In the Spring 2018 issue of Dividends, CPA Alberta asked five CPAs to respond to the thought-provoking question: What changes do you foresee for the profession in the future, and what should CPAs do now to be able to successfully navigate those changes? In this post, CPA Canada President and CEO Joy Thomas FCPA, FCMA provides her thoughts on the question.
The profession is undergoing dramatic change.
Canadian Chartered Professional Accountants need to be agile and able to adapt quickly if the profession is to play an active role in shaping the future.
To accomplish this requires an appreciation of the drivers of change bearing down on the profession, and the world. Be they technological, societal, geopolitical or environmental, CPAs are at the forefront. Take the influence of technology for example— clearly technology is a game-changer for the profession. We can debate the timing of the impact of new technologies, but we are already seeing how advancements affect businesses.
We are looking at massive opportunities presented by technologies such as blockchain and AI. Some see this as taking jobs away, and that may be true—certainly, technology will continue to disrupt business models and alter the future of work. At the same time, there are definite advantages for our profession based on the skill set of CPAs: the ability to think creatively, to apply judgment and integrity, to analyze and manage and keep data secure.
At CPA Canada, we are paying particular attention to several key areas. These include emerging technology and technology disruption, new reporting models, the future of audit, and the business impacts of climate change; all while maintaining our emphasis on how CPA Canada exemplifies the Canadian ideal of good business, which simultaneously promotes sustainable economic growth and social development.
CPA Canada understands that lifelong learning is vital to the future success of its members and we are offering an unprecedented range, depth and variety of professional development opportunities to enhance knowledge and skills.
We are also leading several projects on the future of CPA education, both in terms of content and learning methodologies to ensure the next generation of business leaders have the expertise required to effectively navigate change.
To help Canadian CPAs and other stakeholders better address change, CPA Canada is developing the RAISE framework to align our thought leadership with the growing need of members to develop resilient, adaptive and innovative mindsets to lead sustainable enterprises.
- Resilience is the ability to manage risk in the face of disruptions and recover quickly while maintaining continuous business operations. It also means safeguarding people, assets and overall brand equity.
- Adaptation requires a high degree of flexibility at all levels of the organization—embedding the ability to learn from the context of a situation and adjust business practices in real-time to respond to change, whether internal or external.
- Innovation is the capacity to bring fresh, novel, and even revolutionary concepts to life—to transform the organization and create sustainable value.
- Sustainable Enterprise is the end result of effectively applying resilience, adaptation, and innovation.
The new norm for Canadian CPAs will be to lead with foresight, anticipate what is coming next, and ultimately find breakthroughs and solve the problems of tomorrow. This will require thinking disruptively as well as strategically.
CPA Canada is committed to helping its members do just that so long-term success can be achieved.