I write to you on the most auspicious occasion of The CPA Journal’s 90th anniversary. For close to a century now, it has served as a valuable resource to professionals not just in New York, but across the country. It has been so through times of peace and times of war, through times of plenty and times of want, through times of triumph and times of tragedy. Across generations, from our ancestors to our parents to our children to their children, it has been there, providing CPAs with the knowledge and insight to navigate a world of constant change, especially in the profession itself.
And change there has been, time and again throughout the life of this profession. When the first CPA was licensed in 1896 there was no public company audit requirement, there were no uniform accounting standards, there wasn’t even a federal income tax or an IRS to administer it. The job of a CPA even as early as the 1950s would seem alien and inscrutable to our 1896 professional—just as our 1950s CPA would be perplexed by his counterpart from the year 2000. And in just two decades, this CPA from the year 2000 has witnessed numerous seismic changes that have even further transformed the profession.
In the grand scheme of things, 20 years is not a lot of time—yet within even that span, we have seen major change. We have seen the profession’s digital transformation completed, so that today even the smallest sole practitioner makes use of sophisticated software tools as a matter of course. We have seen the explosive growth of advisory services that bring CPAs’ expertise to the realm of business strategy. We have seen the rise of entirely new practice areas, including sustainability accounting, as well as new industries to apply them to, such as cannabis.
We have also seen an increased awareness of our relevance to wider social issues, including gender equity and racial justice. With this has come a new emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the accounting world as we work to move this profession past the cultural paradigms that have dominated for generations. Doing so is not just good business. It must be a moral imperative, the logical extension of the integrity and rectitude that has been the hallmark of our profession since its inception.
The CPA Journal was founded in 1930, a time when this country faced great turmoil and strife. So it seems all too appropriate that 90 years later, we once more find ourselves in just such a time. We stand at the threshold of a new era, and with it a new understanding of ourselves. We see it in initiatives like CPA Evolution, which recognizes the growing number of skills required of the modern CPA. We see it in projects like Dynamic Audit Solution, which acknowledges the increasingly data-driven, analytical nature of today’s audits. We see it in myriad efforts across the country to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive profession, including right here at the NYSSCPA. We see it in the growing role of CPAs in the movement for corporate social responsibility.
These are only a few examples of how the profession is changing before our very eyes, and they are only the beginning. It is at this pivotal moment in history that we need, more than ever, the same kind of strategic foresight that The CPA Journal has always provided. Throughout the many changes this profession has seen, our publication has always been a vehicle for the analysis and thought leadership needed to navigate them. And as we enter this next era of our profession’s development, as we evolve and adapt, as we open our eyes to the wider world both on and off the balance sheet and expand our understanding of what it means to live in a global civilization, The CPA Journal will continue to be this vehicle, as it always has and always will.