In This Section

Great Minds Don't Think Alike: Leading the Future of Learning for CPAs

Jun 26, 2018

To be alive right now is to be overwhelmed.

In a time of increasing alienation, rising anxiety and the urgent, pounding pressure of change, I pose it’s not too lofty to suggest associations have a calling and the strength essential to nudge today’s professionals to a more desirable and sustainable future.

We have the power to bring people together.


I experienced this last month at our first CPA Center of Excellence® Advisory Board meeting at the Indiana CPA Society. As we pursue our goal of changing the CPA profession to be truly competency based at the Indiana CPA Society, we know we don’t have all the answers. So we assembled our board, key learning staff and a group of six scholars, with expertise on competency-based learning, higher education or the CPA profession, to discuss how to lead the future of learning.

CPA Center of Excellence Advisory Board experts

We have the power to ask hard questions.


We talked about exciting new ideas and innovative resources the Society can provide to help CPAs beyond what they traditionally expect from an association. Then interestingly, the discussion came back to the same hard question we had eight years ago when we started down this road to a competency-based profession: how can we elevate the CPA designation in an increasingly global marketplace?


We have the power to maintain (and improve) the value of the CPA credential.


The time when your technical skills become replaceable is quickly approaching, and in some cases it’s already here. Other credentials are encroaching the CPA market. We know it’s hard to find good talent and we’d like more students to become CPAs. Now is when we need to throw all our efforts behind proving CPAs are the most trusted and competent business advisors. We can’t do that if our system for license renewal only measures time spent in a seat; not what CPAs are learning.


That is why we have convened experts to help us in this adventure: because of urgency and because we as an association have the unique power to be able to bring these people together. We have the resources, the mission and existing relationships and connections to do so. I’d also posit that is reason enough to join a professional member association, and a much better way to meet people than a solicitous email on LinkedIn.


We want you to join us on this adventure for renewed connection and learning.


One thing we are called to do as an association in this era of extreme change for the CPA profession (and professionals at large) is to be a conduit for collaboration and connection. We must get the right minds in the room together to foster the big ideas. We must give people the space to think and connect that can’t be found when you now have year-round deadlines and infrequent offline time.


We are leading in the nationwide movement for learning and educational change with our strides towards a competency-based model, and what I found most exciting about facilitating the Advisory Board meeting was the sense of opportunity, hope and progress. Only when you bring people together can you experience that. The connection of being together is powerful, and you can’t find it online. What I experienced was the generation of new ideas and the robust pleasure of civilized debate in a time when it is so rare. This type of discussion is what makes me want to get out of bed in the morning.


So as we launch this adventure with the CPA Center of Excellence® Advisory Board, I’d like to share with you its members, in hopes that you, too, might have questions you want us to ask of them and us. Because as we travel on this competency-based journey, we’d much rather travel farther with you than travel quickly alone.


Bernard Bull, Ed.D., Vice Provost of Curriculum & Academic Innovation, Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Professor of Education at Concordia University Wisconsin


Jeffrey Evans, Ph.D., Co-founder of competency-based Purdue Polytechnic degree in transdisciplinary studies in technology.


Tracy King, CAE, CEO and Chief Learning Strategist of InspirEd


Kelly Richmond Pope, CPA, CGMA, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy and MIS at DePaul University in Chicago and founder of Helios Digital Learning, Inc.


Donny C. Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA, Founder and Managing Director of IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC


Susan Wolcott, CPA, CMA, Ph.D., subject matter expert for our second Ethics course from the CPA Center of Excellence®




Load more comments
Thank you for the comment! Your comment must be approved first
New code

Jess Halverson Bowyer
About the Author
Jess Halverson Bowyer is strategist for the CPA Center of Excellence, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indiana CPA Society. Its mission is to enhance vital business skills for the success of CPAs and other professionals.