PH facing shortage of accountants – CPA group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 17) — The country is facing a shortage of accountants as college enrollment for this field of study dropped while those licensed chose to work abroad, a group of certified public accountants said on Friday.

The Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) said local accounting firms already hit a tipping point and began hiring non-certified public accountants to fill the widening gap that started five years ago.

The group added that the country has produced just around 199,000 CPAs in the past 100 years.

"That's a big problem now of the profession because several of the CPAs here in the Philippines are migrating abroad, or they are working online for foreign companies," said PICPA national president Erwin Alcala.

"So talent management is a big challenge for most of the auditing firms and even the private entities or even the government. We have a shortage of certified public accountants," he stressed.

Alcala said the accounting industry took a hit when the K-to-12 education system was implemented, with college enrollment in business and accounting courses falling by as much as 50%.

The consequence of the two-year lull: The number of licensure exam takers dropped as well.

On the bright side, accounting licensure exam passing rates now range between 15% and 25% of total examinees, higher than the past five years' 20% average, the group noted.

PICPA wants to build a bigger pool of accountants for the country, hoping the younger generation will follow in the footsteps of CPAs who made a dent in finance, central banking, public audit, and other fields.

According to its website, PICPA is the accredited integrated professional organization of CPAs by the Professional Regulation Commission.

As it celebrates its 100th founding anniversary, the group is releasing a roster of the top 100 CPAs in the country that includes economist and now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Emilio Aquino.

"There are a lot of opportunities for CPAs in the Philippines. It's just a matter of finding them where these opportunities are. They are even better than overseas opportunities," Alcala said.