Training & CPE | XBRL

XBRL: It’s all the niche you’ll ever need


Here's what we know: CPAs are going to be in high demand and incredibly marketable for at least the next decade or so.

Here's what we can assume: There will be a jump in the number of students who are studying accounting in college for the next few years. If the market wants more CPAs, we're going to see more people studying to become CPAs.

Here's my question for all of those future CPAs: How are you going to differentiate yourselves?

It's a fair question. In a market that is begging for talented CPAs, how are you going to get a leg up on the competition?

The answer might be four letters long: XBRL.

Ernie Capozzoli, an accounting professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, has spent the last six years or so shoehorning XBRL in to his already-crowded accounting curriculum. It wasn't an easy thing to do.

"Accounting curriculums are crammed with required courses to meet the demands of the industry," he said. "Consequently, introducing new material means that something else has to be given up."

That's evidence of XBRL's importance, though, isn't it? Here's an accounting professor who's willing for forego some other part of the curriculum so that he can teach XBRL.

Still, it might be a worthwhile task if Capozzoli could give us proof that learning XBRL is paying off for his students.

Enter Jeff Petka.

A accountant with Georgia-based energy giant Southern Company, Petka says he owes his career to what he learned in Capozzoli's XBRL lessons.

"It has improved my career exponentially because it's given me a very valuable niche in the company in which I can help them use XBRL," Petka said. "I've been able to take over the XBRL side at Southern Company and help that grow."

Did you catch that? How many of us have waited years to find a niche that sets us apart from the rest and puts us on a path to greatness? Petka found it right out of the gate, thanks to Capozzoli's foresight.

Here's the deal: If you're studying accounting and looking for an edge in your job search, you might want to consider learning all there is to know about XBRL. It's a technology whose time has come, not just for public companies, but for non-profits, governments, auditors, and politicians alike.

Need convincing? Listen to my interview with Capozzoli and Petka in its entirety.

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Bill Sheridan