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The Extraordinary Possibilities of the Accounting Profession

Richard-caturanoI was a kid from a blue-collar immigrant background, growing up in a neighborhood where most adults cobbled together a living from two or three jobs. When I turned 12, our community got its first CPA resident. That’s when I learned what a CPA was, and that it could lead to a better life. Thanks to the CPA profession, I grew up to be able to live the great American Dream.

I am honored and excited to write to you as the new AICPA Chairman of the Board of Directors. I believe the CPA profession is full of even more promise today than it was when I first started my career. For those with determination, adaptability and persistence, the profession offers extraordinary possibilities. I’ve learned the key to achieving that success: embracing change and seeing the opportunities in it.

There are three ways we can make sure to continue the vibrancy of the profession for the future:
  • We need to actively monitor and address changes in the world around us. A mark of our profession’s greatness is the ingenuity and intelligence with which we anticipate and respond to change. The AICPA is actively engaged in developments related to globalization of business, audit quality, attest services, financial reporting, legislation and regulation, tax law, technology and more. In addition, CPAs who hold the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation will determine what management accounting looks like in the future, and will be integral to shaping the profession as we move through the 21st Century. We must continue to address challenges and shape our future on many fronts.
  • We must maximize our talent pool by making sure everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or anything else is aware of the rewards and possibilities of the accounting profession. We need to make the profession more desirable to the smartest people from all backgrounds. During my term, we’ll be redoubling our efforts to achieve diversity. In Sept., we launched the AICPA National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, which brings together advocacy groups and employers to help all stakeholders implement best practices while sharing resources and knowledge. We also will be focusing on improving gender diversity in the profession and promoting women’s advancement. Attaining enhanced diversity today will help the profession recruit the brightest minds of tomorrow. The nation’s demographics are changing, and it’s essential that the profession be an open one that makes our clients, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders feel welcomed.
  • We have to develop a sustainable framework so the profession continues to thrive. To accomplish that goal, we will have to challenge ourselves in several areas. We must, for one, remain deeply involved in advocacy in Washington to protect the interests of the profession and the public. We also need to do some introspection. For instance, I think we should consider whether it’s time to change our firm revenue model and the way our practices are structured and managed to meet the needs and expectations of a new generation. And we have to ensure new CPAs are prepared to take on leadership responsibilities and become the stewards of our profession in years to come.

The beauty of being a CPA is that the opportunities never end. The same can be said of our profession as a whole: Many opportunities await us if we identify and seize them. We can’t leave the future of our profession to chance. I’m excited to work with all of you to position our profession for future success by affecting the changes that lie ahead instead of them affecting us.  

Richard J. Caturano, CPA, CGMA, Chairman of the Board of Directors, American Institute of CPAs

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