Apprenticeships are on the rise for finance professionals
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Apprenticeships are on the rise for finance professionals

Feb 24, 2023 · 2 min read · AICPA Insights Blog

Has a colleague ever mentioned something to you, say the features of their new red Volkswagen, and suddenly you start noticing red Volkswagens on the road? It’s called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, or the frequency bias. The theory is that your brain is excited by the new information and pays selective attention to it, which convinces you that you are seeing more red Volkswagens around town.

The best example of frequency bias that I have experienced recently is all the discussion and energy around professional apprenticeships in the United States. Until recently, I knew little about the “learn while you earn” model of launching or advancing a career in the US. Now, since AICPA launched its own Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners last year, it seems to me that the concept of professional apprenticeships has caught fire. I’m seeing a great increase in new programs and opportunities appearing across professional industry sectors. I think it will be the same for you.

More professional occupations are embracing “work-based learning” or apprenticeships as a common sense, effective solution to recruiting and upskilling challenges. Apprenticeships are a proven recruiting and retention model that combines a paid position with learning and on-the-job instruction.

AICPA’s Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners is the first professional apprenticeship in the US in finance and accounting at the level of finance business partner that is registered with the Department of Labor.

The apprenticeship uses AICPA’s Finance Leadership Program and leads to the globally recognized Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation. The program is versatile and available for employers to offer to students still in college, graduates and incumbent employees.

Just last November, at a signing ceremony with U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, AICPA celebrated the first three employers from three different industries that have signed on apprentices under AICPA’s program: Liberty Bank, Aon and HP.

“The Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners program will help ensure diverse, skilled teams are ready to fill financial jobs now and in the future,” said U.S. Secretary Walsh.

The event took place during National Apprenticeship Week celebrations at the Aon Center in Chicago that attracted the First Lady of the United States, the commerce and education secretaries, the mayor of Chicago and members of Congress.

Aon, Chubb and Accenture have built a network of employers in seven regions around the country, sharing best practices and supporting the growth of apprentices. AICPA has joined several of the Aon-Chubb-Accenture networks, including the Greater Washington Apprenticeship Network. And in September, Maryland Secretary of Labor Tiffany Robinson announced a grant of nearly $120,000 to cover the costs of AICPA’s Finance Leadership Program for Maryland employers and apprentices.

Apprenticeships can have a major impact on driving more inclusive hiring.

“Diversity is a business imperative,” said Marie Myers, Chief Financial Officer at HP Inc. “When we attract and nurture people from diverse backgrounds and increase their representation in the workplace, we strengthen a company’s business objectives.”

“We look forward to being a part of this Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners program as an offering in our Finance Cohort Program launching in 2023 with hiring from graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to drive more diverse and equitable talent across our team.”

Apprenticeships are also an attractive option for learners who want to start their career while pursuing a two-year degree. And because AICPA’s learning program allows apprentices to enter the program at different points based on education level, it is a great way to upskill incumbent workers.

Visit the AICPA Apprenticeship website and reach out to if you want to know more.

Joanne E. Fiore, J.D.

Joanne E. Fiore, J.D., is Vice President, Pipeline and Apprenticeships, CGMA Americas at AICPA & CIMA, together as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

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