As we gear up for the MACPA’s annual Innovation Summit on June 16, we thought this would be a perfect time to have a conversation about the future with some of the Summit’s most forward-thinking sponsorship partners.

We asked each of them to give us their thoughts on the trends that are impacting the profession, the changing role of CPAs, and how their relationships with CPAs might be changing as a result. We’ll be featuring their answers here over the next few days.

Joining the conversation today is Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com (formerly CPA2Biz).

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1. We all know the trends that are impacting the profession today – social, mobile, the cloud. What are the next big trends that CPAs need to pay attention to?
Erik Asgeirsson: We need to remember we’re still at a very early stage in the digital revolution, so even though we think the next big thing is coming, we may be riding this wave for a while. I like to quote MIT professor Erik Brynjolfsson, co-author of The Second Machine Age, on this: “The full implications of the new machine age are going to take at least a century to play out.”

One trend to pay attention to, however, is the growth of crowdfunding and “peer-to-peer” lending embodied by Kickstarter, Kiva and the like. That, combined with new SEC rules on small business IPOs, could significantly change the role CPAs play in helping their clients obtain funding.

Another big change is coming in professional development for CPAs. An AICPA task force just issued a report on the future of learning, and it’s clear that lifelong learning for CPAs will have to be more interactive, personalized and focused on competencies rather than just compliance. Through innovation and experimentation, firms are going to play a key role in devising those new learning models.

2. How will the role that CPAs play change as time moves forward?
EA: CPAs will not be known solely as numbers people, but as true trusted business advisors to clients. Relationships with clients will be much more collaborative and CPAs will be more intrinsically involved in the decision-making process.

3. Is your relationship to the profession changing as a result?
EA: CPA.com is focused on empowering CPAs and businesses for the digital age by combining education and technology to help practitioners leverage these resources to elevate their value.

4. What’s the most important thing Innovation Summit attendees need to know about your business?
EA: As a subsidiary of the AICPA, CPA.com (formerly CPA2Biz) is focused on bringing relevant tools, processes and information to practitioners, so they can leverage the knowledge and experience of experts across the profession.  With our deep understanding and knowledge of the profession, and the needs of its practitioners, as well as our extensive connections to technology providers, consultants, leading firms, and the AICPA, CPA.com is uniquely positioned and able to build a complete curriculum that empowers practitioners for the digital age.

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