AICPA Council Meeting…On Future of the Profession

Wayne Berson, CEO-Elect, BDO USA, said he believes the firm must look outside the core areas to make sure the right talent is working on consulting services. “If we want to charge premium prices we have to provide value.” He added that everyone wants to grow, to provide service to more complex clients. “This is going to be the era of M&A.”

Chuck Allen, CEO, Crowe Horwath LLP, said a group of young professionals came to him with an idea to put R&D money into process improvement and bring those solutions to the clients and add great value. “For me it was a great opportunity to see some young partners come forward with future thinking.”

Jean Hobby of PwC said assurance is seeing a lot of growth and the potential is enormous. “If we continue to hire the best and the brightest, we’ll continue to be the profession that brings our clients the solutions.”

John Veihmeyer, CEO KPMG, said that the best talent in the next 10 years will be comfortable working on teams and will thrive in a collaborative environment.

Jean Hobby of PwC: “Diversity in the profession is a necessity and 10 years from now it will be an absolute requirement.”

AICPA Council Meeting…Audit Regulation / Quality

John Veihmeyer, CEO KPMG — “We can’t put our heads in the sand and say we don’t want anything to change.” He added, “If you believe that our people are talented and trying to do the right things, sometimes what gets in the way is the time allocated to do the tasks we’re asking them to do.” Let’s focus on the heart of the issue. We have some models where it’s working. “We have best practices examples out there.” He said, on mandatory firm rotation: “Let’s put to the side some things an awful lot of people think are wrongheaded in the way they’re currently being discussed.”

Lou Grabowsky, COO Grant Thornton, on firm rotation, said: “Let’s change the dialogue from defensive to offensive or aggressive.” Need good dialogue with executives and CEO of the companies. “We’re moved so far to a compliance discussion that we forget about a business discussion.” He said get more proactive in the dialogue. “Move our people from the staff room to the executive offices.”

Bill Freda, Vice Chair, Deloitte LLP, said the profession has made great strides. “The level of accountability for all of us is higher than it’s ever been and it’s moving in the right direction.”

AICPA Council Meeting…On Regulation/Human Capital Issues

Chuck Allen, CEO Crowe Horwath, “There’s nothing that makes  a professional feel better than to get positive feedback back from a peer or back from a client.”

Jean Hobby of PwC, “Our profession is becoming much more of a team activity.”

“We have a crisis at the audit partner level,” Lou Grabowsky COO of Grant Thornton. “They put their career on the table every single day.”

Audit practices are stressed, says Bill Freda, VIce Chair of Deloitte.

“It’s a very stressful profession.” says Wayne Berson, CEO-Elect of BDO.

AICPA Council Meeting…On Regulatory Challenges

Lou Grabowsky, COO, Grant Thornton LLP, says, “Quality begins at the top.” It’s at the foundation of how we try to executive our strategy. A number of ways we are driving quality is by continuously improving methodologies, improving data mining to determine root causes of problems, and measuring performance to reward quality.

Joe Adams, MP and CEO of McGladrey, said tone at the top is clearly critical but investment in people is important as well to teach professional judgment.

John Veihmeyer, CEO KPMG, says he has a simple litmus test when it comes to regulatory changes: “Will it help? Or make it more difficult to retain and attract the best people into this profession?”

IPA / AICPA 125th Anniversary/2012 Spring Meeting of Council

Comments and quotes from the opening dialogue, from AICPA President/CEO Barry Melancon…

  • “Potential changes to audit reports for public companies and mandatory firm rotation proposals may change the auditing process.”
  •  Melancon foresees a host of opportunities in assurance, including greenhouse gas emissions, sustainability of supply chains and more.
  • Melancon says ‘big data’ will likely change our thoughts about how we audit and what we audit to increase relevance and reliability.
  • Melancon noted that the federal tax form in 1917 was four pages long. “Will we ever get back to anything like that? Highly unlikely.”
  • AICPA released its tax insight service, allowing citizens to input their personal information and calculate their total tax burden. “There’s no other tool like it,” Melancon says.
  • Melancon says the CPA brand  is “extraordinarily strong. If we don’t continue to broaden, we will be left behind.
  • 13,500 members are signed up for the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) credential, which elevates the value proposition of the AICPA.
  • Melancon says  cloud computing has transformed the relationship between the practitioners and their clients. “Technology is a driver of change today and into the future of our profession. We have to embrace it.”
  • Melancon says 294 billion emails are sent every day. “It would take you eight years to watch one day of YouTube videos.” By 2020, research says cash will not be used in any significant way.
  • Melancon called creating more diversity in the profession “an economic imperative.”
  • “We’re the most trusted professional in the business space. Other professions would love to have the type of reputation that people in this room have.”