MACPA board member Dr. Wallace “Wally” Boston has been honored by the American Public University System as President Emeritus. Boston, the CEO of American Public Education, previously served as president of APUS.

The mission of APEI and its subsidiary, APUS, is “to provide high quality higher education with emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities by offering respected, relevant, accessible, affordable, and student-focused online programs that prepare students for service and leadership in a diverse, global society.”

Innovative education
An MACPA member since 1981, Boston began his career with Price Waterhouse. He spent 17 years in the health care industry, working as CFO at three companies and COO and CEO at a fourth. Joining the then-private equity backed APEI in 2002, he led the organization through the accreditation process and its 2007 IPO. APEI has received national recognition for its quality initiatives under his leadership, and Boston has found the time to author or co-author numerous publications on online learning, student engagement and retention, as well as serve on numerous higher education boards.

Reflecting on his award, Boston said, “I am honored that the Board of Trustees of APUS decided to bestow me with the title of President Emeritus of APUS. … I was fortunate to work with many great colleagues who helped me develop and grow the online institution from 4,000 to 92,000 students from 2004 to 2016.”

Boston notes that many of the online technology and curriculum changes that APUS pioneers and shared with other institutions have been embraced by others.

Looking to the future of education, Boston says online higher education has been embraced by working adults for its convenience and accessibility.

“As the traditional campuses find it more difficult to maintain or reduce tuition and fees, APUS should be in a position to benefit from our mission of providing affordable education,” Boston said. “Over the past few years, as technology has improved the ability to offer quality science labs at a distance, we have added programs in STEM and intend to add doctoral programs as well.”

As CEO of APEI, the parent company of APUS, Boston says he looks forward to seeing APUS continue to adapt to changing education needs of workers and employers. He notes that APEI has recently invested in nursing licensure programs, and looks forward to expanding those and similar healthcare programs as well as making investments in relevant education/career learning companies.

The future of the accounting profession
I asked Boston what his thoughts are on the future of the accounting profession, and recommendations for those in the profession to adapt more readily to a remarkably fast-changing environment driven by exponential changes in technology.

“I think there will always be a need for accountants and CPAs,” says Boston. “Auditors will need to be more adept at using technology to audit. Artificial intelligence will eliminate some jobs and boost the earnings of accountants who are capable of understanding and implementing technology for their companies or their firms.”

Boston urges accountants to “pay attention to what is happening.” He is a strong believer in learning and building upon the wisdom of others, has numerous book recommendations to share, and has written reviews of many books in his blog. Among his recommendations (with links to his related book reviews for the first four):

MACPA ties and events
In addition to his service at APEI and APUS, Boston has long been a strong supporter of the MACPA as a board member. Wallace has offered valuable insights on education, continuing education, and overall strategy.

The MACPA’s upcoming events aimed at students and educators include the 2017 Student Leadership Academy taking place on June 1-3 in Towson, Md., and the 2017 Accounting Educators Conference taking place on June 5 in Columbia, Md.

CPAs across the professional spectrum – in audit, business and industry, government and not-for-profits — looking to become more future-ready can find a wealth of programs, including our upcoming Business and Industry Conference (May 18, simulcast available), Beach Retreat (June 28-30), and more at macpa.org/events.

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