Professional Issues

A white paper prepared by the AICPA’s Business and Industry Executive Committee reported that CPAs’ skills and values are well-suited to meet new demands facing chief financial officers. CPAs as CFOs: Why You Should Have a CPA in Your C-Suite says CPAs are particularly qualified to manage the unprecedented operational, financial and compliance risks of today’s global business environment. It’s available free at the AICPA’s newly launched Financial Management Center ( ).

Also available at the center are the results of the AICPA’s June 2005 Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey, which found that fewer CPAs in senior finance positions were optimistic about the U.S. economy than six months earlier. Still, the great majority of respondents were hopeful about their own organizations’ prospects.

In response to its governing council’s authorizing an effort to educate members and elicit their comments on achieving greater transparency of peer review results, the Institute has gathered member feedback directly and through state societies, town hall meetings, a dedicated Web site ( ) and an online poll. A status report on these activities is available at .

The AICPA reported that 54,000 accounting majors graduated in 2004, up 19% from 2000. Enrollments in accounting programs also are up 19% for the four-year period. According to the 2005 edition of the Institute’s annual study, The Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits, firms of all sizes are projecting double-digit percentage increases in their hiring of new accounting graduates through 2009. The report is available free at .

A joint task force of the AICPA, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and Thomson Prometric Inc. reported the results of its research into why enrollment for the CPA exam declined to 52,000 in the first year of computerized testing from 82,000 the year before. According to the CBT Volume Task Force report, candidates, employees and employers continued to value the CPA credential highly; candidates and employers also said the conversion to a computerized test was an improvement and exam fees were not an obstacle. Candidates most frequently cited work and family commitments as reasons for not taking the exam; they also said they felt no pressure from employers to take it and, because the test is offered on demand, procrastinated in scheduling it. The report recommended ways employers, exam course providers and state societies can help induce more candidates to sit for the exam. It’s available at .


What’s next for potential CPA licensure changes

A new model proposed by NASBA and the AICPA is designed with an eye on the future for newly licensed CPAs. The AICPA's Carl Mayes, CPA, provides background on the project and a look ahead to 2020.


What RPA is and how it works

Robotic process automation is like an Excel macro that can work on multiple applications, says Danielle Supkis Cheek, CPA. RPA can complete routine, repetitive tasks such as data entry, freeing up employee time from lower-level chores.