The multitude of issues affecting CPAs continues to grow, but top industry concerns mapped out by Illinois CPA Society president Elaine Weiss remain – in no particular order – the economy, globalization, technology, regulations and legislation, and generational issues.

This was the theme of Weiss’s morning keynote address to a well attended Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase, in Chicago.

Weiss assured attendees that despite these pressing issues, they need not be concerned about one thing: their public image.

“I know many of you look in the mirror and you are concerned about your own image in these challenging times,” said Weiss. “I am here to say that CPAs are still the most trusted advisors, and public opinion supports that claim.”

Weiss said that over the course of the year the Illinois Society had polled the public regarding their opinions of CPAs and the video presentation posted many of those opinions.

On the topic of the economy, Weiss explained that there is still “a lot of uncertainty” because of the mixed reports coming out and she realizes it has been difficult to advise clients and even run a practice in the current environment. There are, however, a few “bright spots,” as she explained.

“For one we have a lot more students graduating and becoming CPAs, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that accounting is one of the higher areas of business growth,” said Weiss. She indicated that the BLS saw a 21 percent growth in the accounting market by 2018.

The second “bright spot” was the potential for international opportunities, as some firms “think globalization will be the best thing to ever happen to the [CPA] credential.”
Weiss said she hoped the remaining areas of concern — technology, regulations, and generational issues — would be addressed during the two-day seminar and that attendees would leave with “a very good sense” that the sessions they attend will leave them more informed.

“It doesn’t end here,” said Weiss. “But we have taken the pulse of out community, and we know your concerns. We [the Illinois CPA Society and the American Institute of CPAs] are working to help you get on top of these issues and transitions.”

In closing, Weiss urged that there be better communication and collaboration within the firms between “the generations” as both younger and older had a good deal to learn from one another.