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A New Chapter in the Profession’s Extraordinary Story

It’s amazing to see what can happen within a single year. That’s one of my main observations as I complete my extraordinary time as your chairman.

I was honored to serve as chairman during the AICPA’s 125th anniversary. The Institute’s founders wanted to make a difference in the lives of CPAs and the people and organizations with whom they worked. They clearly succeeded, and I am confident we will continue to create value for our clients, employers and the public as the 21st Century progresses. As this year draws to a close, I see an increasingly vibrant profession preparing for the immense challenges facing us. Most of all, I see a profession that, throughout its history, has served with integrity and unleashed opportunities for success.

This year, for example, stakeholder input including the profession’s helped lead to a concrete path to provide more relevant and less complex financial statements for private companies. The Private Company Council announced by the Financial Accounting Foundation on Sept. 19 will modify U.S. GAAP for privately-held companies, a development 30+ years in the making. It’s also a great example of the AICPA, state CPA societies and our collective members joining in an effort that effects major change in financial reporting in America, something that is truly beneficial and important to smaller businesses and users of their financial statements. The AICPA will continue to advocate for appropriate changes in GAAP to reflect the private company environment and eagerly awaits the appropriate substantive differences the council is charged with producing. In addition, in late October you’ll see an exposure draft of a proposed self-contained, less complicated, less costly financial reporting framework for the millions of businesses across the country that are not required to report financial information in accordance with GAAP. This high-priority project is an important complement to the PCC’s work.

Another shining example of our profession’s impact this year was the launch of the CGMA designation. To date, more than 33,000 AICPA voting members have signed up and the number continues to climb. The CGMA elevates management accounting and demonstrates our ability to synthesize financial and non-financial information to drive sustainable business success. A slew of resources assist CPA, CGMAs on such topics as ethics, risk, talent management, financial reporting, accounting issues and more. I’m proud to be a CGMA and encourage CPAs working in business and industry as well as those in public accounting to pursue and maintain the designation.

Of course, our profession has long been known for its important public service efforts. A particular passion of mine, we had three initiatives in this area:

  • We believe CPAs could help Congress better understand the federal government’s financial statements. A video, What’s at Stake? A CPA’s Insights into the Federal Government’s Finances, was developed to spell out the issues for policy makers and the public. We gave the video to all members of Congress and created resources for AICPA members and others to use to discuss the issue with federal lawmakers in their districts.
  • The AICPA’s new Total Tax Insights calculator gives taxpayers a clearer picture of the types and number of taxes they pay throughout the year and the estimated amounts of each. This first-of-its-kind online tool includes about 20 of the most widely applied federal, state and local taxes. CPAs are encouraged to help educate clients and taxpayers about their different taxes and begin the discussion of financial planning using the information and presentation materials we developed for AICPA members.
  • A specially appointed task force made recommendations to harness the power of CPAs’ public service commitment while tapping into the tremendous knowledge and experience of senior CPAs. Watch for more details.

Finally, we are making a difference in our future by generating excitement about the profession among young people. I have met the future leaders of the profession—in places like the AICPA Leadership Academy and the EDGE Conference—and they are remarkable people. Moreover, diversity in the profession is a priority of my successor, Richard Caturano of McGladrey LLP’s Boston office. His goal is to make sure we reach out to all the best and brightest young students and professionals, regardless of their background. He’s already begun. Under his leadership as vice chairman, the AICPA launched the National Commission on Diversity earlier this month.

Let me close by thanking you for allowing me to serve as your chairman. It has been a privilege and an honor. I look forward to working with all of you as we write the next chapters in the profession’s extraordinary story.

Gregory J. Anton, CPA, CGMA, Chairman, American Institute of CPAs.

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