The future of the profession – Part four

The future of the profession – Part four

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, Trevor Fenton CPA, CGA provides his thoughts on the question.

Trevor Fenton CPA, CGA Director, Edmonton Operations and Business Integration, ATCO Pipelines & Liquids Global Business Unit

The disruption of existing business models and practices seems to be the new normal in companies throughout the world. Across all industries, organizations are finding ways to become more innovative and efficient in order to remain relevant in today’s markets; the industry I have worked in for the past 15 years, the utility industry, is no exception.

The utility industry has traditionally been known for its steady earnings and consistent growth. However, it is becoming more challenging to maintain this stability, particularly with economic factors such as the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan, which phases out all coal-fired electricity generation by 2030. The reduction of carbon emissions is critical in preventing global warming and helping to sustain our fragile environment; the carbon levy imposed by the provincial government on natural gas, propane, gasoline, and diesel is additional incentive for consumers to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

We are now starting to see customers request renewable and/or alternative energy solutions at a more rapid rate. The prospect of net-zero homes has encouraged organizations to accelerate and evolve their technology in order to meet customers’ expectations and demands. Alternative energy sources, such as solar, geothermal, and biogas, are becoming more prevalent in today’s market, which challenges the traditional commodity and delivery of energy sources customers have grown accustomed to.

I believe CPAs, much like the utility industry, are continually being disrupted. Demonstrating agility, innovation, and creativity are characteristics that will be instrumental to a CPA’s future success. This means challenging the status quo and continually questioning why we choose to follow traditional business models or processes.

Progressive change, in any industry, is a requirement to keep up with the evolution of technology and streamlined business processes—so get comfortable being uncomfortable. To embrace change, we need to aspire to not become complacent in our abilities. It is not a simple task, and we should all challenge ourselves to step out of our comfort zone to recognize the possibilities and opportunities ahead. Fortunately, there are always opportunities to learn from the past: we can either be reluctant to change only to become obsolete, or we can become more agile by embracing innovation and technology to thrive in a disruptive environment.

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