clean opinion, then they were bankrupt three months later. You can't predict bank runs, in my opinion. But, you know, people looked at that as a bad thing.

Blake Oliver: [00:41:37] It was even worse than that because it was. The audit opinion was published in the next month. The bank very next month failed.

Jack Castonguay: [00:41:42] Yeah. Yeah.

Jack Castonguay: [00:41:43] I mean, again, like that, I don't think it was a failure, but the public thinks it was a failure. Right? So think if you and if we keep having staffing issues on audits, which we're having, I think you're going to have more of those, Right. The PCBs upping enforcement. And if you can't staff the audit stuff, like stuff like is going to fall through the cracks. Yeah. So I think you need something like that to force the industry to say, okay, we need a change. But, you know, because to your point, like they're not going to do it on their own, right? Like they're going to need the regulators mostly pushing on them so much to say you have to fix this. And I think that's going to unfortunately take a pretty big failure for it to happen.

Blake Oliver: [00:42:16] The next Enron, What will it be? I think I think I agree with you that it's coming. The question is, I mean, FTX was like that, I guess, but they weren't audited. So that's changing.

Jack Castonguay: [00:42:27] They were. But yeah.

Jack Castonguay: [00:42:29] By the first Metaverse accounting firm.

Jack Castonguay: [00:42:32] Um, yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:42:35] We got a comment here from John in the live stream. I'm getting my undergraduate in accounting. I plan on getting a master's to fill in the one 50 hour gap. What would be the best degree for my lifelong career? Ms. Accounting. Ms.. Finance MBA. What do you think, Jack?

Jack Castonguay: [00:42:49] So this is this is kind of an unpopular opinion in our profession. I encourage a lot of students to do double majors, you know, because we talk about David's options earlier. So if you get accounting and business analytics or accounting and finance, you know, that gives you more job opportunities. If you get into accounting and you don't like it, right? If you get into it and you love it yet you still have the 150, you have no issues. If you get into it and you determine it's not for you or you get a business opportunity to go somewhere else, then you have you essentially you're giving yourself two skill sets instead of just one. You're playing offense and defense. So an MBA, normally the MBAs are for largely for. Connections. And once you have experience and if you need to go into like a strategy type role, things like that. So normally I would advise people to do the double major, but an MSC in finance would probably then be your next best option because you're still getting that separate that separate track as you would in a double major. What do you think, Blake?

Blake Oliver: [00:43:45] Well, I was a music major in my undergrad and I had to go back to school to essentially get the accounting major. The core courses, because I had none of the business or accounting courses, I didn't have trouble. I didn't actually have trouble with the 150 because I had so many credits. But it was more those specific courses for me. I, I value my undergrad, which was a liberal arts and music degree so much because it gave me this very broad perspective and it gave me a lot of really useful soft skills. And everyone talks in accounting about how important soft skills are these days. So I'm in favor of a dramatic change to the education requirement where anyone with a bachelor's degree could sit for the exam, take away those requirements for specific accounting and business courses, because if you can obtain that knowledge in classrooms, that's great. If you can obtain it in work, that's great. Or maybe you take some continuing education type courses, you pick it up somewhere else. Maybe you had work experience from when you were a kid. If you can get the accounting and business knowledge and you can pass the CPA exam, that should be a test of that knowledge, right? If you can pass the exam, you know it. And if that's not what the CPA exam does, then we've got a big problem. Like what's the point of the exam? And the bachelors should really be about creating a intellectual, curious, educated human being.

Jack Castonguay: [00:45:10] I couldn't have said that better. I couldn't have said that. Like, that's. Yeah, right. Your your bachelors should teach you how to think critically, how to learn how to engage with people, how to communicate. And if you actually look at I've gone back, you know, because obviously the 150 is a big issue for me too. I've gone back and read articles when they first started putting it in. And if you look at the reasoning now, the reasoning has shifted a full 180. The reasoning for the 150 used to be we need accountants to be more well rounded, right? So you have the 120, you have an undergrad in accounting, you sit the exam, you only have technical accounting knowledge. The original reason for the 150 and a lot of the old articles was we need more well-rounded CPAs, we need more coms, we need more critical thinking. And now we're seeing these these same groups are making the argument for the 150 saying, no, we need more technical, more accounting. Right. Because now because now that's what fits. But no, like just give people the skills to be functioning members of society, teach them how to learn. And if they can pass the exam, you're ready to be an entry level accountant. Like, no, you're not ready to be partner. But even if you have the 150 and it's all 150, just accounting credits, you're not ready to be partner. So no, I'm I'm completely with you on that.

Blake Oliver: [00:46:22] And one of our YouTube live stream attendees said CPA exam review courses are so comprehensive that they teach everything you need. I believe I could have passed with just Roger CPA alone. Or perhaps, Sergeant, I was going to say CPE.

Jack Castonguay: [00:46:35] Thank you for.

Jack Castonguay: [00:46:36] Calling out the CPA review courses. But mean yeah, we see that too, right? Like not every accounting curriculum in every accounting school can cover every topic on the CPA exam. Right? Like we were saying earlier, they keep putting more and more on it and not taking anything off. You know, we have candidates at Sergent who come in and they don't they've never had governmental accounting or not for profit. I promise you, I can teach you governmental accounting and not for profit to get you to where you can pass and actually work on it. So yeah, like let's use all these resources we have and not force people to go one way or the other.

Blake Oliver: [00:47:07] Well, that's why I love your mix of experience, Jack, because you're in a traditional education system, but you're also in a business that is in the business of teaching these skills. A CPA company. Yep. Right. And a CPA exam prep company sergeant. And so you see the benefits of both. And in my view, the problem we have right now is that the education is all locked up in a monopoly of these, you know, traditional colleges and universities that have a really hard time adapting. Like it's they're still doing things the same way. They've been doing them for 40, 30, 40 years in a lot of cases.

Jack Castonguay: [00:47:43] Yeah.

David Leary: [00:47:43] Everything's tied to a transcript. When people can have life experiences that are equal to that transcript.

Jack Castonguay: [00:47:48] Transcript. I mean, even take, you know, you just mentioned CPE, right? Like, okay, if I have to have 30 extra accounting credits, why can't I take I don't care, pick a number 100 hours, right? Take whatever you think the equivalent is. Why can't I take that from my extra education, right? Like, because then you're really learning the technical in the weeds stuff, right?

Blake Oliver: [00:48:09] So the argument that I've heard from professors is that, oh, well, CPA is not the same as accredited college courses. And my response is, Well, why then do we require every CPA to get 40 hours of CPE every single year if it doesn't have value?

Jack Castonguay: [00:48:25] Yeah, it has value. Like it has value. But they but yeah, they.

Jack Castonguay: [00:48:29] They are different. To your point. Like we overhauled our curriculum at Hofstra and I was on the committee that did that and I can't be more proud of the work we did, you know, because in the college class. So you're getting back to what you were saying earlier to where you're teaching them, other than just the technical right? You're teaching them comms, that critical thinking you're teaching. How to engage with others. You're teaching them the soft skill aspect, or you should be teaching them the soft skill aspects. I know we do at Hofstra. I won't speak for everybody. So it is different. But know if if now we're hearing the argument that natives need technical knowledge, then yeah, then why not? Is by definition mostly technical knowledge. I don't see I don't see where the conflict is.

Blake Oliver: [00:49:04] Going back to our conversation about blockchain. Oh, David, it looked like you wanted to say something.

David Leary: [00:49:09] Oh, no, I lost it already.

Blake Oliver: [00:49:10] All right.

Jack Castonguay: [00:49:10] No worries.

Blake Oliver: [00:49:11] Going back to our conversation on Blockchain. Chris Vanover said interesting comments on the FASB proposed standard changes related to crypto. I was just at an audit committee summit where a PCAOB board member and SEC chief accountant spoke. They spoke to the history of the PCAOB and new regulations, but when I asked what consideration regulators were giving to the talent and people issues in our profession, the answer simply focused on their efforts to modernize the standards. Not sure how that's helping to address the elephant in the room. So this goes to the complexity of GAAP and regulations like accounting has gotten more and more complex. This is this is not just my view. This is like the book that I read that changed my mind on. This was the end of accounting. I highly recommend that everybody go find that book on Amazon. The end of Accounting by. Baruch Lev, and he points out how GAAP and accounting standards have gotten more and more complex over the last 100 years while. Giving investors less and less useful information. And so here we are in a situation where we are obsessed with teaching accountants more and more technical knowledge to the point where the soft skills get ignored or sidelined. And we require all this extra education in accounting and business, and the public doesn't see the value. And that's why, in my opinion, salaries have stagnated. It's economics. If you don't create value for your end customer, which is investors and audit committees, then you can't raise salaries. Dark horse CPAs says we should continue to emphasize technical skills in promoting accountants so that they become partner without any of the skills needed to be successful at that level. Wait, I'm not sure I understand this comment here.

Jack Castonguay: [00:51:05] Don't think I'm thinking of is a lot of partner. Work is like business. Development, selling your business right? Like you're talking the economic side of it. And it's almost like when we have a common theme that you see across firms, companies, not just in accounting. I don't care if we're in the sciences or hospitals or health care. You see people get promoted to manager and senior manager, but they have none of the skills that teach you how to coach, how to lead, how to think strategically, right? We take people that are good at accounting and promote them, but they may not actually be good at the next level skills that they need.

Blake Oliver: [00:51:35] And Dark Horse added sarcasm. So yes, I had a feeling that was sarcasm, but I wasn't. I wasn't willing to call that out.

David Leary: [00:51:45] A smiley face emoji or something. Winky face.

Blake Oliver: [00:51:48] Well, just remember, like on on the old, you know, in Aim we would do like colon sarcasm, like slash sarcasm. That takes me back. Yeah, Jake. There you go. Takes me back to the good old days. Um. Romeo hates shrimp, said the 150 Maupay debate strikes at the heart that a mac is one of the lowest ROI master's programs aside from teachers. But I agree that these CPA Prep programs are way more comprehensive. And that's because they have to be because people are paying for them. And if they don't get the result, they won't pay for them. So that's what I love about CPA exam prep courses. They are so effective. And it's economics, right? Like the best programs make the most money and invest in modernizing the curriculum to pass the exam. So that's that's like the economic I feel like if colleges and universities had to really compete more and they weren't as guaranteed, the supply of students who have to take these courses in order to get their CPA, it would improve the quality of education because competition creates quality.

Jack Castonguay: [00:52:57] Every accountant knows that on that. Yeah, sure.

Jack Castonguay: [00:53:00] So I look at school like programs like we did. We just overhauled our master's program at Hofstra. Or where did my PhD, University of Tennessee where their students are coming out. Our students in Tennessee, students are coming out as essentially like data analyst with accounting knowledge, right? Like they are great in Tableau. Some of them know how to code. I mean, they are next level, but we don't differentiate in the marketplace. Those students get paid the exact same as a student who doesn't know how to use Excel, right? So we've actually updated the program to say, I want our students to have all these skills and we're going to give them the skills. And then the firm say, you know, you that doesn't know how to use a calculator. I'm going to pay you the same as the person who can code in Python. Right? And the problem is they can take that knowledge and then just go get a job. Not in accounting. To David's point from earlier, like I think the schools are giving more and more skills, but firms aren't differentiating on those skills like everyone who starts at in a certain office gets paid the same, right? Even if you have different skill sets. So, you know, I think I think we need to go away from that model to where if you're an accountant, you make $59,000 a year. That was the quote from Amanda story. If I'm an accountant with all these extra skills that I've learned in this master's program that actually added value, pay me more for it, right? Like I should make more than the person who has to hard code formulas. And I think that's something as educators we get frustrated with is we're prepping the students, but then our students aren't seeing the payoff that, you know, to pay them for the skills that they just got.

Blake Oliver: [00:54:24] David, I've got a review I want to read, but I want to give you the opportunity to share anything before we go.

David Leary: [00:54:28] No, I was going to say this goes back to the whole having a double major or maybe a minor, right. And a minor in computer science or a minor in Ms.. Really ties well with an accounting degree, but that doesn't help. It doesn't help you sit for the exam. It doesn't help you get the letters, the credentials, even though you might be way better as an accountant because you have that skill set and just you basically are saying that, yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:54:50] We got to review. It's a one star review and the headline is Too Obsessed. One star would be a much better podcast if they weren't obsessed with ChatGPT and the 150 hour rule. That's by 137 on Apple Podcasts, and it's currently the top review because it's the most recent. So if you dear listener, maybe you don't maybe you maybe you're a little tired of us talking about 150 and ChatGPT. I understand you can let us know in the comments or in the chat or in better yet, leave a review for us and hopefully we can get better than a one star review. Go to Apple Podcasts. Put in your review. Let us know what you think. We read them on the air and let's bump this one down the list, shall we?

David Leary: [00:55:42] But the thing is, in a way, like we're talking about it, not as much as you think because we're we basically bring the news. And if you could see how many news articles have AI in the title, that I have to just be like, this is all crap. So yes, we're talking about it, but we're actually filtering out. We're saving you from listening to lots of crap about AI, lots of crap, about $150 rule. But these people got sick of it when we were talking about QuickBooks Live. When Intuit launched QuickBooks Live, we were talking about that too much. We're just talking about on our show what the news is. So like when something else happens, which you know, when crypto crashed, right? Or you know something will happen and we won't talk about this. But as of right now, this is what's active, this is what's going on in the space.

Blake Oliver: [00:56:26] In short, we are just holding up a mirror to the profession. So if you don't like what you see, maybe think about what we need to change. And there were this week we had three articles about 151 in Financial Times, one in Bloomberg. That's the one you were quoted in Jack and one in Fortune. That's three major publications covering this issue in one week. It's a hot topic. What can we say? Sorry, guys. Hk says these are the topics everyone is talking about. We have to talk about it. Hey, I couldn't say it better myself and I think that's a great place to leave things. Before we go, Jack, where can people follow you? Connect with you online?

Jack Castonguay: [00:57:07] I'm on Twitter and Instagram at Prof. Jack C So short for Professor Jack. See? And you can find me on LinkedIn or I guess Twitter is now X, but please, you can find me there and I'll be happy to engage with you. Blake That's how we started engaging with each other.

Blake Oliver: [00:57:21] So that's right. And I love engaging with all of our listeners and our guests. I am @BlakeTOliver How about you, David? I'm @DavidLeary See you all here next week.

Jack Castonguay: [00:57:31] Thanks, guys.