March 19, 2021

No More SATs

No More SATs

Ivy League schools and some very selective universities are waiving their SAT and ACT testing requirements this year, following a year of virtual and hybrid learning that disrupted education as we knew it. As the Wall Street Journal reported, their decisions could shake up who gets in.

It’s an interesting prospect to me as an employer. Will students from less-advantaged backgrounds, whose parents can’t afford to pay for test prep classes, finally get a shot at admissions at top-tier schools based on their other achievements – and the career opportunities that come with that? And what does this mean for our future labor force?

At Marcum, we’ve made a serious commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our workforce, including economic diversity. However, it is hard to reach our goals without a steady supply of college graduates with accounting and other related degrees. The highly competitive environment for talent is likely to tighten after the pandemic, given the additional staffing needs the whole accounting industry is facing since the CARES Act and other aid packages passed. It would be great to see colleges recruiting from a broader pool of applicants so we, in turn, would have a wider talent pool to choose from.

Of course, there are many unknowns with this new trend in admissions policies. Many schools have been working on bringing more economic diversity to their student bodies for years. However, the higher education community has never really found a way to counterbalance all of the investments that affluent parents make in their children’s education from the moment they are born – enrichment activities, extracurriculars, travel, and, as they approach college, tutors to help with their academic subjects and college essays. Waiving SATs and ACTs won’t level the playing field entirely. But it could be a start. We’ll only know the results of this massive experiment in a few years, when the class of 2025 enters the workforce.

At the other end of the educational spectrum, Marcum will be introducing even younger students to the world of accounting in our virtual spin on Take Your Children to Work Day this year. We’ll be hosting an online reading by Dr. Adriane L. Mayse, chair of Howard University’s Accounting Department, who wrote the children’s book When I Grow up, I Want to Be… An Accountant. In a year when working at home has turned many of our kids into junior colleagues, we think it will be fun to explain exactly what Mom and Dad actually do at Marcum.

In all seriousness, it’s never too soon to start. Plus, accounting has evolved into much more of a tech-driven profession than ever before, and with new opportunities in the field continuing to emerge, many young people don’t realize how exciting the possibilities in this profession really are.

I hope that more colleges will start their outreach earlier, too. The sooner more bright young people meet adults who can guide them through the system, the better. Efforts like these take time, and the payoff will be huge in terms of building a more diverse workforce and a society progressing towards meritocracy.

A couple of other things to note this week. Wednesday the Internal Revenue Service announced that the traditional April 15 tax filing and payment deadline will be pushed to May 17. While we don’t have all of the specifics and every state and other tax jurisdictions have to weigh in, that doesn’t mean we should just wait an extra month. For those of you whose tax return we do, please get your information to us as soon as you can. We’d like to help you plan for what may be due as early as possible and if you’re due a refund you should file as soon as you can. And if the state you live in doesn’t follow the IRS, that return may still be due April 15.

This past week also saw the one year anniversary of WFH, something none of us could have imagined lasting so long last March, but it’s been a year. To commemorate the occasion, Marcum opened all of its offices around the country on a strictly voluntary basis so that Marcum team members who want to return to the workplace can. Our hope is to bring everyone back right after Memorial Day.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and remember we’re all in this together!