CPA Now Blog

A Look Ahead to 2023: Trends and Developments in the Profession

The PICPA identifies issues for which CPAs need more information and constantly looks for bumps in the road that we can help level before the accounting profession hits them. As we begin to put 2022 behind us, here are a few of the issues the PICPA is keeping an eye on in 2023.

Dec 19, 2022, 05:02 AM

Adam Batchelor, PICPA vice president, learning and developmentBy Adam Batchelor, PICPA Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer

One of the most exciting things about working with CPAs and being part of an organization whose purpose is to help them succeed is that we are always looking forward. We try to identify the issues for which CPAs may need more information and we constantly look for bumps in the road that we can help level before the fast-moving accounting profession hits them.  

Silhouette with graphs, charts, icons superimposedAs we put 2022 behind us, I want to share with members just a few of the issues we are keeping an eye on. The PICPA team and our volunteer leaders are working diligently to gather more information and share our findings on numerous topics, but revisions to AICPA’s tax services standards, the state of Pennsylvania accounting firms, and changes in the accounting workforce are some of the biggest we’ll be tackling in 2023 and beyond.

AICPA Revisions to Tax Services Standards

In August 2022, the AICPA proposed revisions to the Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTS). SSTSs apply to all AICPA members who provide tax services, and many state boards of accountancy also rely on the SSTSs as part of their code of conduct for CPAs (Pennsylvania does not). 

In addition to a reorganization of the SSTSs by the type of tax services performed, three new standards are being proposed. They cover the following:

  • Data protection – Members should make reasonable efforts to safeguard taxpayer data, including data transmitted or stored electronically, and should consider applicable privacy laws when collecting and storing data. While this should be on everyone’s radar already, its inclusion in the standards is a strong reminder of the practitioner’s responsibility.
  • Representation of tax clients – In addition to obtaining technical competence in the subject matter involved, members should ensure compliance with all relevant professional and regulatory obligations when representing a taxpayer and act with integrity and professionalism. With taxpayer approval, a member should provide requested information by taxing authorities on a timely basis. Also, if the taxpayer’s conduct is suspected to be fraudulent or criminal, advise the taxpayer to retain legal counsel and refrain from further representation.
  • Reliance on tools – Members should exercise appropriate professional judgment and care when relying on a tool. Use of a tool does not absolve members from their professional obligations under AICPA or other applicable ethical standards.

The deadline to comment on the proposed revisions is Dec. 31, and PICPA has assembled a group of interested members to comment on our behalf. We will be sure to keep you informed of what AICPA’s next moves will be.

State of Pennsylvania Accounting Firms  

Earlier in 2022, PICPA Insights produced a white paper on the cutting-edge issue of environmental, social, and governmental reporting – more on that below. As Insights adds to its collection of invaluable research for members in 2023, we will be looking at the state of Pennsylvania CPA firms. We have partnered with the Hinge Research Institute to provide resources for public accounting members that will enable them to benchmark their firms within the marketplace and help guide them in modernizing their practices so they can respond to industry changes.

This project is currently in process, but we expect to achieve the following:

  • A collection of unique data sets for Pennsylvania public accounting firms that enables them to perform analysis and comparison with other firms in the state.  
  • A set of resources for firm leaders that will enable them to act on the collected data to modernize their firms, add service offerings, or optimize staffing practices.
  • A special focus on technology tools and systems, so firms can discover what might be missing from their tech stack.

The data are being gathered via survey by Hinge, and will address the following areas: demographics, compensation and talent, practice management, and software and technology programs. We plan to release analysis and resources this winter, so stay tuned.

Accounting Workforce Challenges

I don’t need to tell you that the profession is facing possibly the largest workforce challenges in its 120+ year history: you live it every day. It is top of mind for you, and it is top of mind for us at the PICPA.  

This fall we held an Accounting Workforce Conference so CPAs could share their challenges and take steps to find solutions. Some of the topics covered included the following:

  • Recruiting, Retaining, and Compensating Staff
  • Employee Benefits: Routine and Unique
  • Workplace Evolution: Flex Schedules, Remote Work, and Beyond
  • Solving Workload Challenges When Hiring Isn't an Option

If you missed it, no worries: we are offering a replay of the conference on Jan. 27. We hope you can join us this time around as we share these vital solutions. 

But our work for you isn’t just in the educational arena. We have been advocating relentlessly in Harrisburg to amend the CPA Law, and our efforts broke through this past November. In the 11th hour, as the 2021-2022 session of the General Assembly was winding down, House Bill 1328 passed the legislature, officially amending Pennsylvania’s CPA Law. Among the changes we were able to include were provisions that did the following:

  • Expands the scope of classes a student can take toward earning an accounting degree to include economics and technology.
  • Permits an applicant for licensure to sit for the CPA Exam upon completing 120 semester credits without a degree being conferred.

We understand these are but a few steps in the massive effort to alleviate your accounting workforce issues, but we will keep at it. You expect nothing less from us, and we are determined to help you through this crisis.

A Few More Things to Consider

I mentioned our work on ESG above, and I encourage firms and finance leaders to keep an eye on that space in 2023. The SEC is expected to issue a final rule sometime in the coming year, which will face judicial and legislative scrutiny that could slow its implementation, but regulators and the market will continue the push toward sustainable business practices and standardized measurement and reporting.

We expect one key finding of the Insights project focused on the State of Pennsylvania CPA Firms to show that firms are evolving quickly. We’ve seen a number of high-profile leadership changes, acquisitions, investments, and other transformations in firms this year, and there is every reason to expect that will continue into next year. It’s critical that CPAs view the rapid pace of change as an opportunity to learn, grow, and build new skills for the future. New firm structures, economic challenges, and high-profile corporate failures could drive increased regulatory pressure and oversight. As always, you can expect the PICPA to provide resources and knowledge to help.

Finally, one major factor driving change in firms and companies is the relentless pace of technological advancement. While we’ve discussed and created programs on technology topics for years, no professional can afford to ignore the explosion in new tools, including artificial intelligence, automation, and data analytics. The PICPA is working on cutting-edge talent accelerator programs to equip firms with the practical skills they need to keep pace with change and solve their clients’ needs using new tools. Stay tuned.

If you have any thoughts on the matters discussed above, or some other issue you are confronted with, we want to help you find a solution. Reach out to me, join our committee efforts, or share your issue or solution in a CPA Now blog.  

The profession is exploding with opportunity, and we are here to help you succeed.

Adam Batchelor is PICPA’s chief strategy and innovation officer. He can be reached at

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PICPA Staff Contributors


Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of PICPA officers or members. The information contained in herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For professional advice, please engage or consult a qualified professional.

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