Tom Vucinic, CPA, is the president of Becker Professional Education, a global leader in professional education, serving the accounting, finance and project management professions. This Q&A was prepared by AICPA Editor-At-Large Rick Telberg.
What are the key trends and issues impacting CPAs today? And, what should CPAs be doing to meet those challenges?
Obviously, the accounting profession has not been immune to the global recession. Many articles have addressed firm downsizing and significant dips in hiring numbers at universities. It is more important than ever for accountants to stay abreast of recent developments in the profession. For example, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is back on the SEC’s agenda and will undoubtedly require a significant re-tooling effort for many accountants.
How can employers build the agile “learning organizations” needed in these rapidly changing times?
A commitment to learning is essential for an organization to be recognized as a “great place to work.” Firms must go beyond “lip service” and create training opportunities that employ technology 24/7—not just satisfy CPE credit requirements. The training paradigm needs to shift from a commodity to a provider of timely and relevant knowledge.
What are the key skills and capabilities employers expect from CPAs today?
There are two major hot topics in the news. First, codification of accounting standards drastically changed the way accounting research is conducted. Second, the eventual change to a global set of accounting standards suggests a major re-tooling effort will occur. Accountants must understand the impact these two items have on daily responsibilities and pursue educational tools to ease this transition.
How can Becker help?
We know we are in the middle of tough economic times. Successful organizations like Becker Professional Education recognize that sharing our partners’ pain is the most effective way to ensure we share in their future success. We have sat across the table from our customers to hear first-hand their concerns, and we have adjusted our strategies to address them. It is important to emphasize innovation in product and service and to streamline processes.
What else should CPAs know about trends in the industry and your company’s solutions?
Quality customer service is magnified during tough economic times. Quality results from developing personnel. Becker Professional Education has invested more than 50 years in developing proven solutions that educate and elevate professionals in the fields of accounting, finance and project management. We’re proud of the role we’ve played in helping more than 400,000 professionals advance their careers and achieve success through our Exam Review and Continuing Professional Education programs.