Young business woman making notes at a roundtable meeting

Our first series of round tables offered stakeholders the chance to voice their concerns and share their ideas on the future of the accounting profession. (Photo by Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

Accounting | The Profession

What we learned from the September Foresight: Reimagining the Profession round tables

Impact of technology and the need to develop new skills are top of mind for many CPAs

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Our first series of round tables offered stakeholders the chance to voice their concerns and share their ideas on the future of the accounting profession. Based on two days of questions, discussions and debates, here are three of the most pressing issues CPAs are facing:

The rise of technology

There is serious concern over how artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies, such as blockchain, will impact the accounting profession. How many jobs might be lost? But also, how many might be created in this new landscape? Participants debated the risks they’re facing and engaged in brainstorm sessions on how CPAs can embrace the inevitable tech revolution and find opportunity within it.

Transitioning roles

A topic raised by multiple participants revolved around CPAs moving away from the traditional roles of measuring and reporting to being more of a strategic business partner working with the Board and the senior team to enhance the value of the organization. The discussion also touched on the role the accounting profession can play in helping CPAs develop the skills and competencies needed to succeed.

Uncertain drivers of change

In working groups, attendees discussed their most prominent drivers of change and identified those which have the most uncertainty around them while potentially having the most impact on the profession. Understanding the shared economy versus owned assets, the value created by intangible versus tangible assets and real-time data decision-making were three key drivers of uncertainty.

These initial round tables aimed to put a framework in place for identifying key issues and beginning a dialogue around them. CPA Canada will continue these discussions in future round tables and workshops throughout the fall and into early 2019, mapping out plausible scenarios for the future of the profession and what needs to be done to help our members and other stakeholders prepare for that future.

Have your say

Participate in Foresight by joining the digital discussion and sharing your thoughts on a new series of questions related to the future of the accounting profession. Also make sure to check out our website for more details on the project, including videos of our round table speakers, digital discussion insights and other news.