As the new Chair for the AICPA and Chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, I am honored to step into this role, following Bill Pirolli, and I’m passionate about the needles we can move forward and the plans we can collectively implement.
Building on the powerful platform that AICPA & CIMA have, I want to empower fellow members to view challenges as opportunities, and I want to inspire students to pursue an accounting career. Therefore, during my tenure as chair, I will focus on three areas: helping others reach their potential, both professionally and personally; increasing diversity within accounting and finance teams; and preserving trust in the profession.
Helping other search their potential professionally and personally
In support of the next generation of accountants, I plan to visit high schools, colleges and universities to share with them the opportunities that can arise with an accounting degree, and how the profession is one that allows a person to grow into new areas of interest and their passion.
Career opportunities are expanded with an accounting degree, and there is more than one path to take to become a CPA or achieve the CGMA® designation. Programs such as This Way to CPA and the Registered Apprenticeship Program for Finance Business Partners are designed to guide a person in their journey and support them along the way with resources, mentors and professional experience.
Apprenticeship programs are also beneficial to employers. Bridging the gap between academia and the working world, apprenticeships allow companies to improve their approach to recruitment and broaden a diverse talent pool.
Diversity makes the accounting profession stronger
As a profession, accounting is positioned to solve even the most challenging issues. Having more people — different voices, cultures and perspectives — around the table or “Zoom room” enhances our ability to solve complex problems.
My story is proof of that. The challenges I faced earlier in my life taught me perseverance and gave me a unique perspective that I have carried with me throughout my career.
Moving across the world — from India to the United States — in the early 1970s was not easy. The first few years were tough, but this change came with many new opportunities, one of which was becoming a CPA. And it was because of mentors like my father, who was a chartered accountant for more than 60 years, and my high school accounting teacher, Mr. Ed Miller, that I decided to pursue this profession.
It is our responsibility to show the next generation of accountants how to harness the varied opportunities that come along with this career path and support their journey.
To attract top talent, reflect our communities and meet the needs of the public we serve, we must embody a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. Enhancing diversity in the profession is more than a 12-month project and will require a commitment from each firm and business.
Further, with the cultural and organizational shift brought about by the pandemic — remote working, hybrid working and the Great Resignation — we need to provide flexibility to staff, especially to women. Many women felt extra pressure and demands to leave the workforce throughout the pandemic, and we need to allow them to re-enter the workforce and not lose the progress they’d made in the company and in their careers.
Benefiting from a diverse set of perspectives allows the profession to prosper and enhances trust.
Trust is the cornerstone of our profession
There’s a reason accounting and finance professionals are called trusted advisers. We counsel clients and colleagues, guiding them through important steps to reach decisions that invoke confidence. We preserve trust in the profession by continuing to offer thoughtful advice for strategic and ethical decision-making.
Trust is engendered when accountants have insight into effective quality management systems and risk mitigations.
For example, the Dynamic Audit Solution facilitates finance professionals in transforming the financial statement audit through a transparent and innovative cloud platform. The SOC for Supply Chain framework fosters transparency in organizations’ supply chains. Additionally, we’re leading the way to a new CPA licensure model and appealing to future CPAs with CPA Evolution, a joint initiative of the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
As we move toward economic recovery, we’ve worked diligently to mitigate risks to businesses and governments. When companies employ CPAs and CGMA designation holders, they have stayed afloat and are moving into sustainable business operations.
As we look toward the future, we occupy a critical role in promoting environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives because accounting and finance professionals understand data analytics and the necessity of clear reporting to stakeholders, board members, employees, consumers and investors. We need to hold corporations accountable to their stakeholders and incorporate clear ESG standards and measurements.
From enhancing cybersecurity and internal controls to initiating apprenticeships and ESG measurement, AICPA & CIMA support members with every challenge to ensure they can effectively guide clients, firms and organizations.
Step forward with confidence
For more than a century, the AICPA and CIMA have led the accounting profession forward. Now, as AICPA & CIMA, we have an even broader network of subject matter experts, thought leaders and game changers.
We are stewards who represent the opportunities the profession has given us. It’s our turn to provide opportunities to others, diversify the profession and continue to preserve trust in the profession.
Accounting and finance professionals everywhere — in every business and industry — have an important role to play. Let’s boldly step forward together.