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Life as a CPA

Life as a CPA (13): Office Tools Pro Conference – The Future of CPA

– Ty’s Summer Internship – Day 21 –

The last event of our great business trip is that Donny is giving the closing keynote for Office Tools Pro Conference in Las Vegas. Check this summary video for his keynote presentation “New Horizons for the Accountant”.

A trusted attester AND trusted advisor – new role of CPAs. To be honest, I am not quite getting this “CPA’s new role” that Donny is mentioning. So CPAs should be closer to the clients and provide more consulting service to them? I thought that CPA has been always the advisor for the client. Isn’t “advisory” same as “consulting”? Is this a new role?

I know there is a conflict of interest issue that you are not supposed to provide the advisory service to the clients that you are providing the audit service. But I thought it is just a public position. In other words, I don’t know if I can see high value in CPA without them being a trusted advisor. If I was a business owner, I don’t want to hire CPAs just for “attester”, but I want an “advisor” who can bring some value to the company, not just as an auditor.

The specialization part makes sense. As Donny mentioned in the interview in Tech+ Conference, tax, IT, bookkeeping, whatever you specialize will increase CPA’s market value and possibly expand their business into a more specialized field. Also, Donny made a great point that it is important that you proactively let your clients know that you do advisory or specialized services if those aren’t the primary services that the clients are getting from you. They might not know that you can do those services, so it is critical that your clients hear what you are capable of doing. They might just not know you can do it.

Business environment is always changing – demographic, economy, technology, competitiveness. I guess it means that CPAs need to change who they are and what they ought to provide based on these changing factors. As accountants are (supposedly) conservative, this rapid shift of CPA’s role and core values might be a heavy duty work for them.

– To be continued –


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