Making Horizons 2025 Real

The AICPA held a special meeting bringing together about a dozen committee chairs in order to bring to life the vision brought forth in the Horizons 2025 initiative. We started the day with an overview of the Horizons 2025 results.  As noted in other articles and blogs, the Core Purpose of the profession has withstood the test of time and remains unchanged.  In case you never heard of the core purpose it is “CPAs…making sense of a changing and complex world.”  The core values also remained substantially unchanged. The core values are:

Integrity
Competence
Lifelong learning
Objectivity
Commitment to excellence
Relevance in global marketplace
The core competencies have evolved and include:
Communication skills
Leadrship skills
Critical thinking and problem solving skills
Anticipating and meeting needs
Synthesizing intelligence to insight
Integration and collaboration

Most interesting is that Technology is no longer listed as a discrete core competency. This is not because understanding and using technology is necessary for CPAs.  The change is because it no longer is considered a significant differentiator.  We live and work in a world where using cutting edge technology is the norm and not being able to do that means you never even make it through the door anymore.

The meeting focused on the key insights and what the AICPA is doing and needs to do to make sure we are delivering the future for our members.  The key insights included:

Technology
Pre-Certificaton and Lifelong Learning
Worldwide Profession
Market Permission
Trusted Attester
Pride in the Profession
Demographic Shifts
Trusted Advisor
Marketplace
Value Proposition

We came up with a list of concerns, ideas and actions around each of these areas.  Now the AICPA staff will incorporate this feedback into their plans to provide services and support to the profession.  One of many examples is around the impact of outsourcing.  This is enabled by changes in technology and creates challenges and opportunities around controls (the entity outsourcing the work is still responsible for the controls) and our role as trusted attester (through SOC reports).  It also creates a role for the CPA as trusted advisor in determining what makes sense to outsource and what does not. Some initiatives already exist in these areas and others we be developed as we go forward.  This is just one example of many that were developed in the meeting. The point is that at the AICPA, the strategic plan is not some document that sits on a shelf and gathers dust until the next time someone wants to update it.  The strategic plan is a living process that impacts everything the AICPA does through the volunteers to the staff, and that is the way it should be.

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