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Executive Committee Q&A: Recruiting for the CPA Profession

May 24, 2021
Note: Our spring CPA IN Perspective magazine is digital—keep an eye out for new articles in our upcoming communications.

How do you think recruiting for the CPA profession will change for firms and companies in the next five years?

Erland Porter, CPA Erland Porter, CPA
Thrivent Financial

"As we have already seen, the skill sets required for accounting firms today continue to broaden and evolve. With the deep integration of technology in every aspect of the work we do, it will be necessary for competence in both accounting and technology for those entering the profession. I anticipate the demands of the marketplace will move firms to recruit individuals that bridge the gap between the traditional accounting and technology departments of their firms. We are already seeing the impacts of this at the university level as well as AICPA’s work with CPA Evolution. There will no doubt be immense opportunities for those who are positioned for the future."



Barry K. Hall, CPA, CGMABarry K. Hall, CPA, CGMA
INCPAS Chair-Elect
Kruggel Lawton CPAs

"Recruiting for the CPA profession will definitely change in the next five years, but I think it will look different by the end of the decade. Today’s CPAs need much more than an understanding of debits, credits and tax rules. They need to be able to deliver an ever-increasing breadth of services: services our clients want and need. Future CPAs need to embrace technology and how it can help them in making compliance work more efficient and also play a huge role in helping CPAs deliver these expanded services.

They will need a much more thorough understanding of systems, controls and data analytics to be able to deliver the value clients will be looking for. We continue to see other professions move into areas of service that were previously performed primarily by CPAs or weren’t performed at all. Our clients want these services. If we want to keep our firms relevant, we cannot rely solely on compliance work in the future. We need to hire students with a much more expanded skill set. We need to focus time and resources on developing new services that add value to our client relationships."



Jeremy E. Gallion, CPAJeremy E. Gallion, CPA
INCPAS Vice Chair

"Candidates who have a broad skill set and an interest in technology will be more marketable, as there will continue to be a shift towards automation and digital information within the profession. Technology skills and the ability to understand systems and data quickly will be needed more than it has been in the past. This shift will enable accountants to get more done and focus more time on data analysis and solving problems for their clients or companies."



Carrie B. Minnich, CPA, MacctCarrie B. Minnich, CPA, Macct
INCPAS Vice Chair
Dulin, Ward & DeWald, Inc.

"Recruiting in the profession continues to be a top priority, especially when we are seeing a decline in available CPA candidates. A decreased pipeline, along with the changing role of the CPA, creates challenges in recruiting for many firms and businesses. The way compliance services are being performed is changing, mostly due to an increased reliance on technology, but the services are still being performed.

Candidates still need to have technical accounting and tax knowledge, but they need to know more. Technology is constantly changing so they need to not only understand technology but also be able to adapt to change in general. Problem-solving and communication skills will continue to play a more important part in the CPA’s role as a trusted business advisor. The profession needs more than just 'technicians.' We need people who are able to understand clients’ needs and provide innovative solutions."



Diane L. Sturek, CPA-inactive, MAccDiane L. Sturek, CPA-inactive, MAcc
INCPAS Vice Chair
Indiana University Kelley School of Business

"Firms and companies are looking to hire professionals who are willing to explore new and existing technologies. CPAs are respected for their expertise in the areas of accounting, auditing and tax. The professional who will be best able to perform their responsibilities and serve clients will need to understand how new technologies can be utilized to enhance these capabilities. Understanding the information needed, how data is stored, the integrity of the data, how to locate data and run data analytics, as well as how to interpret the results for stakeholders, will be essential skills for the CPA.”


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