FAQs

Leadership Academy FAQs 

  1. Why was the Leadership Academy created?
  2. What is the main principle of the Leadership Academy?
  3. What is the importance of the Leadership Academy to the AICPA and the accounting profession?
  4. What does the investment in Leadership mean to the profession?
  5. What impact does this leadership training have on the participants? What are some of the successes you have seen?
  6. What do you think is the most important aspect of the training at Leadership Academy?
  7. Why should someone apply?
  8. Why is the program unique?
  9. How do you know the program is successful?
  10. Who should apply?
  11. What kind of activities should a participant expect?
  12. Who do I contact if I have additional questions?



  1. Why was the Leadership Academy created?

    The AICPA Leadership Academy, launched in 2009, was designed to provide an immersive experience to engage young professionals with the profession, the future, the AICPA and each other. Since then, more than 270 CPAs ranging in age from 25 to 35 have been inducted into the program.

    The experience has been carefully designed, and updated each year, to keep pace with our rapidly evolving environment; addressing the reality of our young professionals practicing in not only a global context but a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. Rather than teach and practice models of leadership that are static and context specific, the AICPA Leadership Academy is designed to focus on developing an adaptive mindset in the young leader and promotes

    • flexible, strategic and future-minded thinking,
    • reflective, honest self-awareness of strengths and habits of mind (pro and con),
    • improved understanding of best practices of managing others as well as cross-teaming with colleagues (no direct authority),
    • a system perspective on the profession (rather than specific to public, B&I, government or education), and
    • a commitment to being an active steward of the profession.

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  2. What is the main principle of the Leadership Academy?

    Participants focus on developing their leadership strengths using a strategic thinking process and insight model that support the relationships they form, enhances their decision-making ability and desire to be models of exemplary service in the accounting profession.

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  3. What is the importance of the Leadership Academy to the AICPA and the accounting profession?

    Like most organizations, the Institute is investing in young leaders as a part of our stewardship and legacy.

    This very unique opportunity attracts the best and brightest from across the country to understand and learn more about leadership as it relates to their personal competency sets.

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  4. What does the investment in Leadership mean to the profession?

    Investing in young members today bolsters the sustainability of the accounting profession far into the future by building on inherent leadership competencies.

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  5. What impact does this leadership training have on participants? What are some of the successes you have seen?

    One of the challenges we encounter is adequately describing the very unique and individualistic experience that participants have during Leadership Academy. However, a common thread that permeates through all attendees is the development of a strong professional network and that they are forever changed by the overall experience.

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  6. What do you think is the most important aspect of the training at Leadership Academy?

    During the AICPA's vetting process, we focus on a wide and varied balance of individuals. In fact, the selected candidates represent a balance of geography, specialization, organization size, gender and ethnicity. This diversity enriches conversations during the program and sets a positive example of inclusivity.

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  7. Why should someone apply?

    The common traits participants hold, their love of the profession, their desire to improve themselves the commonality of a shared experience form the foundation of the strong ties that unite participants well beyond Leadership Academy. Consistent feedback from graduates is primarily focused on how the program forever changed their perspective about accounting while simultaneously leveraging positive executive presence.

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  8. Why is the program unique?

    Strategic thinking is taught through the i2a Strategic Thinking System which provides structure, tools and guidance in collaborative strategic planning and development. Participants experience the process of anticipatory thinking, building consensus, designing strategies and developing priorities. The i2a System of resources is available to, and for, participants to apply in their own professional contexts.

    The AICPA Leadership Academy, has from the beginning, emphasized personal accountability in the leadership journey. Our authors, who are also our instructors, bring to the Academy a learning curriculum built on evidence-based practices that address character and consciousness as well as competency. Alongside the professional issues update, environmental scan and i2a process we engage our participants in learning and discussion as it relates to their strengths, core values, thinking styles, well-being, resiliency and leadership vision. Our intention is to ensure that the Academy Alumni return home with a sense of unconditional responsibility to their own development so that they can best serve their sponsoring organizations and the profession in their leadership capacity.

    The AICPA Leadership Academy seeks to impact its participants in such a meaningful way that they will immediately realize the benefits of new knowledge, cutting edge ways to think and lead others as well a new network of reliable professional relationships. But, even more importantly, it is our intention that decades later, they will find themselves mentoring rising young professionals and still reflect on the AICPA Leadership Academy as a turning point in their personal and professional lives.

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  9. How do you know the program is successful?

    Graduates openly express an exponential increase in their desire and passion to make a difference for the future of the accounting profession.

    Numerous individuals serve on committees or boards at the state level or AICPA. In fact, many have or are currently serving as AICPA council representatives.

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  10. Who should apply?

    In order to qualify, applicants must:
    • Be a voting member of the AICPA
    • Be a voting member of a state CPA society or affiliate organization (such as NABA, ASCEND, ALPHA, etc.)
    • Have a minimum experience equal to 3-years in the accounting profession
    • Meet the age requirement between 25-35

    These criterions ensure all attendees have the same level of accounting exposure which enhances the collective atmospheric dialog during sessions.

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  11. What kind of activities should a participant expect?

    Leadership Academy builds on the foundational knowledge perspective of each individual and focuses on experiential exercises. During the program, everyone has a uniquely different experience with one common thread – attendees walk away personally and professional transformed. Participants are immersed in evening activities which establishes collaborative thinking and strong-bonds that last a lifetime.

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  12. Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

    Please direct any additional questions to the AICPA Leadership Academy team at LeadershipAcademy@aicpa-cima.com.

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