As Olivia F. Kirtley takes the chair of the AICPA board of directors, she is establishing many firsts. She is the first member from business and industry, the first woman and the first from Kentucky to hold the post. Kirtley made her inaugural address at the AICPA fall council meeting in Fort Lauderdale. In her speech she expressed the hope that her public practice background would give her a both-sides-of-the-coin view of the profession as it begins implementing the Vision.
As we head into this historic time for our profession, I see a once-in-a-lifetime chance to put our fingerprints on the future. To do this, we must be willing to change and be key players in enhancing our clients and employers decision-making ability. The Vision for the profession that you and Iand thousands of our colleaguescarved out is demanding it, said Kirtley in her opening remarks.
Kirtley identified five key initiatives that she will aggressively champion during this year:
- First and foremost, implement the Vision. The CPA Vision is not just for public practice or industry or government or academics, she said. Its for all of us. Kirtley announced that many former AICPA chairmen had volunteered their time and made a personal commitment to advancing the Vision.
- Escalate the AICPAs ongoing political involvement. As part of this initiative, Kirtley described the new AICPA political leadership cabinet. Jake Netterville, former chairman of the board, will head the group, which will serve as an advisory panel to the board of directors, PAC and the Washington staff. The cabinet will lead the way toward making our membership more politically astute.
- Increase the AICPAs activity in the international area. Small firms, large firms and companies of all sizes are facing global challenges as well as opportunities. Kirtley said that the U.S. accounting profession, as the largest, most advanced in the world, should take a leadership role on the international scene. Major efforts are under way to harmonize accounting and auditing standards internationally. We have just formed an international committee of members knowledgeable about those standards as well as international issues. Through this committee and the AICPA staff, we will work aggressively with the SEC and FASB to address the issues that international standards create for the U.S. economy and the U.S. profession. We will strive to have a voice in finding ways to make financial reporting a common language across borders. The PCPS executive committee has just formed a task force to pave the way to international firm alliances and service exchanges, and the Institute will be adding at least two new conferences on international business.
- Develop a knowledge and information management system within the AICPA. To deal with the fast-approaching world of anytime, anyplace information, the Institute must develop a structure to facilitate the sharing of both financial and nonfinancial business information and organizational intelligence. Kirtley sees an opportunity to position the AICPA as a premier information channel in a world of unlimited information and sources. By mid-1999, we will be rolling out InfoCenter to anchor the Institutes knowledge management structure, she said. Making full use of online capabilities, it will provide a single point of entry for AICPA information. It will also serve as committee central,a common work space where staff liaisons, committee members and other interested members can collaborate and share information.
- Increase diversity in the profession. Kirtley feels that an effort must be made to make the profession look more like America. This will involve a multitude of efforts in recruiting, education, communication, marketing and human resources in order for the profession to reflect the changing demographics in the marketplace of the future.
Kirtley anticipates a year of managing change to help make the transitions smoother and easier. Honest and open dialogue is pivotal in this effort, and she expects to devote much of her time to fostering good relations and maintaining communication with the state societies, the federal and state regulators, schools of accountancy and business schools.
In closing, Kirtley told council members that CPAs have been guardians of the public trust in this century and have earned the trust of our society. The initiatives outlined in her speech will help the profession continue that role into the next century.