The Past, Present and Future of Accounting

This week I bring you a guest blog from Alan Pan, CPA. Alan is a first year PhD student at the University of North Texas.

As a member of the accounting community… Who are you? What are you? Where do you see yourself in the future? These are some of the questions discussed at the American Accounting Association’s 2015 Annual Meeting, “Building Bridges to the Future.”

Throughout history, the role of accountants had been highly respected from ancient China to European Empires. For any institution to expand and sustain, accounting is pivotal in tracking and assuring the functionality of operations and strategies.

But somewhere accounting lost its grandeur:

Rather than fixating on the problem, Dr. Charles Lee, an accounting professor at Stanford University, proposes solutions: (i) more inclusiveness between accounting practitioners & researchers, (ii) greater representation of accountants in society at large, (iii) further efforts to attract & retain talent in accounting (in competition with other professions), and (iv) more leaders willing to represent, guide others, and take action towards solutions.

In addition to addressing the image of accountants, we all need to adapt as technology changes the role of accounting. From automation of rule-based accounting procedures, big data & its analytics, artificial intelligence, to data privacy, the roles most closely associated with the contemporary accountant may soon become irrelevant. To keep relevant, those in accounting need to (i) adapt to emerging technologies, (ii) develop technologies, (iii) expand accounting practices, or (iv) you can always leave (retire from?) accounting.

So, who are you? What are you? And where do you see yourself in the future?

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