Thanks to the Uniform Accountancy Act, beginning in 2010 in New York and 2012 in Pennsylvania, undergraduate accounting students will be required to complete 150 hours of related course work before sitting for the CPA exam. In fact, legislation has made this effective in most states.

So what, right?

Well, in New York, where the Big Four firms have their headquarters, this will dramatically change the way recruiting and hiring is done.

The Big Four firms had hired students out of college before they passed the CPA exams with the understanding that they would pass it the summer after graduation. Now most accounting students will have to complete a fifth year as an undergraduate or go to graduate school to meet the 150-hour requirement., according to Bob Bonner, dean of graduate programs at the Villanova School of Business in Pennsylvania.

Since many undergraduate degrees do not typically include 150 hours of accepted coursework, college students, according to Bonner, have two choices: 1) cram extra accounting courses into their schedules on top of what is already required for their major or 2) apply for a graduate accounting program that will help them fulfill the requirement.

There might be some good with the annoying, though – many recruiters at accounting firms say that they prefer students to take the grad school route, a choice that may bring in better bucks in the long run. According to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, master's degree holders receive starting salaries that are approximately 10 to 20 percent higher than the starting salaries of those with only bachelor's degrees.

What do you think? Good idea or just plain annoying?