May 08, 2020

CPA Careers in an Evolving Business Landscape

Ibolya Balog, CPABy Ibolya Balog, CPA

If you are like me, you are suffering from a bit of exhaustion from the coronavirus news cycle. One minute, you may see positive news about states loosening their stay-at-home restrictions to help their economies. The next, you find that the virus may stick around into the fall and that maybe a second wave will wallop us. It is important that you keep up with this news, for the good of society and for your own personal safety. This being said, we understand if you are looking for a bit of counter programming.

Cover of the 2020 Digital Pa. CPA JournalWell, here’s something that is both an escape and important: the future of the CPA profession. The profession is in an exciting state for those who will drive it in the coming years, and that is the subject of PICPA’s Guide to CPA Careers in a Changing Business Landscape, this year’s digital-only, special edition of the Pennsylvania CPA Journal.

The publication, which was released on April 29, is all about how the profession is growing and changing. A perfect example is the piece on the CPA Evolution Project, the movement being spearheaded by the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). “The CPA Evolution Project: Preparing the Profession for the Future,” by Jerry J. Maginnis, CPA, and David D. Wagaman, CPA, dissects the guiding principles of the AICPA/NASBA working group, its proposed changes to the CPA licensing model, and potential impacts on the CPA Exam and the academic world.

The digital magazine is full of useful tips for CPAs, whether they are just entering the profession, are moving along into elevated positions, or have been working as a CPA for a long and fulfilling career. For those just entering, we have “Ethics Reminder for New CPAs,” by Troy Cannode, CPA. His feature encourages responsible behavior by pointing new CPAs to the bedrock principles of the code of ethics, including integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, and more. “New Managers: Cultivate These Core Leadership Skills,” by Kathy Gutierrez, MSHRD, CPLP, PHR, offers tips to those who have been in the profession for a while and starting to climb the ladder. She provides advice for thriving in a new role, such as refining skills in the areas of project management, influence gathering, and problem-solving. For the more seasoned professionals, how about “Strengthen Your Communication Skills for Ongoing Success,” by Jonna Martin? Her piece encourages CPAs to improve their discourse with clients and colleagues by always assuming positive intent, anticipating the best result, and choosing the appropriate mode of communication.

Public accounting has always been a crossroads, of sorts. In this publication, we present a kind of public accounting trilogy: for those looking to grow within, for those thinking about moving elsewhere, and for those coming home.

In “Navigating a Life in Public Accounting,” Lauren M. Lear, CPA, discusses the challenges of public accounting, but details the benefits of this career path. She offers guidance on how to thrive, including stepping up your organizational game and leveraging technology to help manage tasks. For more from Lauren, check out her CPA Conversations podcast on the topic.

Jack Cavanaugh, CPA, provides his perspective on how you should conduct yourself if you decide to seek “greener pastures” outside public accounting. “Preparing for a Successful Transition from Public Accounting” advises those who are thinking about departing public accounting in ways both natural (engaging an industry-specialized recruiter) and perhaps out-of-the-box (informing your public accounting partner so they can help in your career progression).

As the third part of the trilogy, we have the homecoming. In “A Public Accounting Return After Industry,” Kevin McMonagle, CPA, discusses the reasons he decided to leave public accounting, the impressions he gathered while in industry, and what drove him to head back to his former stomping grounds.

These few highlights are but a sample of the features available in PICPA’s Guide to CPA Careers in a Changing Business Landscape. Check it out and see how the publication can help you grow in the profession we have chosen. Give coronavirus a break for a while. After all, long after it fades away, the profession will be there and so will your career aspirations.

Ibolya Balog, CPA, is a consultant for Asterion in Allentown. She can be reached at ibalog@verizon.net.

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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.