Leadership / Management | Training & CPE

Ten powerful questions for the CPA profession in 2010

Strategy Inquiry versus advocacy.

It is easy to get caught up in an insight or idea and begin to evangelize it to others. The immediate reaction is for other's to play "devil's advocate" and resist it. Yet there is a better way.

Leadership is about asking powerful questions. It is about inquiry before advocacy and making people think more before acting.

How can you make a large group think strategically and open their minds to creative and critical thinking to solve some of the "wicked problems" we are facing in this more complex world?

These questions were developed by participants of our recent Leadership I2A – Insights to Action training session with the AICPA Leadership Academy and several teams of AICPA staff. The insights were gained from working through the “sight” and "insight" phases of our strategic thinking system, using the CPA profession as an example. The process involved charting their history, SCOT (strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats), and environmental scans and then capturing collective insights in a facilitated experiential learning process.

These powerful questions are a great example of the power of good group process and the capturing of collective insights. What emerged was an amazing set of questions that I think we should all be asking (and answering) in the year ahead:

1. How can we change how CPE is offered toward not only what CPAs need to know, but also toward helping them learn how to think differently?

2. How do we position the CPA profession to adequately respond to client demands for increased service offerings in a fast changing environment?

3. How will we (AICPA) make the U.S. CPA credential relevant in the global market?

4. Given the USA’s litigious environment, how do CPAs address the legal environment as the profession navigates from rules to principles based accounting while also adapting to a global marketplace?

5. How do we restructure the accounting education to teach adaptive judgment as opposed to rules-focused application?

6. What role can we play in making the educational system more relevant?

7. How do you balance risk within a profession that demands rapid change?

8. How do we balance member needs and business realities when using technology to our competitive advantage?

9. How do we help different generations work together given their differences in thinking style?

10. How do we leverage the differences in thinking styles from a multi-generational workforce into a collective intelligence providing a competitive advantage to the CPA profession in a globalized economy?

More on Insights to Action -- a Strategic Thinking System:

Top five qualities of extraordinary leaders, from the Biz Learning blog

Insights to Action, from CPA Success

Top five traits of innovative leaders