CPA.com Study Takes Pulse of CPA of the Future

December 4, 2014
Washington, D.C.

Findings Help Provide Road Map for ‘Future Readiness’ of Profession

Nearly four out of five CPAs in public accounting believe they will play a key role in preparing clients for complex challenges in the coming decade, but recognize they must understand and embrace emerging innovations to do so, according to research commissioned by CPA.com.

The business environment for CPAs and their clients will be characterized by “unprecedented, massive and highly accelerated change” through 2025, according to the CPA of the Future Study, released today during the Digital CPA Conference. Future CPAs will need to be agile and farsighted, and 80 percent of study participants agree that their role will change substantially over the next decade, with more emphasis on consultative business development, risk management and advisory services.

“When we talk about Digital CPAs, we’re talking about the CPA of the future,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “Using technology, embracing specialization, advancing their role as trusted advisor – these are strategies that leading firms are already employing with great success and that the profession as a whole must adopt to thrive in the coming decade.”

The CPA of the Future Study was designed to gauge CPA firms’ ‘future readiness,’ a concept developed by futurist and business advisor Dr. James Canton, CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, which conducted the research for CPA.com. Future readiness means “the capacity to be aware, predictive, and adaptive of emerging challenges, tech innovations, and trends and changes in business, population and social environment,” according to Dr. Canton.

“The idea is that by increasing future readiness, organizations will become more agile and sustainable.” he said. “While there is still work to be done by CPAs to meet that goal, it bodes well that the profession is asking the right questions about the changing workforce, global challenges and emerging technologies.”
Among other findings of the study:

  • Less is more – 70 percent of respondents think government regulation is holding back business productivity and growth
  • A growing talent gap? Some 80 percent of CPA firms have concerns about recruitment to meet future needs
  • The future is now – An overwhelming majority (90 percent) of CPA firms believe the digital future is rapidly approaching
  • Planning for disruption – Smart machines, the rise of artificial intelligence and mobile connectivity may offer new risks and opportunities

Methodology

The survey for the CPA of the Future Study was conducted from Sept. 15 to Nov. 17, 2014, and included responses from more than 400 representatives of CPA firms in the United States. Additional primary and secondary research was conducted by the Institute for Global Futures. A copy of the full report can be found on CPA.com.

About CPA.com

CPA.com, formerly known as CPA2Biz, empowers CPAs and businesses for the digital age.

The company offers a growing list of digital products and services that help firms succeed in practice management, client advisory services and professional development. We call it ‘The power of smart business.’

CPA.com is a subsidiary of the AICPA, the world's largest member organization representing the accounting profession, and operates such leading websites as the AICPA Store, AICPA.org and IFRS.com.

The company has its headquarters in New York City and offices in Silicon Valley, Calif., Dexter, Mich., and Durham, N.C. For more information, visit CPA.com.

About the Institute for Global Futures

The Institute for Global Futures is a San Francisco-based think tank that advises industry and government on emerging trends affecting business, markets and society. See globalfuturist.com for more information.

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