Imagine having a conversation with 1,000 CPAs about the biggest things keeping them up at night and what they think about the future.

That is what I love about our town hall tours. 

I just wrapped up our fall town hall meetings / professional issues updates (PIUs), with almost 1,000 members coming to hear the latest trends and issues and particpate in a conversation around the future of the CPA profession. Here is our full slide presentation

It is part of our efforts to help our CPAs be future-ready and anticipate the future. And, it is free (4 hours of free CPE)!

It starts with the three megatrends of technology, demographics and globalization that are driving the five trends that we call the “shift change.”

We used our web-based audience response system, conferences.io, to get real-time stats and feedback. The polling and trends starts the conversations with our members. 

Here are our insights from these conversations.

The top six issues for fall 2014 are:

  1. Keeping up (with government regulations and standards)
  2. Not enough time
  3. Information overload
  4. Being reactive versus proactive
  5. Doing more with less
  6. Talent development
This was based on an audience of 56 percent boomers and matures, 31 percent Gen Xers, and 13 percent millennials.
 
Below is a slide presentation with all of the polls, statistics and FAQs during the tour.  
 
Special thanks to our sponsors: Sage, CPA.com, Wolters Kluwer / CCH, Simplified Innovations, Microsoft, Tallie, Intacct, Bill.com, BB&T, Aon, and RJP.
 

 
Talent development is at the top of the list for Gen X and Gen Y
When we analyzed the results for Gen X and Gen Y, talent development rose to third place. The emerging leaders (Gen X) said they need leadership and management training to manage Gen Y and boomers. They also said Gen Y needs support for early career skills like time management, communication, prioritizing, and specific systems skills. Gen Y ranked talent development as their top priority.
 
One surprise was the number of members in the “new category” of public / client accounting / consulting (see slide 9), who represented 10 percent of our participants. This was asked to be added at the end of our spring tour. It represents the fastest growing segment of public accounting and includes the “CFO advisory services” we often hear about.
 
The biggest conversations focused on three things:
  • Generational issues around the shift in leadership and how to lead across the very different generations in the workforce.
  • Transformation to a open. collaborative business model and the infrastructure changes of IT (cloud) and open, collaborative office space.
  • Information overload caused by government regulations and late actions around tax laws, incuding the challenges of dealing with the IRS.

Other major conversations in the technical areas incuded the pending ACA, the new SSARs 21 standard, FASB-PCC, and AICPA FRF-SME offering new flexibility for CPAs serving the SMB (Small and Medium Business) market.

As promised here is our background and resources on our MACPA office and cloud move:

What do you think? Tell us what your take is on these issues, making the “shift change”, etc.

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