Asgeirsson Cites Coming Changes in Tax and Audit, Further Evolution of Client Accounting Services
LAS VEGAS (Dec. 7, 2016) – A significantly faster pace of innovation in tax and auditing will lead to the same kind of transformation that is occurring in client accounting services, spurring CPA firms to devise more refined advisory offerings and seek personnel with specialized skills, CPA.com President and CEO Erik Asgeirsson said in a final day keynote at the 2016 Digital CPA Conference.
Cloud computing has helped turn client accounting into a high margin, high growth line of business, Asgeirsson said. Research from the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section and CPA.com shows that client accounting services have become an important slice of revenue in all CPA firm segments, with increased penetration in larger firms. As more firms find success and build marketable brands around virtual CFO and controllership services, client awareness and expectations are also continuing to rise, he said.
“We need to meet these rising expectations with evolving levels of service, training and best practices,” Asgeirsson said. “In short, we need to continue raising the bar for professionalization in client accounting services – and from what we’ve all seen at Digital CPA this week, we’re moving in the right direction.”
Technology will have a similar impact on tax and audit, he said. On the tax side, practitioners will one day be able to review a client’s entire financial situation on a single dashboard, allowing them to spot patterns and opportunities and deliver higher-value planning and advisory services. The audit, meanwhile, will become more dynamic, complete and real-time in nature.
For client accounting services, Asgeirsson cited three broad areas where CPA.com is helping elevate firm elevate their performance:
Training – CPA.com and the AICPA are launching a Client Accounting Advisory Services Certificate early next year, which will demonstrate defined expertise in this area for practice leaders, key staff and partners. Professionals who earn the certificate can display a digital badge on their website or LinkedIn page.
Leadership Development – CPA.com is offering two virtual classroom programs to help firms develop their most valuable resource: leaders who can anticipate change and inspire top performance. They are:
- A seven-part, on-demand program with leadership training coach John Engels called “Owning Your Leadership,” which allows CPA firms to broaden leadership and interpersonal skills
- The “Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance Edition” program by Daniel Burrus, an on-demand course designed to hone CPA practice leaders’ ability to spot trends and position their firms and clients to take advantage of change
Expanded Offerings – Asgeirsson said firm solutions are moving beyond core accounting and financial applications to “pre-accounting” categories (such as expense management and personal finance management) and “post-accounting” categories (budget and forecasting, among others). Earlier at Digital CPA, he noted, CPA.com introduced its new strategic alliance with leading expense management provider Expensify.
Asgeirsson also gave an update on RIVIO Clearinghouse, the online financial document exchange for private companies that CPA.com developed in partnership with Confirmation.com. RIVIO has drawn broad interest from CPA firms and other stakeholders in investing and lending since its launch in May, he said.
At the conclusion of his remarks, Asgeirsson announced that next year’s Digital CPA Conference will be held in San Francisco on Dec. 4-6, 2017. For more information, visit digitalcpa.com.
CPA.com offers a growing list of products and services for practice management, client advisory services and professional development. The company has established itself as a thought leader on cloud technology and has been a driving force around the reemergence of virtual CFO/controller services by firms.
The RIVIO Clearinghouse, a joint venture between CPA.com and Confirmation.com, is an online financial document clearinghouse that enables private businesses to exchange key financial information with lenders and investors.
CPA.com is a subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs, the world’s largest member body representing the accounting profession. For more information, visit CPA.com.