The American Institute of CPAs is honing its vision for the CPA profession over the next 14 years, including the growing use of technologies such as social media.

The Institute’s CPA Horizons 2025 report is based on feedback from 5,600 CPAs across the profession (see AICPA Looks toward Future of Accounting Profession). AICPA vice president of small firm interests James Metzler told attendees during a keynote address at Accounting Today’s Growth & Profitability Summit on Thursday that the report included 10 key insights into the future of the profession, with technology being the main driver of change, and not just for the next 14 years.

“Technology will be number 1 on the list for the next 100 years,” he said.

CPAs need to leverage technology to deliver superior customer service, he noted. “IBM has used the term, ‘The network is the computer.’ Now the network is the firm,” said Metzler.

He added that social media has become a very powerful form of communication, and firms are now looking at social networking as a business model, tying into the notion of the “ubiquitous and ever-changing firm.” Cloud computing is another area of technology expected to grow at accounting firms in the future, bringing down costs and increasing the speed of access to new applications.

However, Metzler rejected the strategy of accounting firms low-balling their fees to win over clients. “We need to fight against commoditization of the profession,” he said. “Low costs and fees are not a sustainable business advantage.”

For more information on the CPA Horizons 2025 initiative, visit