Recently there has been much discourse regarding the existence, extent, causes, and consequences of a purported divide between accounting practice and academia. The crux of this issue relates to the charge that many new-generation faculty have a primary focus on academic research, but lack significant practical experience or certification, and the related claim that students may lack the requisite skills upon graduation. This study addresses these concerns by examining the incidence and trend in the possession of practice credentials, experience, and other activities among accounting faculty who graduated between 1994 and 2013. We evaluate how differences in institutional focus, possession of a practice credential, and proportion of credentialed faculty manifest in research propensities, current business experience, and student performance on the CPA exam. We identify a downward trend in practice credential possession that is more pronounced at research-oriented institutions. We further find significant differences in experience and publication activity across levels of both institutional focus and possession of a practice credential. We also find that students from research-oriented universities, schools with separate AACSB accounting accreditation, and those with a higher percentage credentialed faculty perform better on the CPA exam. Other results and the role of adjunct faculty in bridging this alleged divide are also examined.

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