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Empowering the next generation: Wipfli’s partnership with Accounting+

In the rapidly evolving world of finance and technology, the accounting profession stands at a critical crossroads.

Gone are the days when accountants were just number crunchers and tax experts. Today, they are strategic advisors, integral to the financial health and innovation of businesses worldwide.

Yet, a significant challenge looms: attracting the bright minds of the next generation to this dynamic field.

Recognizing this pivotal moment, the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) has embarked on an ambitious journey, one that we at Wipfli are closely involved with.

Together, we are collaborating with industry leaders and educational institutions to reshape the perception of accounting among young, diverse talent. This isn’t just a mission it’s a movement to redefine the future of accounting, making it a vibrant, inclusive and appealing career path for the leaders of tomorrow.

To address this transformation, it’s essential to confront the evolved perception of the accounting profession, especially among younger generations. The role of a CPA is often mistakenly viewed as uninteresting, clouded by misconceptions such as the belief that accountants only handle taxes and are deeply entrenched in mathematics. We’re also addressing the challenge of a talent shortage as the baby boomer generation retires.

In response to these challenges and the profession’s limited appeal to young, undecided Black and Hispanic talent CAQ has taken proactive steps to improve the long-term CPA talent pipeline.

About a year ago, they initiated Accounting+, a collaborative initiative pooling resources and talent from various firms, including Wipfli. This collaborative effort has led to more impactful campaigns than any individual firm could achieve alone. The multifaceted efforts through Accounting+ encompass branding, education and scholarships.

Key partners including creative and research entities and, notably, EVERFI, a national educational organization have joined this endeavor. Together, we are developing and providing educational resources through Accounting+ to inspire and attract the next generation to the accounting field.

At Wipfli, we have committed financial support to the Accounting+ project, joining 45 partners including 20 accounting firms and various state societies. A remarkable partnership established with the Pittsburgh Steelers has opened new avenues for outreach and engagement.

One way we’re reaching future talent is by leveraging social media influencers who resonate with the younger generation to offer a fresh perspective on the accounting profession. As professionals who predominantly belong to Generation X and older generations, we recognize the need to adapt to the preferences of Generation Z and millennials. Unlike older generations who primarily use LinkedIn, younger generations are more active on platforms like TikTok, Snapchat and BeReal. The research and social media content through Accounting+ is intentionally designed to reflect these differences, effectively reaching and communicating with these younger audiences.

We’re also helping get stories about accounting careers in nontraditional publications. We’re particularly proud of this feature on Wipfli’s senior auditor Harrison Hale in BuzzFeed.

Accounting+ represents a unique approach, uniting numerous organizations to uplift the industry. Research shows that the best solutions emerge from a diverse range of perspectives. By bringing these varied voices together, we aim to arrive at the most effective solutions for the future of accounting.

The effectiveness of a singular voice is limited, but by uniting multiple voices, the potential impact is enormous. It’s about embracing a grander stage, contributing to a global solution rather than just initiating smaller, isolated programs.

We are leaning into the community to find diversity in thought and to combat the challenges facing the accounting profession. That’s what Accounting+ is all about — a community that Wipfli is proud to be a part of.

Maureen Pistone

Maureen Pistone
Partner, Chief Human Resources Officer

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