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FICPA & Nova Southeastern University introduce cost-free, fifth-year Bridge to CPA program

Students will pay no tuition on their continued path to licensure

ORLANDO, Fla.–The Florida Institute of Public Accountants (FICPA), Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and three South Florida accounting firms – Berkowitz Pollack Brant, Kaufman Rossin and PAAST – on Thursday unveiled a new partnership that will assist future certified public accountants (CPAs) on their path to licensure.

The Bridge to CPA pilot program, the first of its kind, will give firm employees who have already completed 120 hours of undergraduate education the opportunity to fulfill their remaining 30 credit hours – necessary for licensure as a CPA – through the MAcc program at NSU’s H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, an institution accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

FICPA President & CEO Shelly Weir is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ National Pipeline Advisory Group and its Experience, Learn and Earn task force, each developing innovative strategies to combat the CPA profession’s looming talent shortage. 

"Through Bridge to CPA, candidates can obtain their fifth year of education and take career-relevant courses, approved for licensure in Florida, without having to worry about tuition costs. These actively employed young professionals will have the opportunity to earn a salary and complete the educational requirements necessary for licensure – all at once,” Weir said.

"We understand and respect that students may soon have a choice of pathways to licensure. As national conversations evolve, the FICPA is determined to be part of a solution that propels the profession forward. 

"We are grateful to Nova Southeastern University and our three pilot firms for committing to the program and fostering the next generation of CPAs.”

Bridge to CPA participants will assume no tuition costs through the combined support of NSU, employer firms and tuition awards from the FICPA Scholarship Foundation and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Clay Ford Scholarship Program (see FAQ guide).

“We are proud to play a role in the creation of this groundbreaking program,” FICPA Scholarship Foundation Director Jennifer Allen said. “Bridge to CPA is an innovative and important evolution on the pathway to licensure, and we look forward to watching these inaugural candidates emerge as tomorrow’s leaders.”

The pilot program participants already been selected by their firms; 66% of the inaugural class is female, 66% are from minority backgrounds and 33% are first-generation college students. Class curricula has been approved by the Florida Board of Accountancy, and the program is set to begin in Fall 2024, with plans for expansion in 2025.

“I am immensely proud of our partnership with the FICPA and the Bridge to CPA program, which furthers our commitment to ensure well-trained accountants enter the profession,” NSU H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship Dean Andy Rosman said. “There is continued strong demand for accounting professionals in South Florida, across Florida, and across the country. NSU is committed to meet this demand by partnering with the FICPA and ensuring our graduates are well-prepared to excel in the complex and evolving landscape of accounting.”

Bridge to CPA is just one aspect of the FICPA’s new 5-Point Pipeline Promise, a comprehensive commitment to spreading awareness of the CPA profession at the elementary and high school levels, providing scholarships and support to higher-education students, matching employers with emerging young talent, expanding access to licensure and cultivating future leaders through multifaceted professional development programs.

Hear from the firms

“Berkowitz Pollack Brant is excited to play a role in supporting the next generation of CPAs in Florida. Bridge to CPA is an important step in solving the profession's ongoing talent question. We are proud to partner with both the FICPA and Nova Southeastern University on a program that is as beneficial for our firm as it is for these outstanding CPA candidates," Berkowitz Pollack Brant Director of Tax Services and FICPA 2025-26 Chair Karen Lake said.

"Kaufman Rossin is committed to fostering the professional development and growth of our young professionals. This initiative aligns perfectly with our dedication to nurturing talent and ensuring a bright future for the CPA industry. We believe that our engagement in this program will bring about significant benefits to the participants, the firm, and the industry at large. Through this program, we are contributing to the success of the next generation of CPAs,” Chief Executive Officer Blain L. Heckaman, CPA, said.

"The PAAST team is honored to be partnering with the FICPA and Nova Southeastern University in their pilot Bridge to CPA program, which will help future accounting candidates achieve their dream of becoming CPA’s. The future is certainly bright for the accounting profession in Florida," Founder and Partner Alex Sueiro said.

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