Earlier this month, CPA.com released their CPA of the Future Study at the Digital CPA Conference. The Study is designed to measure CPA firms’ ‘future readiness,’ a concept developed by futurist and business advisor Dr. James Canton, CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, which conducted the research for CPA.com.

"Future readiness" is defined as “the capacity to be aware, predictive, and adaptive of emerging challenges, tech innovations, and trends and changes in business, population and social environment,” according to Dr. Canton.

“The idea is that by increasing future readiness, organizations will become more agile and sustainable.” he said in a press release. “While there is still work to be done by CPAs to meet that goal, it bodes well that the profession is asking the right questions about the changing workforce, global challenges and emerging technologies.”

The business environment for CPAs and their clients will be marked by “unprecedented, massive and highly accelerated change” through 2025, according to the Study. 80 percent of study participants agreed that their role will change substantially over the next decade, with more emphasis on consultative business development, risk management and advisory services. 

“When we talk about Digital CPAs, we’re talking about the CPA of the future,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, in a statement. “Using technology, embracing specialization, advancing their role as trusted advisor – these are strategies that leading firms are already employing with great success and that the profession as a whole must adopt to thrive in the coming decade.”  

Other findings in the study included:

  • 70 percent of respondents think government regulation is holding back business productivity and growth.
  • Around 80 percent of CPA firms have concerns about recruitment to meet future needs.
  • 90 percent of CPA firms believe the digital future is rapidly approaching.
  • The rise of artificial intelligence and mobile connectivity may offer new risks and opportunities.

The survey for the CPA of the Future Study was conducted from Sept. 15 to Nov. 17, 2014, and included responses from more than 400 representatives of CPA firms in the United States.

For the full report, head to CPA.com.