Will consult for food! Rethinking barriers to professional entry in the information age

Will consult for food! Rethinking barriers to professional entry in the information age

Rethinking barriers to professional entry in the information age


Traditionally, society deemed only lawyers, doctors, and clergy to be professionals. With professional status generally came a great respect for the member’s great investment in learning, devotion to service, and ethics. The skill and knowledge possessed by professionals amazed the masses. Few in the poorly educated populace thought they could draft one of their own legal documents, prescribe their own medicines, or understand spiritual matters as well as a professional. With complete customer respect and no competition, professionals commanded virtual monopolies in their respective areas of expertise.

Those days are gone. Technology and the “do-it-yourself’ societal attitude that technology fosters have eroded professional status. Value is more strongly linked to intellectual capital in the cybereconomy, and the line between professions and non-professions, as well as between the professions themselves, is hard to draw. (1) Technology promotes competition and even disintermediation, the elimination of those individuals and organizations between end-users and originators. In the cyber-economy, markets can invade what had heretofore been handled with professional institutions, making regulations that impact institutional operations, but not market transactions, especially costly. Finally, technology can quickly turn professional services into commodities, leaving professions in a position where they create no value. (2)

This article reviews these trends in turn, examining their impact on professions at large. The focus then shifts to a detailed examination of challenges that the information age brings to specific financial service professions, including accounting, actuarial science, financial planning, and law. Protecting professional service trademarks in the cyber-economy requires a balancing act. If entry barriers to professions are not relevant to practice, then the profession is vulnerable to lower-cost competition. Altering entry barriers, however, might not be supported by existing membership.

The article presents some policy-oriented recommendations for those who lead financial service professions. The recommendations focus on adjusting entry barriers so that they are relevant to practice. One line of analysis examines the need to restructure professional entrance examinations. Empirical evidence presented in the article suggests that the entrance examination has become a poor fit to the practice of professional accounting. Onerous exams with no value to practice will greatly harm professions in the highly competitive cybereconomy. As the line between business and profession continues to blur, candidates for professional entry have more opportunities to use their skills in a business setting. The best candidates attract the lucrative business offers, and might be the first to “jump ship” and avoid the high costs of professional exams. If exams actually improved candidates’ ability to serve clients, the result might be different. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that the best candidates are increasingly foregoing exams.

The article next examines the relevance of education for professions in the cyber-economy. Education should impart foundational knowledge. But education must also enable professionals to think creatively and be adaptive, critical competitive advantages in cyberspace where change occurs so rapidly. Professional education programs should balance the curriculum between necessary foundational material and scholarly work that encourages critical thinking. Strictly teaching the “facts” (as might be done in an exam review course) cannot be optimal in professional education. Developing professional students’ understanding of theory is necessary so they can understand their world if circumstances change. Education enables professionals to be flexible, and to adapt as the nature of their professional tasks evolves.

The article also examines the relevance of experience and ethics requirements for professional entry. Accepting that a cyberspace economy is characterized by less face-to-face contact, a greater rate of change, more competition, and highly specialized and complex service, leads to some interesting policy implications. Professional experience requirements are vital as they provide both “hands-on” relevance and a track record for reputation. Ethics promotes trusting relationships. Both experience and ethics may matter more to professions in the cyberspace economy than in any economy before.

The remainder of the article proceeds as follows: Section II examines the evolution of professions. Section III examines the current barriers to entry for four financial service professions. An empirical analysis of nationwide CPA exam data follows in Section IV. Section V then discusses the relevance of entry barriers for professions in the information age. Section VI examines the issues facing the leaders of particular financial service professions as they attempt to protect their respective trademarks. Section VII concludes.


A. Technology and Attitudes

Technology is a great equalizer. It liberates and uplifts, allowing the individual to accomplish complex tasks without help. (3) Income taxes are due–but one does not need a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) if one has TurboTax. (4) Why would someone pay an attorney when she could visit her favorite website and download a standard form will (or almost any standard form contract for that matter)? Investing is something anyone can do, making the trades from the comfort of home at a fraction of the cost of using a broker. (5)

While one uses software or web based products, one educates oneself. And the populace is more educated than ever before. (6) No one need even draw the self-service line at financial matters. Doctor visits are expensive. One can read about various conditions on the web, and then order a number of non-regulated products using that same medium. (7)

The cyberspace world of more highly educated consumers has changed behaviors and attitudes toward professional help. This is not to argue that professionals are no longer necessary. Self-surgery would be tricky, and it is difficult to navigate the probate process in some states even with an in-depth understanding of property transfer. (8) But clearly the monopoly that professionals had over clients is over. Technology enables individuals to act by themselves and reduce costs through disintermediation.

Aside from the argument that members of contemporary society are just more disrespectful in general, individual empowerment drives attitude. The balance of power is changing

B. Growth in Professions

The New York Court of Appeals in 1974 defined a profession as having certain distinguishable characteristics, including: (1) requirements for formal training and learning, (2) admission to practice by licensing, (3) a code of ethics beyond that generally established in the marketplace, (4) a system to discipline its members for violation of the code of ethics, and (5) duties of members to conduct themselves honorably. (9)

At its core, the term “professional” communicates that the client places a high level of trust in the provider and/or a fiduciary duty exists between the client and the provider. By the 1980s courts had generally extended professional malpractice from traditional professions such as law, accounting, and medicine to “emerging professions” such as pharmacy, architecture, and engineering. (10) More recently, some courts have begun to apply the notions of trust and fiduciary duty to hold “skilled service persons,” such as consultants, liable for professional malpractice. (11) The rationale behind this position comes from the growing reliance and trust clients must place with providers as service tasks grow more complex and technical. (12) Along with consulting, examples where courts have found professional malpractice include computer services, (13) insurance, (14) marketing or sales agency, (15) and project management/contracting. (16) At the same time, other courts have refused to extend professional malpractice liability to services such as management consulting (17) or computer services. (18) These services have some, or all, of the identifying characteristics of a profession. (19)

Professions and professionals used to be small in number. In 1950, for example, there were about 70 licensed professions. (20) In less than thirty years, the number had grown to over 500, comprising 18 percent of the workforce in the United States. (21) Due to the information and service-based nature of the economy, the percentage of licensed professions is likely to continue to increase. Within financial services especially, there has been explosive growth in the number of professional designations. Joining the traditional standby, the CPA, have been the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA [R]), the Certified Financial Planner (CFP [R]), the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS), and the Certified Financial Manager (CFM), to name a few. Given the growth in the complexity and scope of the financial sector, it is perhaps justified that there is a large number of designations. Even so, designation proliferation can confuse (potential) clients by making individual professions harder to distinguish.

C. Markets, Institutions, Technology, and Professions

The threat of competition tends to force firms to consider ways to provide services to customers at the lowest possible cost. High cost institutions can only survive if there are externalities, such as regulation, that protect them from competition. (22) Traditionally, professional institutions were protected quite well from competition by regulation. Licensing requirements continue to protect professions from outside competition. But in the information age, detecting illegal practice grows increasingly complicated. Not only has the number and complexity of professional services increased, but the regulations that have kept business and the professions apart have decreased. (23)

Deregulation in the financial services sector has spread market influences across a number of professions. (24) Firms are now free to offer both insurance and investments, serve as a commercial bank and a securities underwriter, act as a consultant and auditor, and offer both investment advice and securities underwriting. (25) Not surprisingly, firms have adopted these configurations, and touted the benefits of “one stop shopping” for customers. In the traditional professions, such as accounting, the reverberations of consolidation have been felt with the adoption of multidisciplinary practices (MDPs). (26)

Technology has provided the impetus for market forces by making it easier for customers to find product or service originators. Professionals are often intermediaries, and as such, can be cut out. If the web provides investment advice as good as an advisor, and allows the customer to trade, she can make a more direct connection. Rather than deal with a tax advisor, software lets one complete one’s taxes and deal directly with the government. Rather than use a real estate professional, a seller can use the web to mass-market her home, and deal directly with the buyer. (27)


A. Accounting

1. History and Current Situation

As a profession in the United States, accounting began to evolve largely from British influence before the American Revolution. (28) The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School offered the first collegiate accounting course in 1883. (29) In 1887, the American Association of Public Accountants, a predecessor of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), was formed in part to raise the professional standards of accountants. (30) Over the past 115 years, the AICPA has become the premier professional association for CPAs in the United States. (31)

The stock market crash of 1929 and Congress’ subsequent passing of the Securities Acts of 1933-1934 were critical events in the creation of the modern accounting profession. In addition to establishing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Acts mandated the process of the corporate audit of publicly traded companies by independent CPAs. (32) This firmly established the requirement for CPA licensure that still exists today. In this role, the auditor serves as the “public watchdog.”

From its beginnings as the home of the audit function, the accounting profession has grown and changed. Today there are about 333,000 individuals holding the CPA designation in the United States. (33) Over a decade ago, Zeff prophetically predicted that falling fees for audit services would drive accountants into more diverse areas. (34) Indeed, professional accountancy is today in the throes of major restructuring. Auditing and tax preparation, two fundamental accounting services, have been greatly impacted by technology. (35)

Although only audit/attest engagements require a CPA license, CPAs have aggressively pursued non-audit revenue sources. From 1993 to 1999, accounting industry revenues from consulting fees grew 65%, from 31% to 51% of total fees. (36) In 2001, one of the five largest public accounting firms (Big Five), PricewaterhouseCoopers earned only 40% of its fees from auditing while 29% came from consulting work. (37)

Spectacular business failures such as Enron, where the audit function arguably failed to provide adequate warning, have rocked the accounting profession. Although the SEC has statutory authority for establishment and enforcement of accounting standards, the agency has largely focused on enforcement responsibilities, permitting the accounting profession (the AICPA) to establish most auditing standards. (38) This practice is becoming more controversial. Consulting services provided to audit clients raise questions about auditor independence and potential conflict of interests.

Due to the Enron debacle, significant changes in the regulation of auditors are occurring. (39) Along with toughening penalities for corporate fraud and destruction of documents, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 created a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to oversee and investigate the auditing of publicly held companies. (40) Under growing political pressure, the AICPA has reversed its longstanding position by announcing that it will not oppose limits on certain non-audit services to publicly held companies. (41) In addition, the AICPA is implementing improved auditing standards for detecting fraud and expanding internal control procedures. (42)

2. The Entry Barriers for Professional Accountancy

To become a CPA, an individual must generally pass the Uniform CPA exam, as well as meet educational, experience, and ethics requirements. Exhibit 1 displays these requirements in tabular form, not only for the CPA, but also for the other financial service professions examined in this Article.

As it is currently structured, the Uniform CPA examination is administered in four parts over a two-day period. About 16% of first-time candidates pass all four parts while 33% pass two or more parts. (43) The emphasis on the current exam is the recall of accounting rules and procedures. The AICPA is rapidly moving to replace the current CPA exam with planned implementation of a new exam in November 2003. (44) The new exam will be administered via computer and will test a broader set of skills and competencies.

Regarding education, the 150-hour rule requires that candidates earn a minimum of 150 semester hours of college credits prior to sitting for the CPA exam, but this requirement can be fulfilled in a variety of ways. Jurisdictions generally do not specify the academic content or level (graduate versus undergraduate courses) of the additional hours required beyond a bachelor’s degree to reach the 150-hour plateau. (45)

Depending on educational attainment, jurisdictions generally require one to two years experience under a licensed CPA before a candidate can receive the license herself. However, the range of required experience varies from a low of zero in Florida, Maryland, and Oklahoma to eight years for a candidate who passed the CPA exam in Puerto Rico without the benefit of an accounting degree. (46)

In addition to experience requirements, CPAs are subject to ongoing ethical rules. “Upon joining the AICPA, a member agrees to abide by its Code of Professional Conduct and Bylaws adopted by a vote of the membership. The bylaws provide a structure for enforcement of the Code by the Institute’s Professional Ethics Division.” (47)

B. Actuarial Science

1. History and Current Situation

The Casualty Actuarial Society was founded in 1914 to advance the body of knowledge of actuarial science. (48) The Casualty Actuarial Society establishes standards of qualifications, conduct, and competence for its membership. (49) Long thought of as one of the most stable and exclusive of professions, there are currently about 19,000 people working as actuarial professionals in North America. (50)

Actuaries evaluate business, economic, and financial implications of future events using economic and statistical techniques. (51) Actuary candidates may choose one of five specialty tracks: finance, group and health benefits, individual life and annuity, investments or pensions. (52) The profession of actuarial science is currently struggling with a dramatic decrease in growth of members, and concerns for how to address that issue. Changes in service provider (life insurance companies, in particular) and employee benefit (defined contribution versus defined benefit) structures have helped to cast the profession into turmoil.

The actuarial profession faces a growing threat from business, where actuarial students’ skills are in high demand. The best actuarial students are tempted by “Wall Street” offers to use their quantitative skill sets immediately for salaries well in excess of what actuarial firms offer. (53) Faced with a series of professional examinations before attaining professional status, the best candidates are jumping.

The profession, for its part, has not stood still. Leadership has proposed a “quantitative research specialist” (QRS) designation to be obtained partway along the examination sequence to chartered actuary. (54) The leadership is also examining licensing methods in other countries. In European countries, for example, the licensing process is entirely a matter of graduate education within an approved program. (55) In Australia all but two of the required exams can be waived based on education. (56) Only in North America do candidates have to pass all examinations, regardless of education.

2. The Entry Barriers for Professional Actuarial Practice

Actuaries in the U.S. and Canada achieve professional status by passing a set of examinations prescribed by the Casualty Actuarial Society or Society of Actuaries. Fulfilling these requirements is a challenging proposition. For example, a candidate must pass seven examinations and must attend the Casualty Actuarial Society Course on Professionalism to satisfy the membership requirements as an Associate in the Society of Actuaries. (57) Members can earn Fellowship designation, the highest professional designation an actuary can achieve in North America, by completing two additional exams covering topics such as investments, financial analysis, advanced ratemaking, and individual risk rating plans. (58) At present, there are about 16,000 Fellows in the United States. (59)

The examinations for both Associate and Fellowship levels are difficult. (60) Pass rates on exams administered during November 2001 ranged from 33.7 to 52.6 percent. (61) Nine of the twelve exams had pass rates under 50 percent. (62) The average time to complete the series of exams required for Fellowship is over nine years. (63) The median time to complete the sequence, however, is about five years. (64) The difference reflects the skewed distribution as some candidates take an “eternity” to complete the sequence.

Regarding education, the Society of Actuaries recommends that in addition to a strong math background, candidates take a variety of college “classes that prepare them to apply a well-rounded business approach to problem-solving and to develop communication skills.” (65) Experience is recommended, but not formally required, to be a licensed actuary in the United States. (66) Prospective members of the Fellowship of the Society of Actuaries must complete an ethics course and follow a code of ethics in practice. (67) Certification requirements to become an actuary, including education, examination, experience, and ethics, are summarized in Exhibit 1.

C. Law

1. History and Current Situation

Throughout American history, standards for admission of lawyers to practice have been developed by both courts and legislatures. (68) In Florida, for example, the State Board of Law Examiners was created by the Legislative Act of 1925. (69) The Act gave the Board power to develop rules for admission. (70) The Supreme Court of Florida then prescribed the subjects to be tested on the state bar examination. (71) Despite some efforts to place sole control of the Bar under the judicial branch, the legal profession generally continues to be regulated by both legislatures and courts.

Prior to the founding of the American Bar Association in 1878, the practice of law was typically conducted by sole practitioners. (72) Legal training generally occurred under a system of apprenticeship. Additionally, there was no national code of ethics. (73) As the profession grew in numbers, however, the size of law firms grew as well. Modern day law firms can be national or even international in scope.

Serving as the primary professional association for lawyers, the ABA’s mission is “to be the national representative of the legal profession, serving the public and the profession by promoting justice, professional excellence and respect for the law.” (74) There are currently over 350,000 lawyers who are members of the ABA. (75) Unlike accounting, the legal profession has not moved aggressively toward multidisciplinary practice. (76) On this point, the ABA has expressed both ethical and fee-sharing concerns. (77) But while some legal activities remain clearly the province of lawyers, a number of market forces have invaded legal practice. In particular, the use of web based drafting products has grown markedly. Other advisors also routinely invade legal arenas to give advice on matters such as tax, estate planning, and business succession. (78)

2. Barriers to Entry of the Legal Profession

Passing the Bar Exam is a prerequisite to the practice of law with a license. Critics of the Bar Exam have been many, but the exam itself is not a great barrier to the practice of law. (79) First-time candidates generally perform very well on the Bar Exam. According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the nationwide pass rate for first-time candidates in 1990, 1995, and 2000, was 78%, 78%, and 75%, respectively. (80) Over these three years, the pass rates of first-time candidates were at least 80% in 29, 37, and 28 states, respectively. (81)

States generally require graduation from an ABA approved law school as a prerequisite for the Bar Exam. However, exceptions to this general rule exist. Graduating from a law school which is not ABA approved might qualify a person to take the bar examination in the state where the school is located, but not other states. (82) For example, Alabama allows graduates of non-ABA approved schools to sit for the bar exam if the schools are located in the state of Alabama. (83) Other states, such as Arizona, allow non-ABA graduates to take the exam if they have over five years of continuous practice outside of Arizona. (84)

About 96 out of 100 bar candidates eventually pass the exam and go on to practice. (85) But much of the criticism of the exam runs to its misalignment with both legal education and the practice of law. (86) Interestingly, ABA Standard 302(t) explicitly creates a break between the exam and legal education by not allowing law schools to claim credit for a bar examination preparation course. (87)

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) has responded to the gap between practice and examination by developing the Multi-state Performance Test (MPT), a skills-based exam. A number of states now require both the multiple-choice exam (the Multi-state Bar Exam) and the Multi-state Essay Exam (MEE). (88) Curiously, the evolution toward the MEE and the MPT parallels the trend in accounting, where planned changes to the CPA exam emphasize breadth and skills.

The requirements for licensure to practice law include graduation from law school, passing the Bar Exam, and ethical conduct in conformance with the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. (89) Experience is generally not a barrier to entry of the Bar in most states. (90) Exhibit 1 provides a breakdown of these requirements.

D. Personal Financial Planning

1. History and Current Situation

Personal financial planning as a distinct profession is quite new compared to accountancy, law, and actuarial science. The most widely recognized credential in personal financial planning, the Certified Financial Planner (CFP[R]) designation, was introduced in 1972. (91) One does not need a CFP designation, however, to practice personal financial planning. Planning itself remains unregulated. The value of the CFP designation was thought to be in bringing an indicator of quality to this largely unregulated area. As such, CFP Board was founded in 1985 to benefit the public by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning. (92)

Approximately 38,000 individuals currently hold the CFP designation. (93) Although widely viewed as the strongest credential in the unregulated field of personal financial planning, (94) the designation has undergone a tumultuous recent past. Concerned by flagging growth in membership, the CFP Board floated a proposal for an “Associate CFP” designation, to be given to those who completed a training program and examination covering roughly one fourth of the body of knowledge comprised by the CFP. (95) Associate CFP holders would also be required to agree to adhere to ethics standards, and maintain continuing education. (96)

Fallout from the proposal was strong and negative. In particular, existing CFP practitioners focused on the likelihood of confusion, the need for progression from Associate to CFP status, and the need for CFP supervision. (97) After obtaining nearly 1,000 responses from membership during the summer of 1999, the Board abandoned the initiative. (98) CFP Board leadership bore the impact, apologizing to the membership for the upheaval. (99) Subsequently, the President of the Board resigned.

Holders of the CFP designation are reflective of the blurring of lines between financial service professionals. According to the CFP License Holder Profile, as of July 31, 2001, most CFP holders also held some type of professional license. (100) The license profile breaks down as follows: 3% attorney, 16% CPA, 68% insurance, 68% securities and 1% other. (101) In total, 88% of GFP holders held at least one of these professional licenses. (102)

2. Barriers to Entry of the Profession of Financial Planning

To obtain the CFP credential, a candidate must meet the examination, education, experience, and ethics requirements. The current CFP exam result is either pass or fail, with no intermediate success possible. Since its introduction in 1991, the historical pass rate on the CFP Certification Examination has been 56%. (103) Content areas of the CFP exam are based on a job-task analysis study conducted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. As such, the exam covers more than 100 areas considered by the Board as knowledge necessary to practice financial planning. The topics covered on the exam can be categorized into the following broad categories: general principles (including CFP Code of Ethics), insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning and estate planning. (104) The exam reflects the breadth of the designation and the absence of any designated sub-specialties with the CFP, including insurance, investments, retirement and benefits planning, tax, and estate planning.

To become a CFP practitioner, an individual must satisfy the education requirement for the examination, which can take the form of a degree or non-degree program. (105) The candidate must then pass the CFP examination, and have at least three years of relevant experience. (106) Lastly, the candidate must profess that she will adhere to the CFP Code of Ethics. (107) Exhibit 1 details these requirements in tabular form.


Before discussing particular recommendations for professions in the information age, the article provides some empirical evidence about entrance examination success factors in accounting and the relevance of the exam as a requirement for CPA licensure. This article considers the passage of the CPA exam a goal that the candidate can accomplish with a mixture of personal “inputs,” including aptitude, education, and exam specific preparation. The approach is similar to production function analyses used in educational contexts. (108) Prior studies of accounting, however, generally do not compare how these characteristics can substitute for one another to produce an exam success. (109)

Relying on nationwide data from exams administered to more than 100,000 first-time candidates over the years 1996-1998, Exhibit 2 shows that scholastic aptitude of the candidate is the strongest marginal factor on CPA exam success. In this analysis, college ACT/SAT entrance exam scores (MATHPCT and VERBPCT) proxy for scholastic aptitude. Exam-specific preparation in the form of review courses (REVIEWS) is also relatively important. The marginal effects of education are modest, with the impact of non-accounting education (NONACCHR) slightly stronger than that of accounting education (ACCHR).

Exhibit 3 illustrates that additional accounting credit hours are relatively poor substitutes for exam-specific review courses. Assume that a candidate had 128 credit hours and chose to reach the 150 hour plateau by earning an additional 22 accounting hours. The candidate could maintain the same probability of passing by substituting about “two-thirds” of one review course on one section of the exam. Twenty-two extra credit hours are certainly costly relative to a fraction of an exam review course. Given these results, it seems unlikely that candidates would choose more education absent a requirement to do so.

The results point out some interesting relationships. If education is important to accounting practice, then it should be an important factor in passing the entrance examination. It is not. Given the weak linkage between education and entrance examination results, two possibilities emerge. Either the entrance examination does not reflect contemporary accounting practice, or education is not useful to practice.

Recent changes in the accounting profession emphasize breadth of knowledge and adaptability, but the CPA exam remains narrow and technical. (110) This exam strongly rewards specific review relative to education. Is a “cram course” the proper education for a professional in the information age? Consistent with concerns for efficiency in a cyber-economy, professional employers often develop unique evaluation schemes based on matters much more closely related to practice than entrance exams. Entrance exams are often exogenous to the hiring process. While employers need to have those they have selected pass the exam, employers often do not use the exam as a screening device. (111) In addition, due to the increasing education requirements for the CPA exam existing in most states, it is becoming more common to hire accountants before they are eligible to sit for the exam. (112) Both trends are indications of the exam’s declining relevance to practice.


At this stage, the article has discussed the tenets of the cyber-economy, disintermediation and commoditization, and provided both descriptive information and empirical analysis of professional entry requirements. The Article now proceeds to discuss the linkage between the cyber-economy and the professional entry requirements of examination, education, experience, and ethics, respectively. The theme in this section is that professional entry requirements must be relevant to practice in the information age, or they will subject professions to the threats of disintermediation and commoditization.

A. Examination and Education Requirements

The evidence in accounting suggests that the CPA exam is a poor reflection of practice, and thus dangerous to the accounting profession’s competitive advantage in the information age. The findings raise an interesting question. What should a professional entrance examination look like in the cyber-economy? In the information age, material necessary for practice changes quickly. It will be difficult to keep a large, technical exam up to date. New questions reflecting up-to-date material have had less of an opportunity to be evaluated for validity. A general knowledge, one-size-fits-all entrance exam seems to be a poor match to contemporary professional service, which is tailored, client-specific, and creative. In sum, standardized exams make professional services look more like commodities–very dangerous in the cyber-economy.

If the general knowledge exam is merely a barrier to weed out low quality, then is it necessary? When there is no other exam, perhaps it is. But one has to wonder about the viability of a profession that involves only general knowledge and no skills. If there are follow-on specialty or practice exams, then why is a general exam needed?

Professions such as the CPA are broadening. As they broaden, what is the most important material? Standardized exams in broad professions give the impression that they are focused on the hyper-technical. Exams do have a need to generate hyper-technical questions to drive discrimination. (113) Changing to more practice-oriented or specialized exams would improve the alignment with actual professional practice. But such exams are more qualitative and are labor intensive to create and evaluate. Rather than one generalized exam, there might be a need for several specialty exams. Rather than machine-graded questions, exams would likely have essays. Some professions tax their membership to perform the task of evaluating these essays. The CFA exam is a striking example where professional members grade essay questions. (114) Perhaps the most extreme example of a labor intensive, but highly specific professional entrance exercise is the doctoral dissertation.

Some professions seem to recognize that entrance exams need to be relevant to practice in the information age. Indeed, moves toward skills oriented exams are already underway in the law, and forthcoming in accounting. (115) Other professions offer staged exams. For the CFA, the first exam is more general

The proposed CPA exam is more reflective of public practice as it is expected to address more complex situations. In addition to testing general accounting knowledge, CPA candidates will be required to demonstrate their ability to solve complex client problems by performing research using professional databases. (117) Consistent with the technology theme, candidates may then be asked to use spreadsheets to organize and convey their proposed solutions. (118)

Educational attainment could also serve as a waiver for a professional entrance examination. The argument is that the examination requirement is redundant, based on either knowledge or skills. For example, there is evidence that performance on the Bar Exam strongly parallels performance in law school. (119) European actuarial societies tie licensure to the completion of a certified graduate degree. (120) Any curriculum with a thesis or project requirement presents the opportunity for the student to tailor skills toward a particular occupation. Can education encompass both the examination and education requirements for professions? The wariness of professions to trust education to produce professionals free from an examination requirement is tied to at least two issues. Educational institutions might not understand contemporary professional practice, and educational institutions might not be independent in the evaluation of their own students. Both are valid concerns.

The current interaction of the examination and education requirements for professional status usually takes the form of education being a pre-requisite for examination. (121) Some professions even certify education programs directly. (122) Despite the certification of education programs, an entrance examination is still often required. Businesses appear more willing than professions to accept the “certification” presented by a degree from a particular educational institution. (123)

Few would argue that education is not a relevant entry requirement for professional status. (124) Still the question of what type of education is best suited for professionals in the cyber-economy remains. Education is necessary for professionals to build fact and rule foundations but should culminate in skills-development. The cyber-economy demands that education programs balance theory and practice, and endow students with the ability to think critically and respond to change. If education endows these attributes, it is relevant to professional practice and should remain in the information age. Arguably, law school education has always maintained this balance. (125) The pressure on other professional education programs, such as accounting, suggests that they have had a more difficult time finding this balance. (126)

Education for professionals tends to be costly in terms of both time and money. To become a CPA, for example, 150 credit hours are required in many states. (127) Most states require a law degree to sit for the Bar Exam. (128) These costs subject professions to disintermediation risks. If law school does not make one a better lawyer, for example, then the premium for services charged by a law school graduate will not persist in the information age. If education for professionals takes on a “one-size-fits-all” posture, then it also subjects professions to commoditization risks. Short courses or other business training can easily replicate standardized education. But education programs that develop specialized skills and the ability to think critically offer professions a strong defense both against commoditization and disintermediation.

B. Experience and Ethics

Aside from examination and education requirements, professions often require a certain level of experience for entry. To become a CFP practitioner, for example, one generally needs three years of professional experience. (129) To become a CPA, most jurisdictions require one or two years of service under a CPA practitioner. (130) In the cyber-economy, where the speed of change has increased, more complexity exists, and competition is greater, actual experience would seem to be a more relevant requirement for professional status than ever before. Education and examination provide a necessary foundation for a professional candidate, but experience is achieved through actual practice.

As a professional gains experience, she becomes less of a commodity. She is also less likely to be a victim of disintermediation. The reasons are largely on the personal side of professional relationships. The benefits of experience cannot be easily replicated, even in the information age. Experience leads to reputation. So as one gains experience (and reputation), it becomes very difficult for a low-cost competitor to mimic professional services.

The cyber-economy breeds impersonality. Experience gives professionals a competitive advantage in understanding the personal as well as the technical aspect of a client problem. While a web calculator and a financial planner might arrive at the same conclusion regarding how much a client should save for retirement, the live planner might actually get the client to save that amount. The web calculator has no rapport. The professional is saved from disintermediation because she can assist the client with formulation and implementation.

The speed, complexity, competition, and anonymity of the information age also increase the relevance of the fourth professional entry requirement–ethics. (131) The cyber-economy presents service providers (including professionals and non-professionals) with great opportunities, but also a number of ethical perils. (132) Anonymity, for example, permits a professional to more easily practice outside of her licensed jurisdiction (133) or to more easily violate client confidentiality. (134) Competition from non-professionals increases the pressure that professionals will have to compromise ethics to compete. (135) Complexity and rate of change increase the opportunity for problems related to lax ethics, such as unwitting malpractice. (136) The theme of these examples is that the professional faces even greater ethical challenges in cyberspace than in the ordinary economy. Ethical requirements for professional practice in the information age are thus highly relevant.

Enron provides an interesting example of the perils of modern professional practice. In this situation, professional accountants’ joint work in audit and consulting appears to be a conflict of interest. (137) As the business dealings of professions become more complex in the cyber-economy, there is a need for more ethics training for professionals. There are now questions about conflicts-of-interest, duties to clients, competence, and the like that have never existed before, due to the move by professions into more diverse areas of practice.

Ethical barriers to entry vary widely across the professions. Ethics is a topic on the both the CPA and CFP exams, but generally there are only a few ethics questions on each exam. For accountants, some states (Colorado, for example) require separate ethics continuing education to maintain CPA licensing. (138) In 2000, the MEE for lawyers was used in fourteen jurisdictions. (139)

Ethics barriers counter the commoditization threat that professions face in the cyber-economy. Ethics is a distinct difference between professions and businesses. The former profess a code

Similar to experience, ethics is personal and can help the professional from becoming disintermediated. For the client, the advantages of disintermediation in terms of lower cost must be balanced against the disadvantages. Cyberspace is anonymous


A. The Case of Financial Service Credentials

Despite the tendency to think of professions at large, each individual profession faces its own challenges given its current position. In the cyber-economy, the protection of professional certification trademarks from competitive erosion is more important than ever before. (141) The cyber-economy moves rapidly, and so the competitive position of a profession can also change in a hurry. Consider, however, that many of the professional trademarks have accrued their value over a long period of time. Professional certification primarily connotes trust, a function of both client recognition and provider reputation. Any attempts to alter the profession’s competitive position, however, could quickly erode both client understanding and trust. Clearly, professional accountants’ move into consulting is an example of where a competitive move has had trademark impact. For example, the confusion about accountants’ role in auditing versus consulting has done great harm to the accounting trademark certification, the CPA. (142)

Arguably, the strategy for a particular profession depends upon its existing trademark position. Such position is a function of size (impact), distinction (strength of mark and competition), and exclusivity (measured by entrance difficulty). (143) Also relevant are the profession’s goals, although these may differ across leadership, existing members, and aspirants, to be sure.

A profession might be able to raise entry barriers (for example) if it already has high impact (size) and a clear distinction. If a profession has small impact, unclear distinction, and low entry barriers, raising those barriers might not matter much. That profession is essentially non-competitive. Other combinations are more interesting. Suppose a profession has low impact, but high distinction and high entrance barriers. Arguably, entrance barriers should be reduced.

The JD degree has immense impact given the number of individuals who hold the designation, and distinction based on lawyers’ control over much of the drafting and adjudication process. (144) The CPA is also very large in terms of number of members, and the designation has a fairly difficult set of entrance requirements. Its distinction has eroded, however, based on the move into personal financial planning and investment counseling, where the CPA intersects the CFP, the CFA, and the FSA. (145)

The two most interesting professional designations in the current discussion are the CFP and the FSA. The situation of these professions is complicated by their relatively small size. The strategies employed by the leadership of both professions are consistent with efforts to spur growth of membership. Intermediate designations, such as the failed “Associate CFP” and the planned QRS, address growth concerns. However, as the following section describes, the leaders of professions should be very careful about implementation of intermediate designations.

Growth in some professions might be more important than in others. By the nature of its credential, the FSA can retreat to a specialty niche. But the CFP does not have that strategy–it must be a “primary care provider.” In general, the threat of disintermediation in the cyber-economy is pushing all financial service professions closer to their customers for fear of being “cut out” by another provider. The rush by some financial service professions, such as the CPA, into providing more generalized service, can be explained by the desire to be close to the client and control relationships with specialist providers.

Lastly, overtures by some professions foretell restructuring. The FSA has invited other professionals to become actuaries under the “Big Tent.” (146) At this point, overtures by the FSA have not received much attention from other professions. In addition, some are arguing that the legal profession should become more closely allied with the CFP. (147)

B. Resistance to altering barriers

Perhaps the largest obstacle to altering barriers is the entrenched professional. “When one gets to the top of the mountain, it is tempting to pull up the rope.” (148) For example, policy debates about the impact of legislation that has raised educational requirements for the CPA have been ongoing for years. (149) Theoretical literature presents an argument that the 150-hour rule may limit access to entry to the accounting profession. (150) Recent empirical literature suggests that states with strong professional lobbies are more likely to raise education (and thus entry) barriers. (151) Consistent with this view, the accounting literature supports most strongly what researchers call the “predatory capture” explanation for entry barriers. (152)

While the accounting situation involves the impact of greater entry barriers, consider the impact of reducing barriers. Such a change necessarily means that two individuals will hold the same designation with the senior of the two having gone through the more costly entry. Existing professional members might not appreciate what they consider to be the resulting “brand dilution.” The CFP scenario is instructive. Those who held the designation were concerned about a likelihood of confusion between the CFP and the Associate CFP, especially if the latter could be held indefinitely.

The current situation in actuarial science could also be instructive. But in this case, the interim designation is not confusingly similar to the terminal one–QRS versus FSA. Nevertheless, it is apparent that “sub-branding” a designation could lead to a clash of incentives between leadership of the profession and the membership. Leadership of the profession articulates concerns for the profession’s long-run viability, but members tend to be concerned with short-term pricing power. (153) Leaders are also prone to ad hominem attacks that their efforts to increase the size of the profession coincide with increased prestige for the leadership of the profession.

Even the AICPA, currently with over 330,000 members, has its eye on growth opportunities. Although its proposed interdisciplinary “global credential” was recently voted down by AICPA members, the chairman of the AICPA recently stated that “… we fully recognize how important it is for us to help CPAs deliver traditional, as well as leading edge, services.” (154) Rather than battle existing members over expansion and possible dilution, international growth offers promise. Some designations, especially the CFA and CFP, have been aggressively exporting their trademarks to international markets. (155)


The cyber-economy brings added risks to professional services–in particular, disintermediation and commoditization. In the cyber-economy, customers have low-cost access to a variety of services, putting pressure on professions to justify their value. Professions are often intermediaries, and can be cut out if a client believes that web-hosted intelligence, for example, can perform services as well as a professional.

The cyber-economy demands that professions consider the costs and benefits of their barriers to entry. Professional entry barriers must be related to practice and should enhance the ability of candidates to serve clients. Barriers to entry do tend to serve existing members’ interests, and prior to the cyber-economy, such enrichment could be long-lived. Considering the effects of technology and market competition, however, suggests that costly entry barriers can be quite dangerous. Professions could quickly lose control of a number of activities to business, as the latter is unencumbered with deadweight entrance costs. The danger in professions’ diminution is that the hallmarks of professionalism in particular, ethics, might be lost also.

Entry requirement restructuring is apparent in some of the professions. Pass rates and profession size predict some of the pattern. Proposals in the FSA and the CFP provide for an intermediate designation–the QRS in the case of actuaries, the failed “Associate CFP” in financial planning, to keep candidates moving along in pursuit of the final designation. Both professions are concerned by their relatively small size, especially compared to the CPA and JD. But even the mighty CPA has seen waning numbers of entrants in the face of the 150-hour requirement to sit for the CPA exam.

Standardized exams should face increasing scrutiny in the cyber-economy. The cyber-economy demands that professional service be creative, and individually tailored–not a one-size-fits-all commodity. Movement toward practice exams that require creative solutions and essays graded by professionals themselves is more in line with professional service in a cyber-economy. Education should remain as a barrier to professional entry, but must be tailored so as to enable professionals to readily adapt to change over their careers. Experience and ethics barriers are more critical in the cyber-economy than ever before. They distinguish professions from business, and potentially from each other, in the anonymous and complex world of cyberspace.

Examining the trends across several key financial service professions, namely the CPA, the FSA, the JD, and the CFP, reveals some common themes and distinctions. Especially among the CPA, FSA, and CFP, there is a clear trend toward offering a wider array of services under the primary credential, with specialization possible underneath the umbrella. Desire for breadth is linked to being the advisor closest to the client, as opposed to a specialist who must rely on referrals from that main advisor. Closeness to the customer is important to professional survival in the cyber-economy due to the threat of disintermediation. Having a close personal relationship with a client also reduces the danger of commoditization. While technical advice alone might be replicated by technology, it seems less likely that “software” can build a rapport that leads to actual implementation of the advice. This is especially so when the proposed actions represent difficult choices.

Exhibit 1

Summary of Professional Certification

and Licensure Requirements

Education Examination Experience

Profession Requirement Requirement

Accounting 150 CPA Exam: Generally

(CPA) Semester Four Parts 1-2 Years


Actuary Degree Actuarial Experience

(FSA) Encouraged Exams: Encouraged



Law Law Degree Bar Exam No


Personal Degree CFP Exam 3-5 Years

Financial Encouraged Depending

Planning (Three on Education

(CFP Options) (4)




Accounting Yes (1)


Actuary Yes (2)


Law Yes (3)


Personal Yes (5)





* The authors are grateful for the comments of Timothy Fort and Joshua

Newberg, the editors, an anonymous reviewer, and those made by session

participants at the Academy of Legal Studies meeting in Albuquerque.

Corresponding author is Conrad Ciccotello: Department of Risk

Management and Insurance, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 4036,

Atlanta, GA 30302-4036. Phone: (404) 651-1711


(1) The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct guides ethical and

professional conduct. Some states also require specific ethics CPE.

See Preamble to Code of Professional Conduct, American Institute of

Certified Public Accountants, at http://www.aicpa.org/about/

code/preamble.htm (last visited Dec. 18, 2002).

(2) Candidates must attend the Casualty Actuarial Society Course on

Professionalism. See Exam Process, Casualty Actuarial Society, at

http://www.beanactuary.com/examprocess/exams.htm (last visited

Jan. 28, 2002).

(3) The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct govern ethical

conduct. See Legal Ethics, American Bar Association, at

http://www.abanet.org/cpr/ethics.html (last visited Dec. 17, 2002).

(4) There are three options for completing the education requirements

to sit for the CFP exam. These are (a) completing a CFP Board

Registered Program offered by an educational institution registered

with the CFP Board

the candidates can sit for the CFP exam if they are a CPA, Chartered

Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU),

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), licensed attorney, or hold a Ph.D.

or DBA in business or economics

that demonstrates successful completion of upper-division level

college or university course work. See Guide to CFP Certification, The

Education Requirement, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards,

at http://www.cfp.net/become/education.asp


html (last visited Mar. 14, 2003).

(5) As part of the certification process, all CFP candidates must

agree to adhere to the CFP Code of Ethics and Professional

Responsibility. See Guide to CFP Certification, Certified Financial

Planner Board of Standards, at http://www.cfp.net/become/


(last visited Mar. 14, 2003).

(1) The arguments in this paper are not based on “cyberlaw” per se, but more on the impact that technology will have on professional institutions. See Joseph H. Sommer, Against Cyberlaw, 15 BERKELEY TECH. L.J. 1145, 1147 (2000) (arguing that the concept of cyberlaw does not usefully exist)

(2) Cf. Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Impeach the Internet, 46 LOY. L. REV. 569, 574 (2000) (explaining that attempts to control the communications enabled by technology and restore the old order are likely to fail).

(3) Cf. Dennis T. Rice, Jurisdiction in Cyberspace: Which Law and Forum Apply to Securities Transactions on the Internet?, 21 U. PA.J. INT’L ECON. L. 585, 652 (2000) (concluding that the Internet empowers consumers, including investors, in ways not imagined previously).

(4) Turbo Tax is a a software product of Intuit Corporation.

(5) See, e.g., Trading Tools, Charles Schwab & Company, at http.//www.schwab.com/ SchwabNOW/navigation/mainFrameSet/0,4528,1078,00.html (last visited Dec. 17, 2002).

(6) See UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL, ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES 157 (2000) (stating that U.S. residents completing four years or more of college have steadily increased from 7.7% in 1960 to 25.2% in 1999).

(7) Many of these are natural products, such as herbs, that are not controlled by the Food and Drug Administration.

(8) Even having a law license is no guarantee of success given the complexities of property transfer and the transfer process.

(9) See, e.g., Hosp. Computer Sys. Inc. v. Staten Island Hosp., 788 F. Supp. 1351, 1361 (D.N.J. 1992) (quoting In Re Estate of Freeman, 311 N.E.2d 480 (N.Y. 1974)).

(10) See, e.g.,John W. Wade,An Overview of Professional Negligence, 17 MEMPHIS ST. U. L. REV. 465,477 (1987).

(11) See, e.g., Data Processing Serv. Inc. v. L.H. Smith Oil Corp., 492 N.E.2d 314 (Ind. Ct. App. 1986).

(12) See, e.g., Joseph Condo, Computer Malpractice: Two Alternatives to the Traditional “Professional Negligence” Standard, 11 COMPUTER L.J. 323,329 (1991).

(13) Id at 323.

(14) See, e.g., Gary Knapp, Annotation, Liability of Insurer or Agent of Insurer for Failure to Advise as to Coverage Needs, 88 A.L.R. 4TH 249 (1991).

(15) See. e.g., Apple Records v. Capital Records Inc., 529 N.Y.S.2d 279 (N.Y. App. Div.1988).

(16) See. e.g., Morse/Diesel Inc. v. Trinity Indus., 859 F.2d 242, 247-48 (2d Cir. 1988).

(17) See, e.g., RKB Enter. Inc. v. Ernst & Young, 582 N.Y.S.2d 814 (N.Y. App. Div. 1992).

(18) See, e.g., Columbus McKinnon Corp. v. China Semiconductor Co., 867 F. Supp. 1173 (W.D.N.Y. 1994).

(19) See e.g., Hosp. Computer Sys. Inc. v. Staten Island Hosp., 788 F. Supp. 1351, 1361 (D.NJ. 1992) (quoting In Re Estate of Freeman, 311 N.E.2d 480 (N.Y. 1974)).

(20) See Morris Kleiner & Robert Kurdle, Does Regulation Affect Economic Outcomes? The Case of Dentistry, 43 J.L. & ECON. 547,548 (2000).

(21) See id.

(22) See generally Ronald H. Coase, The Nature of the Firm, 4 ECONOMETRICA 386 (1937).

(23) See generally Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-102 [section] 222, 113 Stat. 1388 (reflecting the relaxation of regulation in the face of modern technology).

(24) See, e.g., George S. Swan, Legal Education and Financial Planning: Preparation for the Multidisciplinary Practice Future, 23 CAMPBELL L. REV. 1, 4 (2000) (describing the impact on the legal profession from the blurring lines between the banking, law, and insurance sectors).

(25) The accounting profession recently “modernized” auditing independence rules by shifting from “firm-based” independence rules toward an “engagement team based” approach. This shift significantly narrows the pool of accounting firm employees that must follow the rules. In general, independence prohibitions apply to those who are able to influence the audit engagement. See Brian Caswell & Catherine Allen, The Engagement Team Approach to Independence, 191 J. ACCT. 57, 63 (2001).

(26) See generally Steven J. Arsenault & W. R. Koprowski, Multidisciplinary Practice Models: An Analysis of Issues Related to Proposed Changes in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, 7 J.L. STUD. BUS. 35 (2000).

(27) See, e.g., Buyer Benefits, E-Realty, at http://www.erealty.com (last visited Oct. 26, 2001).

(28) See Harold Q. Langenderfer, Accounting Education’s History–A 100-Year Search for Identity, 163 J. ACCT. 302, 304 (1987).

(29) Id

(30) Id.

(31) See Values and Vision Statement, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, at http://www.aicpa.org/about/vision.htm (last visited Dec. 18, 2002).

(32) See Langenderfer, supra note 28, at 306.

(33) See AICPA Online, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, at http://www.aicpa.org (last visited Dec. 18, 2002).

(34) See Stephen Zeff, Does the CPA Belong to a Profession?, 1 ACCT. HORIZONS 65 (1987).

(35) Id.

(36) See Nannette Byrnes et al., Accounting in Crisis, BUS. WK.,Jan. 28, 2002, at 44, 46.

(37) See id.

(38) See The Enron Crisis: The AICPA, The Profession & The Public Interest, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, at http://www.aicpa.org/info/regulation02.htm (last visited Apr. 4, 2002).

(39) See A Bird’s Eye View of the Enron Debacle, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, at http://www.aicpa.org/info/birdseye02.htm (last visited Apr. 4, 2002).

(40) Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745 (codified in scattered sections of 11, 15, 18, 28, and 29 U.S.C.)

(41) See A Bird’s Eye View of the Enron Debacle at, http://www.aicpa.org/info/birdseye02.htm, supra note 39.

(42) See id.

(43) See C. Terry Grant et al., Barriers to Professional Entry: How Effective is the 150-Hour Rule?, 21 J. ACCT. & PUB. POL’Y 71, 76 (2002).

(44) See The Uniform CPA Examination, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, at http://www.cpa-exam.org/cpa/paper.html (last visited Jan. 7, 2003).

(45) Grant et al., supra note 43, at 73. Jurisdictions (all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam) differ in their requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA exam. However, upon recommendation of the AICPA, as of October 2001, 50 jurisdictions have passed legislation mandating that CPA candidates earn a minimum of 150 semester hours of education (150-hour rule) to qualify to sit for the exam. Of these 50 jurisdictions, 29 have already enacted the 150-hour rule. The rule will be effective in 20 of the remaining 21 jurisdictions no later than 2009. Only Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont and the Virgin Islands have not passed the 150-hour educational requirement. Four states, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina, permit candidates to sit for the exam after completion of at least 120 semester hours, but withhold licensing until 150 semester hours have been earned. California has established two pathway options to CPA licensure. Pathway 1 permits sitting for the exam under California’s traditional examination requirements (a baccalaureate degree that includes 24 semester hours in accounting and 24 business-related hours). Pathway 2 requires 150 semester hours to sit for the exam. Since candidates who select pathway 1 may not change to pathway 2 unless they retake the entire CPA exam, pathway 2 is the pathway of choice for candidates interested in being able to practice in other states. Id. at 73-74.

(46) See State CPA Certificate Requirements to Practice, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, at http://www.aicpa.org/states/uaa/digest.htm (last visited Jan. 29, 2002).

(47) See Frequently Asked Questions About the AICPA, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, at http://www.aicpa.org/about/faq012.htm (last visited Dec. 18, 2002).

(48) See Be An Actual: What is an actual?, Casualty Actuarial Society, at http://www.beanactuary.org/whatis/organizations.htm (last visited Apr. 5, 2002).

(49) See id.

(50) See Be An Actuary: What is an actuary?, Casualty Actuarial Society, at http://www.beanactuary.org/whatis/what.htm (last visited Apr. 5, 2002).

(51) See Newsroom, Society of Actuaries, at http:/ /www.soa.org/newsroom/ society.html (last visited Aug. 22,2001).

(52) See id.

(53) Rob Brown, The Future of the Society of Actuaries–The Evolution of the Big Tent, Address at Georgia State University (Mar. 14, 2001).

(54) Id.

(55) Id.

(56) Id.

(57) See Be An Actual: Exam Process, Casualty Actuarial Society, at http:// www.bean actuary.org/examprocess/exams.htm (last visited Oct. 31, 2001).

(58) Id.

(59) Id.

(60) Id.

(61) See November 2001 Examination Results, Society of Actuaries, at http:// www.soa.org/ eande/pc0111per.html (last visited Dec. 18, 2002).

(62) Id.

(63) Interview with Donald Behan, Director of the Georgia State University Actuarial Program, in Atlanta, Ga. (Mar. 2, 2001).

(64) Id.

(65) Id.

(66) As a practical matter, most actuaries in the United States have several years of actuarial experience by the time they complete the examination sequence. Other countries, such as Canada, do have a formal experience requirement. Id.

(67) Id.

(68) See History of the Bar, Citizens for Judicial Accountability, at http://www. judicialaccountability.org/baraccountability2.htm (last visited Apr. 12, 2002).

(69) Legislative Act of 1925, 1925 Fla. Laws ch. 10175 (codified as amended at FLA. STAT. ch. 454 (2002)).

(70) Id.

(71) History of the Bar, at http://www.judicialaccountability.org/baraccountability2.htm,supra note 68.

(72) See Profile of the American Bar Association, American Bar Association, at http://www. abanet.org/media/profile.html (last visited Apr. 10, 2002).

(73) See id.

(74) See id.

(75) See id.

(76) See Audrey I. Benison, Note, The Sophisticated Client: A Proposal for the Reconciliation of Conflict of Interest Standards for Attorneys and Accountants, 13 GEO. J. LEGAL ETHICS 699, 701 (2000) (arguing that accountants are subject to less stringent conflicts of interest rules than lawyers).

(77) See John S. Dzienkowski & Robert J. Peroni, Multidisciplinary Practice & the American Legal Profession: A Market Approach to Regulating the Delivery of Services in the Twenty-First Century, 69 FORDHAM L. REV. 83, 87 (2000).

(78) See Bradley G. Johnson, Ready or Not, Here They Come: Why the ABA Should Amend the Model Rules to Accommodate Multidisciplinary Practices, 57 WASH. & LEE L. REV. 951 (2000).

(79) See Daniel R. Hansen, Note, Do We Need the Bar Examination? A Critical Evaluation of the Justifications for the Bar Examination and Proposed Alternatives, 45 CASE. W. RES. L. REV. 1191, 1193 (1995).

(80) See Statistics for National Conference of Bar Examiners, National Conference of Bar Examiners, at http://www.ncbex.org/stats.htm (last visited Apr. 3, 2002).

(81) See id.

(82) See Permitted Means of Legal Study, American Bar Association, at http://www.abanet.org/ legaled/publications/compguide/chart3.pdf(last visited Dec. 17, 2002).

(83) See id.

(84) See id.

(85) See Maureen Kordesh, Reinterpreting ABA Standard 302(f) in Light of the Multistate Performance Test, 30 U. MEM. L. REV. 299, 323 (2000).

(86) Id. at 303.

(87) Id. at 300.

(88) Id. at 302.

(89) See Legal Ethics, American Bar Association, at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/ethics.html (last visited Dec. 17, 2002).

(90) See Permitted Means of Legal Study, at http://www.abanet.org/legaled/publications/ compguide/chart3.pdf, supra note 82.

(91) See About the CFP Board, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, at http://www.cfp.net/aboutus/ (last visited Mar. 14, 2003).

(92) See id.

(93) See CFP Board Annual Report, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, at http://www.cfp.net/aboutus (last visited Apr. 9, 2003).

(94) See CFP Certification Marks in the News, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, at http://www.cfp.net/certificants/marksinthenews.asp (last visited Mar. 14, 2003).


(96) See id.

(97) See id.

(98) Press Release, CFP Board, CFP Board Withdraws Applications for Associate CFP Trademarks

(99) See id.

(100) See CFP Certificant Profile, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, at http://www.cfp.net/media/profile.asp(last visited Mar. 14, 2003).

(101) Id.

(102) Id.

(103) See CFP Certification Exam Statistics, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, at http://www.cfp.net/media/survey.asp?category=5 (last visited Mar. 14, 2003).

(104) See id.

(105) See Guide to CFP Certification, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, at http://www.cfp.net/become/education.asp (last visited Mar. 14, 2003).

(106) See Guide to CFP Certification, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, at http://www.cfp.net/become/certification.asp (last visited Mar. 14, 2003).

(107) Id.

(108) See A. Krueger, Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions, 114 Q.J. ECON. 497 (1999).

(109) See, e.g., W. Marcus Dunn & Thomas Hall, An Empirical Analysis of the Relationships between CPA Examination Candidate Attributes and Candidate Performance, 59 ACCT. REV. 674 (1984).

(110) See Robert K. Elliott, Who We Are as a Profession–and What We Must Become, 189 J. ACCT. 81 (2000).

(111) Professional candidates often take exams after they have begun employment.

(112) Despite the growth in the number of hours to sit for the CPA exam, requirements that CPAs take certain types of courses (including those in business law) are actually decreasing. See Robert A. Prentice, The Case for Educating Legally-Aware Accountants, 38 AM. BUS. L.J. 597, 631 (2001) (arguing that without cyberlaw educational requirements, CPAs will have a difficult time fulfilling their role as key general business advisors in the cyber-economy).

(113) Survivors of the CFP exam will remember endowment contracts

(114) See CFA [R] Program, Association for Investment Management Research, at http://www.aimr.org/cfaprogram/index.html (last visited Oct. 29, 2001).

(115) See generally William H. Holder & Craig N. Mills, Pencils Down, Computers Up–The New CPA Exam, 191 J. ACCT. 57 (2001).

(116) See CFA [R] Program, at http://www.aimr.org/cfaprogram/index.html, supra note 114.

(117) See Holder & Mills, supra note 115, at 57.

(118) Id.

(119) See Hansen, supra note 79, at 1206.

(120) See Brown, supra note 53.

(121) See Guide to CFA Certification, at http://www.cfp.net/become/education.asp, supra note 105.

(122) The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards registers education programs. If a candidate completes one of these registered programs, she satisfies the educational requirement for the CFP examination. Id.

(123) The reputation that a particular educational institution has in a certain area leads to favorable placement of graduates. Examples might include finance majors at New York University or the University of Pennsylvania.

(124) Most professions also have continuing education requirements due to rapidly changing material, ethics requirements, and disciplinary procedures. Since the focus of this Article is on entry, these requirements are not discussed in detail.

(125) Interestingly, a student of the law has always had to confront changes and new facts. While cyberspace certainly adds complications, it does not change the need for the lawyer to understand change.

(126) The Accounting Education Change Commission has wrestled with change in accounting curricula for over a decade.

(127) See Grant et al., supra note 43, at 73.

(128) See Permitted Means of Legal Study, at http://www.abanet.org/legaled/publications/ compguide/chart3.pdf, supra note 82.

(129) See Guide to CFP Certification, at http://www.cfp.net/become/education.asp, supra note 105.

(130) See State CPA Certifcate Requirements to Practice, at http://www.aicpa.org/states/uaa/ digest.htm, supra note 46.

(131) See Katy E. Deady, Cyberadvice: The Ethical Implications of Giving Professional Advice Over the Internet, 14 GEO.J. LEGAL ETHICS 891, 896 (2001) (arguing that the pressure to provide low cost services in the cyber-economy can compromise duty to client).

(132) See generally Catherine J. Lanctot, Attorney-Client Relationships in Cyberspace: The Peril and the Promise, 49 DUKE L.J. 147 (1999) (raising awareness of ethical issues for lawyers).

(133) Deady, supra note 131, at 892.

(134) Id. at 905.

(135) See Mark E. Wojcik, Lawyers Who Lie On-Line: How Should the Legal Profession Respond to E-Bay Ethics?, 18 J. MARSHALL J. COMPUTER & INFO. L. 875, 878 (2000) (asking whether the legal profession has abandoned traditional ethical standards in favor of the new ethics of the internet).

(136) See, e.g., Nicholas P. Terry, Cyber-Malpractice: Legal Exposure for Cybermedicine, 25 AM.J.L. & MED. 327 (1999) (describing the risks of professional relationships at a distance).

(137) See Byrnes et al., supra note 36, at 44.

(138) See Colorado Accountancy Board Rules, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, at http://www.dora.state.co.us/accountants/accrules.pdf (last visited Apr. 10, 2002).

(139) See Statitics for National Conference of Bar Examiners, at http://www.ncbex.org/stats.htm, supra note 80.

(140) See Guide to CFP Certifcation, at http://www.cfp.net/become/education.asp, supra note 105.

(141) Cf. Susan T. Johnson, Internet Domain Name and Trademark Disputes: Shifting Paradigms in Intellectual Property, 43 ARIZ. L. REV. 465, 475 (2001) (arguing that trademarks are imbued with attributes whose primary values reside in their competitive properties).

(142) See The Enron Crisis: The AICPA, The Profession & The Public Interest at http://www.aicpa .org/info/regulation02.htm, supra note 38.

(143) Recent research describes the growing trend toward treating professions themselves as intellectual property. See, e.g.,John R. Thomas, The Patenting of the Liberal Professions, 40 B.C. L. REV. 1139, 1140 (1999) (examining issues related to the patenting of software for managing a stock mutual fund).

(144) But see David Yan, Virtual Reality: Can We Ride Trademark Law to Surf Cyberspace? 10 FORDHAM INTELL. PROP. MEDIA & ENT. L.J. 773, 778 (2000) (suggesting that the Internet is forcing the legal profession to operate in an environment where traditional barriers to entry, are deteriorating).

(145) The CFA currently has about 35,000 members, and is much smaller than the CPA or JD. But over 70,000 are currently in the multi-stage entry process, and the “climb” to be a CFA is quite rigorous. The CFA domain is also distinctive as investment (money) management, but could erode as the CFA pushes into personal financial planning and consulting. See CFA [R] Program, Association for Investment Management Research, at http://www.aimr.org/cfaprogram/index.html (last visited Oct. 29, 2001).

(146) See Brown, supra note 53.

(147) See Swan, supra, note 24.

(148) See Michael J. Thomas, The American Lawyer’s Next Hurdle: The State Based Bar Examination System, 24 J. LEGAL PROF. 235, 254 (2000).

(149) See Leslie Shapiro, When More May Be Too Much: The 150 Hour Rule. 40 NAT’L PUB. ACCT. 7 (1995).

(150) See Chi-Wen Lee et al., The 150-Hour Rule, 27 J. ACCT. & ECON, 203 (1999).

(151) See generally R. Roberts & J. Kurtenbach, State Regulation and Professional Accounting Educational Reforms: An Empirical Test of Regulator Capture Theory, 17 J. ACCT. & PUB. POL’Y 209 (1998).

(152) Id. at 210-11(summarizing empirical evidence lining strength of professional lobby with the tendency to raise entry barriers).

(153) Some members, who are well established, really may not “need” the credential anymore, absent a legal requirement to have one. Standards dilution might concern the members who are building practices more than well-established professions.

(154) See AICPA Members Vote Down Bylaw Amendment, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, at http://www.aicpa.org/news/2002/p010302.htm (last visited Dec. 18, 2002).

(155) Overseas expansion seems to be a “win-win” proposition for professional leadership, whereas dealing with domestic issues is more of a “win-lose.”

Conrad S. Ciccotello **

C. Terry Grant ***

Mark Dickie ****

** Associate Professor, Georgia State University.

*** Professor, California State University at San Marcos

**** Professor, University of Central Florida