In her keynote at this year’s Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase, Illinois CPA Society president and CEO Elaine Weiss highlighted several of the most important issues facing the profession.

In addition to several regulatory issues, she also focused on two major issues that she frequently heard accounting practitioners mention: the need to create a more diverse profession and build a more flexible workplace.

In terms of regulation, she warned the packed hall of Illinois CPAs that IFRS is still coming: “It will happen,” she said. “It’s just going to be over a longer time” than many might have expected.

On a similar note, “Dodd-Frank will have an impact everyone in this room,” she said, though she added that many of the details of its implementation were still being worked out.

She also described the efforts of both the Financial Accounting Foundation and the American Institute of CPAs on private company accounting standards, describing the former’s creation of the Private Company Council, or PCC (“Because we don’t have enough acronyms in our profession,” Weiss quipped), and the latter’s work on creating a reporting framework for small and midsized accounting firms that don’t have to follow GAAP. “Stay on top of these two trends,” she urged.


More to Worry About
While the tremendous uncertainty surrounding tax issues, such as the likely fate of the Bush tax cuts in 2013, can be troubling, they also offer an opportunity for CPAs, Weiss said. “Use 2012 to show your value to clients,” she suggested, by helping them develop tax strategies to address the uncertainty.

Another area where the difficulties are matched with opportunities is “the daunting task of staying on top of all the technology. We have greatly benefited from it, but the challenges are daunting.” As an example, she cited the top four of the AICPA’s annual Top 10 Technology Issues, all of which revolve around data security and privacy—crucial issues for accountants.

She finished up with several issues specific to Illinois CPAs, including the fact that, as of July 1, anyone wishing to hold themselves out as a CPA in Illinois must be a “licensed” CPA. This category had previously only applied to CPAs performing attest work, but now applies to everyone. It involves new continuing professional education requirements, among other things, and Weiss noted that the society is working to help its members with those.

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