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AICPA President Recognizes Change in Profession

Dec 8th 2015
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For all the talk over the last few years about the need for change in the accounting profession, American Institute of CPAs President and CEO Barry Melancon acknowledged that change is actually happening and firms need to move forward in several ways.

During the opening keynote address of the Digital CPA 2015 conference in Las Vegas, Melancon spoke to a room full of some of the more progressive firms, all of which, he noted, that despite their progress could be doing more to move the profession forward. He stressed that the accounting profession is currently “at a tipping point of trying to make significant change,” adding that “there's never been a greater time for trust in our profession.”

To that end, Melancon recognized all of the work the more progressive firms have done over the past several years, laying the groundwork for the majority of practicing accountants to finally begin to embrace some technologies and new ways of doing business. He also noted that CPAs “don't need to throw out everything that is core to the profession, but we have to know that we need to evolve.”

Overall though, he stressed that firms need to look more to technology, specialization, opportunities in cybersecurity and outsourced accounting, big data, employee nurturing (particularly with millennials) and new firm structures and pricing models.

Some of the more notable sound bites from Melancon on ways the profession can and should move forward, or at the very least be aware of, include:

  • “Specialization is not just something in our profession, but even something like taxation practices are becoming more specialized.”
  • “We believe it will be totally unacceptable to millennials to say you demonstrate competency on the basis of time.”
  • “If we believe competition is the CPA firm down the street, or even other financial professionals, we are totally missing the threats to our profession.”
  • “We need a system where we can contractually require our technology suppliers to adhere to certain regulations.”
  • “How do we as a profession drive a validation process where a firm is who they say they are and client info is indeed real?”
  • “I worry about how big data, cybersecurity opportunities, BPO, and new firm structures are going to get to all 44,000 firms out there.”

Outside of firm and professional change, Melancon did not mince words when it came to his disdain for certain inactivity in Congress and the IRS in general. He specifically noted that the IRS is currently not operating in the 21st century and appeals to the US Department of Treasury have been made to change that for the betterment of businesses and the profession.

There should be more specific and practical information to come from this two-day event so do stay tuned via social media and this site in particular.

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