The 2020s: A decade of change

The next decade is expected to bring huge technological advancements and important demographic changes to the CPA profession as well as the business world.

As they look forward to the next 10 years, firm leaders predict that to be successful, CPAs will need to:

  • Be willing to look at things differently and do things differently, according to Johanna Sweaney Salt, CPA, CGMA, a partner with Gray, Salt & Associates LLP in California.
  • Develop the technical and cultural capacity to serve clients who come from growing segments of the population such as the immigrant, Latino, and LGBT communities, said Marianela del Pino-Rivera, CPA, MBA, founder of Del Pino Rivera CPA in Bowie, Md.
  • Think differently about recruiting and retaining talent and develop more expertise in data and analytics, according to Shawana Hudson, CPA, a partner with Thomas & Gibbs CPAs PLLC in Durham, N.C.

Learn more in this video:

Ken Tysiac ( is the JofA’s editorial director.


Johanna Sweaney Salt: I know that the next decade is going to bring tons of change, just looking back at the last decade, how many changes there have been. And in order to prepare for that, I think we have to adopt a mindset of being willing to look at things differently, to do things differently. You know we talk about the audit of the future and how technology is allowing us to do things so much faster and better and more thorough than we have in the past, but we still need a CPA to oversee that — to oversee the data gathering and data analytics, etc.

Marianela del Pino-Rivera: In the next 10 years, I expect that we CPAs are going to have a big opportunity to help our clients with retirement management and also with this large transfer of wealth that is happening, going from one generation to another. I see a lot of opportunities for us to help our clients deal with that and manage that. We know a lot about the dynamics of our clients, their family dynamics and such. I think we’re in a very unique position to help manage that transfer of wealth. Looking forward, I think that we need to grow in terms of outreach to the immigrant communities, the LGBT community, to Latinos. We need to not only have the technical expertise to service those clients, but we need to have the cultural competencies in order to be able to provide the services to that community, those communities, because that’s our world, and it’s very important that we are able to service them.

Shawana Hudson: I see the next 10 years being a period of even greater change for our profession. I certainly think that as CPAs that we need to just embrace that change and be willing to try new things faster. We're not known for, probably, for being the quickest to change, but I think that it also means that we're going to have to think about how we include more perspectives in the profession, how we're recruiting talent, how we're retaining that talent, who we are attracting to become CPAs.

I think having definitely more expertise in data and analytics, making sure that we are including a diverse group of folks who are interested in client service, and so all of those things will be important to make sure that we remain relevant as a profession going forward.

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