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, Lara Gaede FCPA, FCA provides her thoughts on the question.
I feel very fortunate to be a Chartered Professional Accountant. I am confident that we are not only prepared for the future but will be involved in many of the exciting changes that will take place. While there will be changes in any number of areas, I will focus on changes in technology, communication of key information, and diversity.
Technology plays such an important part in our professional life as accountants. By its very nature, technology continues to evolve and transform at a remarkable pace. Accounting is going to continue to be impacted by advances in technology, including more and more sophisticated artificial intelligence which will be able to do some of the tasks that we, as accountants, currently perform. This is an opportunity for us as a profession to use our expertise to work with this technology to provide advances in how we perform our functions, and influence how the future generation of accountants will conduct business.
There will continue to be more and more ways to communicate financial information in the future. Companies will have more tools at their disposal to allow them to tailor their information to meet the needs of different users. Investors want access to large and diverse amounts of data and want to tailor this information to meet their individual needs. I foresee a need for us to determine how best to add value in a world where there is such a mass of information and tools available to analyze that information.
Diversity initiatives will continue to be an area of focus in the business world, including in executive positions and board roles. Our profession is diverse, and we are well-positioned to take an even greater leadership role in this area.
So, in response to the question of what CPAs can do to navigate these and other changes that may or may not be foreseeable, I would say three things:
- Adopt the mindset of “technology is your friend,” as it will be difficult to be successful without it. Use the tools at hand to increase efficiency and effectiveness while adding value through the unique skills that we possess as CPAs.
- Education is key to success. Having a passion for continuous learning will allow us to pivot and adapt, no matter what changes occur in the future.
- Our profession is known for having strong ethical values. It is vital that we maintain a focus on developing ethics in those wanting to join our profession and require the highest level of ethics from those already in the profession.