AICPA's Melancon Raises Possibility of Alternate Pathways to Becoming CPA

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jun 18, 2018
Barry Melancon Headshot

AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, in a recent speech, said that as the skills demanded by the industry change, becoming a CPA may involve alternate paths that reflect the increasingly tech-savvy nature of the profession, according to Accounting Today. Speaking at the AICPA's annual Engage event in Las Vegas, Melancon said that, over the years, what accountants learn to do and how they think of themselves will have to change, as the skill set is shifting away from just being technical experts in GAAP, GAAS and the tax code. As new services develop around technologies such as blockchain, the profession will need to develop new skills to best understand the technology behind these service offerings. With this in mind, he said "maybe future candidates will take different parts of the exam based on the pathway they took to becoming a CPA." He said that, for example, the future CPA may not necessarily need to demonstrate how to do a compilation, as that may not be a part of their job at all. 

Melancon made a similar point in May, saying that the audit profession needs to embrace technological change and prepare for the disruptions that may bring. In his most recent speech, he added that tax professionals will also need to rethink their practice, away from backward-looking compliance and towards a more forward-looking high-value service. Citing changes brought by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, he said we're entering an age where firms won't be able to rely on simple tax filings, and so will need to lean more into planning and consulting. 

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