The expertise and value of the forward-thinking accountant
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The expertise and value of the forward-thinking accountant

6 months ago · 2 min read

As the business environment changes at a furious pace, organizations and individuals of all types need strategic advice that is best provided by accounting professionals.

In recent years, small businesses that needed governmental pandemic aid, individuals who were eager to grow their assets in volatile markets, and companies seeking to make their products more environmentally friendly all have turned to CPAs and CGMA designation holders for strategic direction.

That’s because these accounting professionals possess a rare combination of professional expertise, integrity and objectivity that enables them to provide value that’s unmatched in the business environment.

Education builds confidence

Young professionals begin to develop their expertise in the early stages of their careers through education as they prepare for the CPA Exam, a rigorous set of four tests that demands many hours of study. Many of these professionals forge a camaraderie with others who have the common goal to pass the Exam.

In addition to passing the Exam, to receive their CPA license candidates must fulfill an experience requirement that varies among the 55 licensing jurisdictions (all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).

To become a member of CIMA and/or earn the CGMA designation, accountants also must meet strict requirements. Depending on the path they take toward their qualifications, that may include rigorous educational training, passing the CGMA Exam and demonstrating three years of relevant professional experience.

The expertise that’s developed is reinforced through required continuing professional education (CPE) for CPAs and continuing professional development (CPD) for CIMA members. State CPE rules for maintaining a CPA license vary, but in many instances an average of 40 hours a year is required. This means that a typical CPA spends an average of an entire workweek per year undergoing professional training. CIMA members, meanwhile, are required to undergo and document as much learning as is necessary and is relevant to their role to remain professionally competent and meet their career goals.

The knowledge accounting professionals accumulate is built on a foundation of integrity and objectivity. CPAs who are AICPA members must adhere to a comprehensive, detailed Code of Professional Conduct that also has been adopted as a requirement by many states for all the CPAs they license. States that haven’t adopted the Code also have strict ethics requirements for licensure that apply to the CPAs in their jurisdictions. Meanwhile, CIMA members and students must follow CIMA’s Code of Ethics, which requires them to observe the highest standards of conduct and uphold the reputation of the profession.

Meeting all these requirements places accounting professionals in perfect position to serve as value partners to organizations and individuals of every kind.

Creating value

A recent survey by IBM showed that CEOs narrowly chose CFOs ahead of chief operating officers as their most important partners on the executive team. Meanwhile a recent Gartner survey said the top business priority for CFOs in 2021 and 2022 would be growth.

On the individual level, in the early days of the pandemic 75% of CPA financial planners reported having more contact with their clients than normal. Even in that time of huge economic uncertainty, more than half of CPA financial planners (54%) said their clients felt better about their finances after just the initial conversation with their CPA. And 97% of CPA financial planners made changes to their clients’ financial plans as a result of the pandemic.

Whether it’s CFOs at the largest corporations targeting growth or CPAs who serve investors by adjusting their portfolios, accounting professionals provide value that’s appreciated by CEOs, individuals and everyone in between.

Meanwhile, CPAs and CGMA designation holders are helping organizations with risk management; cybersecurity; and environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives because accounting professionals understand how to interpret data and use it to guide strategy.

The professional expertise, integrity and objectivity that accounting professionals possess helps them provide the right information at the right time, and that’s what helps them deliver value that can be trusted.

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