Our good friend Mark J. Koziel, CPA, and Vice President—Firm Services & Global Alliances, at the AICPA, has written a response to Richard Muscio’s blog post on the CPA Horizons 2025 Report.
Mark has also agreed to hold a conference call on January 19th, at 12pm (PST). If you are interested in attending, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is Mark’s reply:
I would like to thank you for highlighting the AICPA’s Horizon’s 2025 project. I wanted to respond to some of your statements regarding the result of the report and further elaborate on the report’s outcome and potential use to you and others within the profession.
As Tom Hood stated in a previous comment, this process was designed to get CPAs thinking about the future and looking at trends that affect our profession and what the profession, as a whole might look like.
The intent of the Horizon’s project is for each individual CPA to read the report and determine what affect it may have on their career. We are a diverse profession and this report is intended for all CPAs, not just those in public practice.
Your first observation stated the report concluded that “the services that CPAs provide have become so varied and diverse that the concept of core services is no longer representative of the profession.” This quote is not the ultimate summary of the report but just one of the findings based on updating the original Vision Project.
In the U.S. there are 15,000 publicly traded companies, 29 million small businesses, as well as not-for-profits and governments on the local state and federal level and they all utilize CPAs in different ways. The same way the core services of an FBI agent who is a CPA differ from those of an M&A consultant—no two clients are the same.
The key point is this: Because of their foundation in the core services of the profession, CPAs have been able to broaden their offerings, targeting areas of need for their clients and employers. I am a good example: of my 4 key job areas, only two would fit in the five core services listed in the Vision Project. Like me, many CPAs are expanding their services beyond any type of core financial position. The Core Values and Core Competencies help drive that.
You do bring up a great point that CPAs need to ask their customers what they want and what they are looking for, beyond just what they need. We encourage this of members through our client advisory board toolkit available to AICPA member firms who are part of the Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS). The Horizons 2025 report also touches on this concept in each of these four sections:
- Trusted Advisor
- Market Permissions
- Value Proposition
The key is to look at each of those areas, along with all of the sections to see how they will impact your practice in the future. We provide firms who are members of PCPS with a Horizon’s Facilitator’s Guide to help firms take the information in this report and make it relevant to their organization.
We are doing this with some of our AICPA committees to drill down and see how the results of the report will affect each of their areas differently.
In your post, you state there were three conclusions. All three conclusions appear to be from the conclusion to the Technology Insight section. Your post focused primarily on technology, but the Horizons 2025 report covers many other areas.
You are correct that technology cannot replace face-to-face meetings but technology can enhance those meetings. While some in the profession may be wary of social media, we should not block our young professionals from developing online relationships and networking with their peers.
I would look forward to discussing any of these items in person and I’ve asked Ron to set up a web call with the Verasage community to discuss this report. Again, I thank you for your interest.