Technology, transformation and the future of accounting

After the most recent AICPA Council meeting, I sat down with Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO, to discuss the rapidly evolving landscape of the accounting profession. As we approach the midpoint of the year and gear up for the AICPA & CIMA ENGAGE conference, I wanted to share a few key takeaways from our conversation on the transformative role of technology in accounting and finance, and what firms should be thinking about as you look toward the remainder of 2024 and beyond.

Generative AI: Accelerating the future of accounting
Undoubtedly, one of the most exciting developments for the profession is generative AI (GenAI). More than any other technology before—including cloud computing—GenAI is poised to accelerate the transformation of practice areas and enable the shift to higher-level advisory services. Progressive firms of all sizes are eagerly embracing it to deliver deeper insights and enhance the quality and value of their services. Small firms, in particular, are finding it beneficial in helping level the playing field with larger firms. It truly has the potential to be the great equalizer.

But when adopting GenAI, there are many factors to consider. For instance, when working with the large data sets that are required, data integrity and security become even more crucial.’s GenAI initiative equips firms with the practical insights and tools needed to embrace the potential of the transformative technology in a responsible, risk-averse way. Most recently, we released our Rise of GenAI special report and kicked off the 2024 Startup Accelerator program, which includes seven early-stage solution providers at the forefront of AI. And we’ll continue to release additional updates and resources to help you stay ahead of this fast-changing area.

Continued transformation of practice areas
While GenAI and other advanced technologies provide the foundation to help firms and practitioners enhance their services, it’s not just about using the technology. Firms must take a strategic approach to identify the right technology, services and talent to enable transformation and elevate their roles as trusted advisors. And rapid tech-enabled transformation is happening across all practice areas.

Client advisory services
Client advisory services (CAS) remains the fastest-growing area within firms, and there’s still tremendous opportunity for further growth. A key trend among larger firms is the convergence of CAS, CFO advisory, and the implementation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This integrated approach allows firms to holistically address client needs more comprehensively. When a client faces challenges in their accounting services department, firms can bring in CFO advisory to diagnose the issues and decide whether to transition the client to CAS or help them optimize their internal systems. This integrated approach ensures that clients receive tailored solutions that address their specific needs, driving greater value and efficiency. has long been focused on helping firms seize the opportunity within CAS. Our 4th bi-annual CAS Benchmark Survey, which aims to understand the transformation of the CAS practice area, is open for participation now. A report will be released later this year highlighting key insights, including updated KPIs and benchmarks to help firms assess how they compare to the highest performing firms. We also incorporate the best practices and learnings in’s array of CAS Professional Services offerings that help firms build, optimize and scale their CAS practices for future growth.

Our Dynamic Audit Solution (DAS) initiative, a collaboration between, the AICPA and technology partner Caseware, targets audit transformation through a comprehensive, end-to-end, cloud-based solution built by auditors, for auditors. Since its commercial launch in June 2023, DAS adoption has accelerated with more than 4,000 users and 2800+ engagements completed. And the feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive.

The DAS methodology, which was developed by the AICPA in partnership with leading firms, is enhancing the efficiency, quality and client value of financial statement audits through a risk-focused, data-driven approach. Built on the Caseware Cloud platform, DAS features guided workflows, real-time collaboration and a fully integrated methodology from start to finish to support an enhanced auditor and client experience. Additionally, it’s also proving to be a valuable tool to attract, retain and upskill talent, allowing young audit professionals to start, lead and execute an audit with a modern tool that leads them through the all the right steps.

A rollout to a broader cohort of firms is currently underway, beginning with the change management preparation and planning that ensures successful adoption.

The tax area is also ripe for disruption, with Gen AI offering new possibilities for innovation. Tax datasets, tax codes, and planning strategies can all benefit from AI-driven insights. Over the next two years, we expect to see a significant shift in the services and solutions available in the tax space.

The upcoming changes in the tax code due to new legislation will also play a role in this transformation. As firms navigate these changes, the integration of tax and financial planning will become increasingly important. It's essential to view the tax return as part of the broader financial picture, focusing on the totality of the client's financial situation rather than just the return itself.

Looking Ahead
The technology-enabled transformation happening today will fundamentally reshape the future of accounting and finance. We look forward to continuing to work across the accounting and technology ecosystem to deliver the insights, solutions and community to enable your firm’s innovation and growth, and drive the profession forward together.

Erik Asgeirsson is the president and CEO of Under his leadership, helped drive cloud adoption across the profession, laid the groundwork for client advisory services (CAS), designed the future of audit with the Dynamic Audit Solution (DAS) and is becoming a prominent voice in helping customize AI for accounting. Asgeirsson is also the co-founder and host of the award-winning AICPA Town Hall Series.

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