What is the current state of the profession? To answer this question, we turn to the results of our second annual NYSSCPA–Rosenberg Survey to identify and quantify trends in public practice. The survey revealed some interesting changes and trends that will be worth exploring further in the coming year. Perhaps most notably, the aging of firm partners declined compared to the prior year, perhaps reflecting that the retirement of baby boomers has reached a peak. This retirement wave has rippled through the firm structure; as the number of partners has decreased, partner and staff/partner ratios have increased. New entrants to the partner ranks are less highly compensated, and the use of nonequity partners has expanded. New managing partners have had less effective mentors and are less prepared to lead their firms through the current challenges, foremost of which remain finding capable staff and grooming potential future partners.
Leadership in today’s CPA firm is likewise a major concern of Paul Fisher. His featured article describes a current succession crisis exacerbated by an increasingly specialized practice environment. The vision he articulates here is one in which growth is rejuvenated by engaging all stakeholders in a single followership agreement, grounded in a unified purpose and communicated through shared quality and language.
This month’s News & Views section is also packed with a variety of perspectives relevant to today’s CPA practice—from the perceptions of students, to the diverse experiences of current firm leaders, to the ongoing wisdom and valuable contributions for retired professionals. In addition, a conversation between Halliburton whistleblower Tony Menendez and ethics expert Steven Mintz raises the cost—and value—of doing the right thing. And a pair of perspectives on a controversial book about the future of the profession elevates the discussion of whether financial information—and the CPA’s role in preparing and assuring that information—is still relevant in today’s environment.