The American Institute of CPAs has named BKD CPAs & Advisors chief operating officer Eric Hansen as the next chairman.

The AICPA Governing Council elected Hansen, 56, on Tuesday during its Fall Meeting of Council, and voted for Succession Institute CEO Bill Reeb as vice chairman. They will begin their terms on Feb. 1, 2018 and serve until May 20, 2019.

AICPA building in Durham, N.C.
AICPA building in Durham, N.C. Photo: AICPA
BKD COO and AICPA chairman-elect Eric Hansen
BKD COO and AICPA chairman-elect Eric Hansen Courtesy of BKD

During a speech Tuesday, Hansen described some of his priorities, including emphasizing technologies such as blockchain, data analytics for auditing, and cybersecurity risk assessment as new opportunities for CPAs and their clients. “Technology isn’t only about data,” he said. “It’s about making connections. It’s about empowering individuals and businesses to expand their scope of possibilities.”

Hansen also wants to extend the CPA profession’s reach globally. The AICPA recently set up an Association of International CPAs in conjunction with the U.K.’s Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and Hansen serves on the association’s board.

Hansen hopes to foster more learning opportunities and professional skills to encourage more future CPA leaders. “The future is uncertain, and change is accelerating,” he said. “But if we’re early—if we have the courage to be bold and a bias for action—we’ll be prepared. As Harry Truman said, ‘Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.’”

As COO at BKD, a Top 100 Firm, Hansen oversees firm-wide operations and acts as a liaison between BKD’s national office and its four regions. He was previously managing partner of BKD’s offices in Oklahoma. He has been active as a member of the Missouri Society of CPAs and on its board.

“Having Eric in this influential post enhances our reputation and gives us better optics on the expansive spectrum of issues affecting the accounting industry,” said BKD CEO Ted Dickman in a statement.

Hansen has served on the AICPA’s Governing Council and its board. He and his wife, Jana, live in Springfield, Mo. They have three children: Todd, Elise and Luke.

“Eric and BKD both do a great job of supporting the profession,” said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon in a statement. “Leaders from firms of all sizes, as well as business and industry members, have endorsed Eric and expressed great respect for his ability to lead the AICPA at a pivotal time in the accounting world.”

Separately, the AICPA also said Tuesday it has developed a Technical Question & Answer document to help preparers and practitioners determine if their organization or client is a public business entity under the updated U.S. GAAP definition.

On Monday, it released a report on the Institute’s progress in enhancing audit quality. The publication describes some of the AICPA’s main accomplishments in the areas of peer review, audit documentation, single audits, employee benefit plan audits and quality control. It also discusses some of the changing talent needs, including sections devoted to the Uniform CPA Examination and Valuation credentials.

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.