Outlook 2022: Four Takeaways from Digital CPA

We recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of Digital CPA—the annual conference that brings together the entire accounting ecosystem to glean insights, exchange ideas and network. The energy at this year’s event was phenomenal, with more than 700 forward-thinking practitioners gathering in Nashville and virtually to discuss how they can lead the way within their practices and the profession.

A single continuous theme throughout the event was opportunity. There has never been a better time to be in a firm and supporting clients with these transforming capabilities. As you look towards 2022, I want to leave you with four key takeaways from Digital CPA:

  1. Take Client Advisory Services (CAS) to the next level to fully realize opportunity and explosive growth. New CPA.com research underscores the continued high growth of CAS related to other practice areas, and also highlights the key attributes of the high performance firms. New capabilities in FP&A, business intelligence and other key areas also suggest there’s more room to define and expand the category and build client value. In the coming year, we’ll be introducing new tools and learning opportunities to help firms fully realize the CAS opportunity and make the leap to what we’re calling CAS 2.0.
  2. CPAs + FinTech are a powerful combination. Over the past 20 months, the accounting profession proved its worth, playing a crucial role in helping America’s small business community secure forgivable loans through various business relief programs. FinTech solutions such as the CPA Business Funding Portal were key to streamline the process and elevate CPAs’ role as trusted advisors. Firms are well-positioned to advise clients on financing solutions and the evolution of the Portal with the new term-loan offering reflects the growing opportunity for the profession in business financing advisory services.
  3. Focus on the evolution of client relationships to increase value. As former Tesla and Apple executive George Blankenship remarked during his keynote, the customer relationship is constantly evolving, and firms need to work to build long-term relationships. “Once you get people into your ecosystem and keep taking care of them, the chances of them going elsewhere are really small,” he said. How can firms create exceptional client relationships? By fostering innovation to maximize client value through new technologies and business models, including new pricing structures.
  4. It’s critical to continue to specialize as technology advances. In his keynote, MIT Futurist David Autor discussed the future of work, including how the profession can augment its work by automating manual, rote processes. Doing so will free up accountants to focus on delivering business insights and strategic guidance to clients. Autor’s advice on how the profession can remain in high demand? Specialization. “There’s a scarcity of people who can take data and turn it into useful information. Allocate your efforts towards the area where expertise is needed,” he advised.

The Digital CPA community has always been the embodiment of leadership, embracing innovation and pushing the profession forward. We invite you to be a part of this incredible community in 2022. Best wishes for the year ahead.

A Closer Look at Our Startup Accelerator Companies

The CPA.com/Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Startup Accelerator is an annual program that finds, invests in, and guides early-stage tech companies with solutions that support accounting and finance professionals. This blog series provides a deeper look at the five companies in the 2021 cohort.