American Institute of CPAs chair Leslie Murphy, in her recent address to Council, stated, "One out of six CPAs left their firms during 2004." The cost to replace these people is estimated at 1.5 times their current salary. Enrollment and graduation are up in accounting programs, according to the most recent statistics published by the AICPA.The bad news is that the percentage of graduates going into public accounting has dropped to 29 percent of the total. When speaking with CPA partners, I typically ask the question: Do you recommend or have you recommended public accounting to a son or daughter? Ninety-five percent generally look at me and either say or demonstrate by body language that their children would not think of going into the profession.

In fact, they often make comments like, "My kids don't want to work the hours or do that kind of work." If that is true, how do they expect to recruit their neighbors' children? Things must change and many partners know it. They simply choose to immerse themselves in solving client problems and focus on charge hours, hoping that the problem is short-term and will go away.

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