Business Strategy | Leadership / Management

The future of the CPA profession is … fun!

No, really ... it is!

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the AICPA E.D.G.E. Conference in New Orleans. The conference is the brainchild of some of the AICPA Leadership Academy alums and is put on by the Young CPA Network. It's tag line says it all: "Leave all expectations of a traditional conference behind. That’s the best approach for embracing the benefits of the E.D.G.E. Conference. Evolve. Distinguish. Grow. Engage.”

The conference was full of great content. Sessions like "The Bounce: Maximizing Your Career Trajectory,” "The Entrepreneurial CPA: More Than Just Starting Your Own Firm,” "Speeches That Won't Cure Insomnia,” "The CPA's Role in Innovation,” "Reignite Your Business and Yourself by Discovering the ‘Why’ Factor,” Taming the Fire Hose: Making Social Media Work for You," and my personal favorite, "World Domination: How CPAs Can Take Over the World.”

But even this great content isn't what stood out to me the most. What did? The people.

These "young" CPAs are full of knowledge, passion, excitement and, dare I say, fun. And not in a “Boy, they can party" way, because we all know CPA secretly stands for Certified Party Animal (well, at least according to my dad). I mean fun in a way that can make a difference in the profession. A big difference.

My blog post was originally going to be about the firm of the future, what a firm would look like if it were run by these E.D.G.E participants. As I tweeted out for ideas of what it make look like, one response really struck me. It came from Victor Amaya, partner and founder at ClearPath Accountants in Denver, Col. He said a firm run by E.D.G.E. would be one that is "innovative and makes being a CPA fun and not a burden.” Wow. Innovative I get, and we've talked about that a lot. But the F word — you don't hear that and “CPA” in the same sentence a lot. Checking out ClearPath's website, I saw that having fun was actually listed as one of their core values.

The more I thought about it and the people I was with, the more I realized Victor was right. When you combine extremely intelligent, forward-thinking, passionate people around a common goal (i.e., the success of business and the protection of the public) it is just that — fun.

With the Shift Change, the firm of the future isn’t just value billing, flexible work environments and new technology. It is also fun.

In ClearPath’s case, the firm of the future is already here.


Rebekah Olson