Members of The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) recently approved the integration of their two organizations.
The new organization will represent over 600,000 accountants around the world, while preserving each individual membership body. The combined network will provide members with enhanced advocacy, expanded resources and additional education opportunities, helping to better serve clients.
This is a step in the right direction for the industry. Prior to the CGMA designation, there wasn’t a way to segment CPAs based on who had management accounting experience and who focused strictly on compliance. We are now one profession, under one common purpose.
Back to where it all began
While accountants voted to take a significant step forward, this decision actually reflects a desire to get back to the roots of the profession.
In 1935, my grandfather was certified as a CPA in the state of Minnesota. As an immigrant to the United States from Russia, becoming a CPA provided my grandfather and his family the stability they wanted and the opportunity to create a better life. The spirit of this era is what inspired me to become a CPA in the first place.
As accounting standards in the 1930s were not as complex as they are today, my grandfather had more time to focus on advisory services. In turn, he was able to help his clients manage their business finances to create a better life. This was the first iteration of management accounting. Ultimately, the AICPA CIMA integration allows us to come back to our management accounting roots, just as my grandfather did in the 1930s.
Leveraging techno to drive retro
With the advent of more robust accounting standards, accountants have had to dedicate more time to data entry and number crunching in order to keep up with the basics. This has forced them to shift away from advisory services.
New technology, the cloud in particular, has provided accountants the flexibility they need to once again begin offering such services. Small business owners are craving advisory partners that have the ability to provide insights into their business operations to help them be more forward-thinking and proactive rather than the traditional compliance-related engagements.
Looking to the future
Leveraging our past will help inspire our future, especially when you consider that the AICPA CIMA integration will unite accountants from around the world.
As I have seen through my Global role at Xero, accounting professionals all over the world have the same guiding principles – we are passionate about wanting to help our clients succeed. Through the power of technology, organization members from around the world will now be able to collaborate together, much like our Xero Advisors globally connect today, exchange information and refer business to each other when they need help in other countries. Whether you’re an AICPA CIMA member in Australia, England or the United States, accountants face the same challenges and opportunities. Under the new AICPA CIMA organization, geographical borders are no longer a restriction to innovation and problem solving and learning so we can create success for our clients together.
While the new organization will launch in 2017, accountants who are looking for solutions today have a number of resources at their immediate disposal. Ash Noah, vice president external relations, management accounting at the AICPA will be on hand at XeroCon 2016 to discuss how accountants can further their transition to becoming a trusted business advisor and the corresponding AICPA resources available. XeroCon will also feature a Xero Unplugged session of the Globalization of Accounting where each speaker will share their perspective on the globalization of the industry and what that means for accountants. More information about XeroCon, including how to register, is available here.
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