This year, we asked the Top 100 People whether it was possible for the accounting profession to engage in so many specialty services that it would lose its identity as a single profession. The resounding answer was, "No!" - though a few had their doubts.It's been said that people on the average have nine careers over the course of their lifetime. You can be a CPA and still have those nine careers. That, I think, is the beauty of our profession.

- Barry Melancon

No. There is a basic core competence that will always exist for CPAs, not to mention the ethical attributes of integrity and objectivity.

- Loretta Doon

Yes, and that's natural and OK.

- Robert Herz

I believe that despite the increasing niches, the accounting umbrella will likely continue to encompass and stand as a single industry, as long as the need exists, and we continue to respond to current risks and exposures.

- Gwendolyn Skillern

Within any of our major professions there are specialties (e.g., medical, engineering). I believe the accounting profession is broad enough to encompass the many current specialties, as well as others to be added.

- David Costello

[Specialization] is not unlike the segmentation within the legal and medical professions. Cardiologists don't deliver babies and litigators don't close mergers. Such segmentation is not something to be feared, but is a necessary evolution to be embraced.

- Mike Sabbatis

"The profession" is already too diverse to be easily defined.

- James Smart

In some sense I have to ask: Were we ever a single profession? Accountants have always been required to adapt and change to stay competitive and meet client demands. ... At the core, however, the fundamental role of the professional has remained constant: a trusted advisor to navigate the complex rules and reporting requirements.

- Kevin Robert

I think we have found the right balance. We all recognize that the profession strayed too far from its core in the 1990s, but we learned that lesson.

- James Turley

I believe we have already seen that point, with several national firms spinning off their A&A firms to accommodate SOX issues.

- Jay Nisberg

I don't think so, as long as the services are centered on our core competency of financial analysis.

- Edward Nusbaum

I think we are beginning to see the advent of this already. ... Within the next 10 years, I believe that you will see three segments of the public side of the profession clearly emerge [auditing, tax compliance and advisory services].

- Jeffrey Pawlow

No. There are unifying features such as knowledge of accounting basics that will continue to support a single profession.

- Douglas Carmichael

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access