insight magazine

Today's CPA | Summer 2018

Reaching Your Summit

Navigate the constantly changing professional landscape and conquer the unknown.
Todd Shapiro ICPAS President & CEO

I once told my boss, “I need to know what I don’t know, that I’ll need to know, before I know I need to know it.” That sounds crazy, but I’m guessing many of you have felt or feel the same way. Despite having amazing resources and digital assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Google, Siri, and more at our fingertips, figuring out what you need to know (not just what you want to know) is harder than ever.

Whether you’re in public accounting, corporate finance, consulting, or advising, the knowledge you need to not only survive in your job but to thrive in your job, is changing by the minute. You’re dealing with constant changes to accounting standards and tax acts, and new technologies like data analytics, robotic process automation, blockchain, cybersecurity, and more. Leading your clients and organizations through these changes is as critical as the changes themselves. How is one to keep up? Most importantly, keep looking forward.

I’m an avid downhill skier, and I love skiing in the trees. To do it safely and successfully (at least most of the time), you need highly developed skills, the foresight to always be looking three to four trees ahead, and the readiness to change course at a moment’s notice. Succeeding in the world of accounting and finance is no different.

Developing skills in data analytics, blockchain, and cybersecurity, for instance, is no longer optional or limited to professionals in large firms and mega-corporations. I was talking to a partner in a mid-sized firm who told me that while he still has clients that prefer paper and pencil, he also has clients who expect him to be tech savvy. Another seasoned mid-sized firm partner recently asked for resources to begin incorporating artificial intelligence and robotic process automation into his audit practice.

The competencies to be successful accounting and finance professionals in our future are not limited to technology, though. They also encompass technical, business, people, and leadership skills, which are becoming more interconnected in our digital world. The Illinois CPA Society is committed to helping you acquire the skills and knowledge to build these competencies and be future-ready. In addition to in-depth updates on standards updates and changes in tax laws, we have developed Academies of Learning in business development and data analytics, and we’ll add programs on cybersecurity and blockchain soon enough. Our upcoming, all-new ICPAS SUMMIT18 (formerly The Midwest Accounting and Finance Showcase) will also immerse you in hands-on, interactive learning on many of the topics mentioned above — and more.

Together, we’ll navigate the constantly-changing landscape ahead, making turns when necessary, and conquering the unknown. Just like skiing in the trees is for me, we will never be finished. Once we’re down the mountain, we’ll go right back up to do it all over again. That’s what life-long learning is all about — that’s what pursuing a passion is all about.

Leave a comment