Corporate Finance & Governance | Leadership / Management | Training & CPE

What does a global finance team think about CPA Horizons?

DSC08081Last week I spent an afternoon with 50 members of Marriott's global finance team at their headquarters in Bethesda. Pictured are the brave souls who stayed around for the photo op.

They are holding up our handout from the CPA Horizons Project that has the top 10 trends to watch now and the vision, purpose, values and Competencies from the CPA Horizons 2025 research.

This was a great opportunity to have a dialog with a group of public company CPA / accounting professionals about the future of the CPA profession, and they loved it. Overall, they rated the CPA Horizons results a 4.4 (on a 1-5 scale)!

Their responses indicated four major themes:

  1. "Thinking about the future" and "keeping up with the changing environment is essential for success."
  2. L > C: It is critical to keep your rate of learning greater than the rate of change.
  3. Maximizing your career trajectory ("The Bounce" from our Business Learning Institute)
  4. The MACPA and AICPA advocacy for CPAs at the federal and state levels. One CPA remarked that we are the unsung heroes as they knew little about all of the efforts in their behalf. (For more, see our legislative blog, CPA Legislative Insider. Sign up for CPA Day on Jan. 16, 2013.)

This was another re-affirmation of the Horizons Project. Having held major town halls and several focus groups with students, practitioners, and business and industry CPAs, I can confidently say that this work is powerful and useful in developing a roadmap for the future.  

The CPA Horizons Project really captured the wisdom of the crowd as more than 10,000 CPAs weighed in on the critical competencies (KSAs -- knowledge, skills and abilities) needed for CPAs to be successful in the future. These hold up to all of the research I have been able to find about future skills.

Here they are:

  1. Technical skills (accounting) are the baseline.
  2. Leadership -- the ability to develop & share insights and the aptitude to mobilize and inspire others to action.
  3. Communications -- being able to give and exchange information with meaningful context and with the appropriate delivery and interpersonal skills. 
  4. Strategic thinking -- a future-minded and flexible mindset that thinks critically and creatively. 
  5. Collaboration and synthesis -- being effective at engaging others and working across boundaries to turn challenges unto opportunities.
  6. Technologically savvy -- anticipating tech changes and how they can benefit your organization. Adept at standardizing data for transparency, efficient exchange, and visualization with tools like XBRL.

This research is what inspired us to offer these "success skills" through our Business Learning Institute (see a short video clip here).

We also had a great conversation about the new CGMA (Certified Global Management Accountant) designation from the AICPA. I shared a lot of the latest research from the CGMA which reinforced the research and results form the CPA Horizons 2025 Project.

Here are the three CGMA whitepapers I referred to:

  1. Rebooting Business: Valuing the Human Dimension
  2. New skills, existing talent
  3. The fast track to leadership

Also, here is 2012 IBM Global CEO Study, which has a great section on the top competencies CEOs say are needed for this increasingly complex and rapidly changing world.

So how do you thrive in this environment?

You maximize your career trajectory via The Bounce:

We are fortunate to have thorough and relevant research about our profession in the future. Your job is to use that research to develop insights about how this can apply to your career. And like we always say, insight without action is either useless or destructive. So take the ball today and BOUNCE!

Here is a copy of my slides on Slideshare.