Three ways to outpace change in extraordinary times

Kimberly N. Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA,
Chairman, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
Chairman, American Institute of CPAs

“The future is now” used to be a progressive call to action. These days, that adage falls short. The pace of change is accelerating so rapidly that the future isn’t now – it is something that happened yesterday.

We are living in one of the most extraordinary times in history. Every day, our news feeds are filled with headlines of political turmoil, business disruption, economic setbacks and cyberattacks around the world. Some of this is not new – politics and the economy have been daily topics of discussion for centuries. What is new is that far-reaching disruption is happening overnight. And technology is the fundamental driver of much of it.  

Since I became of Chairman of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the united voice of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), I’ve had the great pleasure of chatting with many of you all around the world. From Johannesburg to Manchester to Wichita, we’re all feeling technology’s impact. But this is an exciting moment for the profession.  By using these emerging technologies to our advantage, we will reap the benefits of unprecedented opportunities. First, though, we must outpace the pace of change. 

Here are three major ways we can do that:

  1. Agility. Now, more than ever, we need to be nimble, evolving faster than the business landscape around us. We must understand how new and increasingly complex standards and regulations will affect our businesses and clients on domestic and world stages. We must serve as the strategic partners they need, providing expertise and guidance to leverage opportunities and mitigate risks to business models. And we must seize opportunities to help them become the disruptor, not the disrupted. From business model transformation to improving the auditing process with data analytics, the Association is here to help you increase your professional dexterity.
  2. Upskilling. In this ever-changing business environment, we must continue evolving beyond our traditional roles. According to the World Economic Forum, more than a third of skills considered important today will no longer be relevant in five years.   To remain valuable and essential, we must master the skills of tomorrow today. The Association has created a library of eLearning modules designed to help professionals in every accounting discipline achieve their greatest potential.
  3. Expanding. We need continue enhancing quality in our core areas such as finance, tax and audit. But we must also seize new opportunities to inspire trust and confidence in emerging service areas such as cybersecurity risk management. As the number and sophistication of data breaches grow, risk mitigation has never been more important. CPAs and CGMA designation holders can help organizations design, describe and report on their cyber risk management programs. And that’s just one of many new and exciting ways we can assert our value. We must always be ready for what’s next, and the Association is here to guide the way.

We stand at the intersection of anticipation and preparation.  By getting ahead of change, we’ll be well-positioned to help our clients and businesses navigate through these increasingly complex times – to help usher our world into a better tomorrow.  No matter where your professional journey takes you, The Association will provide you the knowledge, support and tools needed to excel. Visit aicpaglobal.org/extraordinarytimes for quick access to several of our most requested resources, and together, we’ll harness the power of technology to grow, learn and serve, faster and better. Together, we’ll power trust, opportunity and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide.