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Technology is Now Part of the CPA Base

Young CPAsI recently had the privilege to serve on the CPA Horizons 2025 Advisory Panel.  As part of the panel we were asked to review and comment on the research conducted to update the CPA Vision Project, completed in the late 1990s, to position the CPA profession for success through 2025. One of the key findings was that technology is no longer a CPA Core Competency.  Your reaction may be like mine, “WHAT??!!?”  However, as I read on, it became very clear that technology is no longer a Core Competency (a differentiator) for CPAs.  Rather it is a part of our base--it is a tool that we must leverage as part of the way that we work on a day-to-day basis—and no longer something separate that was only the domain of a specialist. 

Technology competency is now a baseline skill that all CPAs need to have in order to be successful and meet the needs of our clients or coworkers.  As stated in the report, CPAs need to “understand and leverage relevant technology in conjunction with Core Competencies to deliver superior services.” This means that ALL CPAs should be looking at their practices or organizations and determining whether as CPAs they have the baseline competence in utilizing the technology tools available to them.  Additionally, CPAs should be going beyond the baseline to figure out how they can leverage technology to deliver “superior services”—a differentiator between a CPA and “just an accountant.”

The research findings and report were unveiled at the AICPA governing Council meeting in October and I spoke with many Council members to gauge their reaction to the report, specifically the technology insight of the report.  Interestingly, all of them agreed.  In fact, they recognized that, as a profession, we must start embracing technology and change a lot more quickly than we have in the past.  Recently, one colleague shared an insight from their global partner meeting where an expert predicted a shift in the role of the CPA toward more analysis and insight as technology continues to automate a lot of lower-level transaction processing and substantive procedure type work.

The bottom line?  Technology competence is now part of the baseline skills for all CPAs.  CPAs must learn to leverage technology to continue to provide superior services to our clients and coworkers.  By shifting our role from transaction and data processing to analysis and insight, CPAs can steer the profession toward a new dawn. You can read the full report on AICPA.org.

Donny C. Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, Founder, IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC. Donny is a current member of the AICPA governing Council, Assurance Services Executive Committee and is chair of the IT Executive Committee.  Donny was part of the inaugural class of the AICPA’s Leadership Academy program and was a member of the CPA Horizons 2025 Advisory Panel, where he continues to be an active voice for upcoming and emerging professionals. His CPA firm focuses on organizational development and advisory services for the middle market.  



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