Every May and October, the AICPA brings together a representative group of CPA members and affiliates from across the United States to discuss the most important topics facing accounting and tax professionals and to set the path for the future of the profession. While the May Council meeting is typically held in Washington, DC, and the Fall Council meeting moved around the country, due to COVID-19, both of this year’s meetings were held virtually.
Our Director of Firm Technology Strategy, Roman Kepczyk, remembers attending his first council meeting in the late nineties…back when simply turning an event “virtual” wasn’t an option. He’s held several AICPA chairmanships since then (Information Technology Executive Committee and Top Technologies Task Force) and is always able to provide a more-than-learned perspective about technology’s influence on accounting.
Keep reading to get Roman’s perspective and to find out what else the leaders of the accounting profession discussed during the two-day event.
The importance of accounting.
Much of the discussion was centered around how the profession was faring well during the COVID-19 crisis—and just how important this data point is for all of us.
And many industry leaders echoed this same sentiment in an article posted on AccountingToday.com earlier this year:
“I believe CPAs and other accounting professionals have learned how invaluable they are to their clients and the community—something that has always been true but has been especially brought to light during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.”
Ralph Thomas, CEO and Executive Director
New Jersey Society of CPAs
“Accountants have become lifesavers for their clients by helping them navigate the complexities of the government stimulus programs and generally providing advice, counsel and solace on survival. This goodwill will play a huge role in firms’ recoveries.”
Marc Rosenberg, President
The Rosenberg Associates
How to prioritize diversity and inclusion.
A spirited discussion focused on the importance of the profession proactively addressing inequality and unconscious bias, and the positive steps that CPAs can take to make a difference.
With many firm leaders looking for a way to start the discussion, the PCPS created a comprehensive toolkit, accessible here.
Small Business and Washington Advocacy plus “PPP2”?
AICPA officially rolled out a PPP forgiveness tool to help firms and clients complete the loan forgiveness application, which is being configured to also assist with applying for an anticipated “PPP2” request in the future, which will allow firms to help clients streamline applications.
They’ve also been very involved with the IRS, Treasury, and Congress on topics ranging from COVID-19 tax policy and PPP support, to updating eSignature guidelines (it’s about time!), and getting relief for software companies whose e-filing systems crashed on September 15.
These efforts, as well as advocacy resources, can be found here.
Thousands of .CPA domain registrations, financial planning in today’s economy, and more.
Members were given an update about the DotCPA domain, which has preferred registration available to firms through October 31, 2020. (Rapidly approaching!) Thousands of firms have already registered to replace their .com with .cpa. Registration for individual CPAs will open at the beginning of the New Year.
The AICPA also announced they’re partnering with Jirav through CPA.com to provide a comprehensive cash flow and financial planning solution that firms can use to help clients with forecasting and budgeting through the economic uncertainties of today, and beyond.
Progress on the Dynamic Audit Solution (DAS) was also touted with 400 accountants beginning the pilot program (targeted for completion summer 2021) and could greatly impact the audit technology landscape in the next few years.
¹ The AICPA Council is the governing body of the AICPA and is comprised of approximately 265 members and representatives from every state and U.S. Territory. The Council meets twice a year, in May and October, and Regional Council meetings are held every year in March.