Accounting & Auditing | Leadership / Management

What’s over the Horizon for CPAs?

DSC04745"If you don't have a vision for yourself or your organization, you will just get sucked into somebody else's vision." -- Watts Wacker, futurist

Thanks to the AICPA, we have a vision for the CPA profession that was created in 1998 (looking ahead to 2011) and is now being updated for 2025. (Pictured at right are AICPA past Chair Bob Mednick, current Chair Paul Stahlin, and yours truly.)

You heard it right -- a vision for the entire CPA profession. AICPA past Chairman Bob Mednick commissioned the first "vision" in 1998, and this year's chair, Paul Stahlin, revisited it this year.

The project involved research with several leading futurists that was used as background for CPAs to identify trends and implications as they look over the horizon out to 2025. The AICPA then used electronic surveys, market research and a grassroots engagement process we developed and ran to get in-depth feedback in 16 sessions held across the U.S. over the spring and summer. (You can see the results from our work in Maryland here.) 

More than 75,000 electronic comments were received, 16 in-depth future forums were conducted with over 600 CPAs, other focus groups were done with regulators and stakeholders, and a massive analysis and synthesis was led by the AICPA Office of Strategy Management.

Here are 10 key insights from the CPA Horizons 2025 Project.

  1. Technology: Understand and leverage relevant technology in conjunction with core CPA competencies to deliver superior services. 
  2. Pre-Certification and Lifelong Learning: Evolve the educational framework to keep pace with the changing dynamics of business, government and our profession.
  3. Worldwide Profession: Position the CPA as a premier designations of the accounting and finance profession throughout the world.
  4. Pride in the Profession: Encourage pride among CPAs in the CPA profession and in the value CPAs create throughout society.
  5. Trusted Attester: Preserve the role of the CPA as the trusted attester of financial and other information.
  6. Trusted Advisor: Promote the CPA as the trusted advisor who develops solutions to complex problems.
  7. Market Permission:  Leverage the strengths of the profession to expand market permissions.
  8. Marketplace: Address continual changes in the marketplace, economy, businesses, and regulations by managing change.
  9. Value Proposition: Increase the visibility of the profession’s value proposition by demonstrating the profession’s core values in multiple areas of business and society.
  10. Demographic Shifts: Continue to offer opportunities that enhance the appeal of the profession and be proactive in addressing both U.S. and global demographic shifts.

The CPA Horizons 2025 report from the AICPA will be released today at the AICPA Fall Council meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. 

 Here is a brief clip of what these future forums were all about:

Stay tuned as we post the final report and talk about how you can use this exciting research to think about your own vision for you, your company, firm, or department.

See the post, Perspectives on Business and the CPA Profession: Revisiting the CPA Vision, when Paul Stahlin came to Maryland's CPA Summit in 2010.