Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Dale L. Lunsford

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Heather M. Annulis

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. H. Quincy Brown

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. John J. Kmiec

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Dr. Allen Ryan

Committee Member 5 School



Accounting professionals claim there is a deficiency of individuals with the appropriate competencies to enter the accounting workforce (Pasewark, 2021; Richardson, 2020; Sandifer, 2018; Thomson, 2017). Also, recent trends indicate a need to increase the number of qualified accounting professionals who can pass the Certified Public Accounting Exam (CPA Exam) and enter the public accounting workforce (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants [AICPA], 2021a; Dawkins, 2023). This quantitative, causal-comparative study expands existing studies by analyzing the impact of CPA's chosen career path of audit or tax on their perception of the required and attained accounting competencies. This study contributes to the human capital and human resource development theories by providing insight into how individuals and employers can improve performance through enhanced education and training. The results indicate that establishing a standard of required accounting competencies appears to result in attaining the required accounting competencies. Also, a lack of a relationship between the perception of the required and attained competencies may indicate a lack of understanding of the technical skills and employability skills, and specific accounting skills relevant to accounting professionals. The study indicates that a career path may have a limited impact on the perception of the required competencies. Lastly, this study demonstrates that a career path may have little to no impact on the perception of the attained competencies. This study recommends that employers and educators collaborate to ensure core accounting competencies align with employer expectations and the accounting curriculum.

Keywords: audit, competency, CPA, human capital, tax