Learning Never Ends

June 23, 2022
In business, as in life, change is to be expected. And that pace of change is accelerating every day. Just one look at the accounting profession shows that what you know today may not be enough for tomorrow.

The profession has moved from record keeping and examining debits and credits to cloud accounting, data analytics, blockchain, AI and ESG. And CPAs are being turned to more often to provide strategic knowledge and leadership on a growing number of topics.

Adapting to—and anticipating—change means learning new things or learning to do things differently. 

Historically, people were generally hired based on a skill they possessed. The more experience in that skill, the more valuable they were seen. Today, while specialization remains relevant and valuable, more companies and clients are looking for T-shaped professionals: People who have a deep expertise in an area, as well as a broad base of supporting knowledge/skills.

Seeing the profession change and recognizing the new skills and competencies that are needed today and in the future has led—as many of you know—to CPA Evolution. The joint AICPA and NASBA effort launched in 2018 will modify the requirements for CPA licensure and the CPA Exam in response to the new environment we’re working in.

After reviewing feedback from various stakeholders, including state CPA societies, regulators, students, practitioners and academia, the new exam is planned to launch in 2024 and will include three core sections—accounting and reporting, auditing and tax—each with an increased emphasis on technologies that all candidates will be required to complete. Each candidate will then choose a discipline to demonstrate greater knowledge and skill: Business Analysis and Reporting, Information Systems and Controls or Tax Compliance and Planning.

As these—and future—changes to the profession take place, it’s important to stay on top of things and why we hear so much about “lifelong learning” or “upskilling”—regardless of what career stage you are in. 

But where do you start? How do you become T-shaped? Well, that answer is as unique as each of us. 

Start with some self-reflection: what skills and knowledge do you have, which areas do you want to grow in and what areas do you want to add or replace? Find a few trusted colleagues to sharpen your specific strong points and help you discover your untapped skills and capabilities. Then, visit CalCPA for content we offer to help you on your journey. With access to more than 1,600 courses and conferences, you will be in a better position to serve your clients and find innovative solutions for complex problems.
Denise LeDuc Froemming, CPA, CAE, MBA is President & CEO of CalCPA and CalCPA Education Foundation.

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