Strength in Numbers 

Published May 25, 2016

Go to city hall to express a concern, and you might not get too much attention. Get your entire neighborhood to go, and you’re more likely to get action. That’s the same principle behind the AICPA’s recent proposal with The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). They’re proposing to create a new international association, while maintaining the AICPA and CIMA membership bodies, in large part to elevate the level of advocacy on behalf of the profession. Together, they would represent more than 600,000 current and next-generation professionals across practice areas and geographic regions.

As international regulation continues to increase, there’s a lot greater likelihood it will have an impact in the U.S. With the voice of 600,000 professionals, the new association made up of AICPA and CIMA can have more influence to protect the public interest from onerous and unnecessary regulations.

There are also other benefits from that scope. To fully understand the proposal, it’s important to understand the impetus behind it.

Trends Impacting Today’s Business Environment
In order to anticipate and keep the profession at the leading edge of success, the AICPA has analyzed a number of economic, demographic, technological and accounting trends affecting CPAs, the businesses they work for and the clients they serve. Two trends in particular affect CPAs in public accounting, including:

  • Trade. The center of world economic activity is shifting toward cities within emerging markets. A recent McKinsey Global Institute study found that in 2000, 95% of Fortune Global 500 companies were headquartered in developed economies. By 2025, McKinsey predicts nearly 50% of the largest companies will be headquartered in emerging markets. We know that as these companies move, so also will their suppliers, affecting many privately-held companies served by Main Street accounting firms.
  • Technology. Technological innovation continues to accelerate at breakneck speed. By 2020, cloud computing is expected to surpass local infrastructure. In sheer volume, software as a service is projected to grow from $21 billion in 2011 to $133 billion in 2020, according to a Deloitte study. This advancement in technology is significantly impacting how business is done, how CPAs deliver services and how they maintain their own skills and competencies.

Advocacy as Key Benefit
For firms that primarily serve private companies, enhanced international advocacy stands out as the proposal’s key benefit. Smaller firms are in the early stages of seeing the impact of international issues. However, given today’s business environment, and in light of the trade and technology trends cited earlier, it’s only a matter of time before smaller firms will be regularly helping clients solve challenges related to managing international investments or conducting business across borders.

Regulations are increasingly originating internationally, only to be brought forth for discussion in the U.S. Take the OECD’s Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) study as an example. BEPS has released numerous papers to try to influence global tax rules. The U.S. adopted some of the BEPS recommendations when drafting their new Model Tax Treaty and, one in particular, Country-by-Country Reporting of Income, was recently adopted by the Internal Revenue Service when they released proposed regulations in that area. The AICPA’s proposal seeks to give CPAs a stronger voice in shaping what happens beyond U.S. borders, and would give CPAs an additional opportunity to gain insights about these issues before they impact their firms and clients—and the public interest.

Together the AICPA and CIMA will represent over 600,000 accounting professionals. Firms and clients would benefit from this powerful, enhanced international and domestic platform to address issues critical to the public interest and capital markets. Through the new association, the AICPA and CIMA would have members in 91 percent of the world’s countries and 33 offices in the U.S. and abroad to support members and students all over the world.

With an expanded global presence, the AICPA’s proposal would maintain the CPA profession’s influence worldwide. The proposal would create a broader network of specialized professionals who can provide insightful perspectives on emerging trends and technologies, which allows CPAs to get ahead of them and better serve clients.

What Would Remain Constant
CPAs serving in firms of all sizes can always count on the AICPA’s—and its Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS)—commitment to your needs. The AICPA will continue its focus on advancing the profession into the future, and PCPS will remain dedicated to providing you and your practice with a dependable professional home, as well as valuable practice management resources, tools and information. In fact, the PCPS Executive Committee, composed of members representing firms of all sizes, assessed the proposal and determined it benefits practitioners and the profession.

The Institute will continue all activities designed to promote, protect and grow the core of the profession—the CPA.

Nothing changes day-to-day for current members under the proposal—but you would gain additional international advocacy and a broader network of like-minded accounting professionals. Your membership in the AICPA (and your firm’s membership in PCPS) won’t change. AICPA dues will not increase as a result of the proposal.

Vote Today – Ballot Closes June 16
The proposal, which requires member approval via an electronic ballot, has received widespread support from leaders in many different parts of the profession. Fifty-two state CPA societies have agreed to support it, as well as the PCPS Executive Committee, which believes it will enable the AICPA to better protect and promote CPAs’ interests in the U.S. as well as around the world.

Accounting is a dynamic profession, and the AICPA is passionate about preserving its vitality and relevance for the future. We want you to be fully informed about this proposal. You can learn more at www.aicpa.org/horizons.

We encourage you to vote in favor of this important effort. To do so, you will need to find the email you received from “AICPA Independent Tabulator." If you can’t find that email, visit directvote.net/aicpa to have the email sent to you again.




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