Key Drivers of Change 


    Many powerful forces impact the CPA profession and the AICPA today, necessitating the need for sound strategy, adaptability and leadership.
    • Aging Population – As Baby Boomers reach retirement, replacing CPAs one for one will be difficult. Merger activity in small and medium public accounting firms is expected to increase and, as a result, succession planning is a critical issue for the profession.
    • Generational Values – Younger generations have expectations of the workplace that are different from those their parents and grandparents had. Young CPAs will average nine or more “careers” in their lifetime, and the risk of losing them along the way is great.
    • Diversity of U.S. Population – Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that in 2006 about 33 percent of Americans were from a minority group, up from 16 percent in the 1970s, and projected to grow to nearly 50 percent by 2050. Minorities make up about 21 percent of accounting professionals; even fewer are CPAs.
    • Federal and State Regulation – Federal regulators are expected to remain active in CPA firm quality issues. State regulators will continue to have influence upon professional matters, but uniformity will be essential for meeting economic and public interest needs.
    • Legislative Environment – We anticipate increased tax and fiscal debates, as well as new barriers to delivering CPA services that require legislative solutions.
    • International Convergence – As public accounting and auditing standards converge internationally, global public companies will benefit from the ability to comply with one set of standards and private company standards will become an even greater imperative.
    • Public vs. Private – Differences between public and private company services and standards remain critical, particularly in small firms and business and industry. Increasing complexity provides small firms with both opportunities and challenges as they work to serve as trusted advisers to America’s small businesses.
    • Tax Services – Major changes in tax law will continue to be enacted. While some tax services have become commoditized, opportunities for specialization also are emerging.
    • Technology – XBRL and other technologies will create efficiencies in financial reporting, but may increase commoditization of some CPA services. Technology also may drive fraud detection as new tools develop.
    • Capital Markets – To address the complexity described above, the capital markets will continue to count on audits to provide assurance of the reliability of financial statements.
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