It is well past the time to think of accountants as bean counters. Unfortunately, the recent piece by Professors Miller & Bahnson ("Some evidence that the AICPA's management has lost its focus," December 2011, page 20) places the profession back into the audit closet.
The AICPA has provided the leadership to position the profession for the future, both in the number of people pursuing accounting degrees and in the range of services in which CPAs are engaged. Barry Melancon and the AICPA leadership have brought the profession forward, promoting exciting careers for hundreds of thousands CPAs. Among many other things, today's CPAs are: business consultants, advisors, and valuation experts; investment advisors; hardware and accounting software solution providers and VARs; etc.
Although the professors claim that CPAs want "back to basics," this is just not true. I am thankful that Barry Melancon and the AICPA have taken bold steps to elevate the profession in so many tangible ways, such as their work to promote specialty credentials and the upcoming launch of a global designation to recognize management accounting. As a result, the AICPA has become the primary professional association with which business leaders choose to align themselves.
The AICPA promotes discussion and debate and provides a forum for members to share their perspectives and ideas. It is also important to recognize that college students looking for a satisfying and challenging career are more often taking the path to become CPAs and then choosing to become members of the AICPA, because they recognize its value - now more than ever.
The AICPA's leadership keeps important industry issues in focus, such as private company financial reporting, and continues to push for more accurate and relevant reporting for private companies on behalf of millions of small businesses and the users of their financial statements.
As a recent member of the Horizon 2025 Committee, I thank Barry Melancon, the AICPA board, and immediate past-chairman of the board Paul Stahlin for leading the charge toward new horizons, for keeping the profession focused on the marketplace and meeting the needs of our diverse clients, future talent and membership. Our strategic planning conclusions are intended lead us into the future as one of the most respected professions - and out of the audit closet.
Joel C. Olbricht, CPA
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