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Window into Wipfli

Discover how Wipfli associates are getting their CPA credits

By Maureen Pistone

In my role at Wipfli, I’ve witnessed the talent shortage facing our industry. A recent survey found that we’re not alone in this struggle — nearly 51% of accounting firms report challenges finding talent. This shortage is a big deal, making it more difficult to find CPAs who can handle the latest financial technologies and keep up with ever-changing regulations.

Compounding the urgency of attracting new talent to the profession, approximately 75% of CPAs are nearing retirement. And the number of candidates sitting for the CPA exam has decreased by 33%.

A contributing factor to this drop is the amount of education required to achieve CPA licensure. For many, obtaining the additional credit hours required to be a licensed CPA — beyond the traditional bachelor’s degree — can be a daunting hurdle, both time-consuming and expensive.

At Wipfli, we actively work to support our team through transitions like these. That’s why I’m particularly excited about our involvement in the Experience, Learn and Earn (ELE) program. The ELE program, led by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), provides aspiring CPAs with a practical pathway to achieving the necessary 150 credit hours for licensure while gaining invaluable work experience. This program is a perfect example of Wipfli’s total rewards philosophy, offering choice and meeting our employees at their point of need.

Program participants take virtual classes from Tulane University that fit flexibly into their busy lives. The classes are designed to be practical and applicable. They focus on skills like leadership, performance analysis and technology that go beyond core accounting knowledge — skills that empower professionals to navigate and succeed in the ever-evolving landscape of accounting.

One of the most impactful aspects of our participation in the ELE program has been our commitment to fully sponsor our associates through their journey. Since its inception, we have sent five associates through the program — four have completed it and one is on track to finish soon. Each participant has gained the required academic credits and invaluable skills that enhance their contributions to our team and clients. By covering the entire cost of the ELE program for our associates, we demonstrate our commitment to their success and help ensure that advancing their professional skills does not come at their personal expense.

By investing in and championing innovative programs like ELE, we support our current associates while investing in forward-thinking professionals who value flexibility and continuous learning — essential traits for thriving in today’s competitive business world. It strengthens the future of our industry by cultivating a pipeline of talented professionals committed to lifelong learning and adaptability.

This initiative also reflects our broader commitment to fostering a learning culture. A testament to this is Wipfli’s annual Learnapalooza festival, an event I personally look forward to every year, where over 80 subject matter experts share insights on leadership, industry trends and technical skills with our associates across the U.S. and India. This vibrant event showcases our commitment to knowledge-sharing and celebrates the community of learners we’ve nurtured. Watching our associates engage, grow, and shape our industry’s future is inspiring and a source of immense pride for me.

As we continue to innovate and support our associates through programs like ELE, it’s clear that Wipfli’s commitment to education and professional growth is shaping more than careers — it’s shaping the entire accounting landscape. And for me, it’s truly a privilege to contribute to an organization that adapts to the challenges of our industry and leads by example in nurturing and empowering the next generation of accounting professionals.





Maureen Pistone

Maureen Pistone
Partner, Chief Human Resources Officer

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