AICPA 125th Anniversary

The AICPA celebrated its 125th anniversary during its Council meeting in Washington DC May 16 – 18.  Usually council meetings have a number of business issues to deal with and while we did take care of important business issues such as approving the budget (be on the lookout for those dues statements), this meeting was more celebration than business.  Typically celebrations focus on the past and while we did spend some time highlighting where we have been, most of the time was spent looking at where we are going – as auditors, tax preparers, management accountants and everything else we as CPAs do and will do in the future.

 The future of auditing, like the whole professional, is critically linked to our ability to attract bright people with the right character in order to continue to provide continuing and new assurance and audit services.  But one of the issues hitting auditors hard today is keeping people involved in and excited about a career in audit.  I, like many of my B&I colleagues, came into the profession as an auditor, but decided to take my career in the profession to a different path.  Keeping people involved and excited about this core service of our profession is critical to the future of the CPA profession.  Audits are the root of the profession and without a strong root system, all the branches we have built off that will come down when the tree topples over.

 We heard from George Colony, CEO of Forrester research.  He presented a fascinating look on what is going on in the world where business and technology continue to blend.  Mr. Colony talked about four thunderstorms occurring in the intersection between the technology world and the business world today.  Those storms are

  1.  Death of the Web
  2. Post Social World
  3. The Changing Customer
  4. Mobile Engagement

 The final topic from the Council meeting I want to cover here is the panel discussion on the future of financial reporting.  The most interesting point was a stat from the chairman of the IIRC.  In 1975, financial reports indicated 83% of the value of an enterprise. In 2009 that value indication was down to 23%.  Clearly there is a disconnect between what investors need to know and what we produce.  For those of us in the public company world this should be a call to action to move to something more relevant.  One possibility is the integrated report.  The idea is to combine critical financial and non-financial information in a single integrated presentation that will provide users of the report what they need to make investment decisions.  The IIRC is in the middle of a pilot program with 75 companies worldwide to see how this would really work and then intends to use the results of the pilot to develop guidance on what should be in and how to produce an integrated report. If you want to know more about the IIRC effort, check out their website at www.theiirc.org

 There was so much more covered in the council meeting, but I can’t do it all justice in this blog.  Check out all of the articles from the Journal of Accountancy at www.journalofaccountancy.com to get a complete review of the happenings at the May 2012 Council meeting.

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