Business Strategy | Leadership / Management

7 trends impacting CPAs … and the 5 opportunities within

If you stop and listen, you can almost hear the CPA profession getting smarter.

Why? Because the MACPA's Leadership Academy is back in session.

This annual two-and-a-half-day gathering of future CPA leaders always produces awesome results. They've co-authored a whitepaper, identified key trends that impact CPAs, and uncovered opportunities that lie within those trends.

Most important, they're helping the profession bridge its infamous leadership gap by becoming leaders in their own right.

This year's class is no slouch, either.

Let's start with the basics.

Academy participants identified seven basic qualities that all leaders need -- have always needed, in fact:

  1. Strength
  2. Vision
  3. Charisma / persistence / passion
  4. Strategic
  5. Confidence
  6. Integrity
  7. Communication

If you want to become a truly great leader, though, they say you need to embrace a slew of new concepts, including change management, collaboration, lifelong learning, social media, diversity, globalization, social intelligence, personal branding, and empathy.

Piece o' cake, right? Geez … no one said being a leader would easy, but who could have imagined it would be that hard?

When you think about it, though, why wouldn't it be? Given all of the legislative, regulatory, demographic, and technological changes that have swamped our businesses recently, everyone's job has become more complex lately. It stands to reason that the people in charge of that mess would have some of the most complex jobs around.

So what do we do about it?

First, we identify the latest trends that are impacting the profession. This year's Leadership Academy focused on seven:

  1. Advances in technology
  2. Seamless access to information
  3. Enhancing corporate citizenship through sustainability
  4. Smarter, more demanding customers
  5. Younger people in leadership roles
  6. The drain of experience and knowledge as Baby Boomers leave the workforce
  7. The globalization of financial reporting via IFRS

Next, try to turn those challenges into opportunities. According to our future leaders, here's how:

  • Increase efficiency through the use of new technology.
  • Allow new generations to challenge the profession's protocols.
  • Review deliverables to increase efficiency and accuracy.
  • Develop niche areas of expertise.
  • Use social media to expand our networks.

And that was just Day 1. There's still a day and a half of this stuff to go.

Kind of amazing what can happen when you give a room full of CPAs two and a half days to talk about the future. Give them enough time and they might just solve all of our problems.

Stay tuned for a Leadership Academy wrap-up. In the meantime, check out photos from the Leadership Academy sessions.


Bill Sheridan