According to The Wall Street Journal, more than 300,000 U.S. accountants and auditors have left their positions in the past two years, and the declining number of college students entering the field simply can’t fill that void. Meanwhile, the demand for financial services is only increasing, leaving people bereft of support and advice. But Kelvin Ault is determined to reverse this trend.
Kelvin spent three decades as a CPA in health care, helping innovate the sector to reduce cost and improve quality and access. He then pivoted into higher education as professor and chair in the College of Business at Belmont University. In 2019, he took all his professional experience and combined it in a wholly altruistic synthesis of the accounting and tax profession and higher education. “Over the course of my career, I became aware of the disconnect between higher education and the industry, all while we were experiencing this workforce attrition issue,” Kelvin says. “I wanted to help reverse the trend through collaboration between employers and educators, and I believe some of the approaches that improved health care can be applied to education.” The result was Professional Pathways, LLC, advancing the higher education stacked credential model for the benefit of students, employers, and the millions who rely on financial services to secure their futures.
Professional Pathways serves as that crucial bridge between universities and the industry, opening doors for students to attain fulfilling careers in the accounting and tax industry, while also helping firms find qualified, enthusiastic employees. The objective is for students to take college-level business and accounting courses in high school and earn a certification to start working after graduation, or continue in college and be able to immediately take advanced classes. And he charges no fee because for Kelvin, this is all about the greater good: keeping firms in business, getting the next generation into fulfilling careers, and making sure hardworking people always have someone to turn to with financial questions.
“I enjoy the challenge,” Kelvin says. “It almost seems like an impossible task sometimes, but it’s so important. It’s the opportunity to benefit others, particularly students, and provide them with a great career.”
Founder & CEO — Professional Pathways, LLC