Greetings, fellow CPAs. During these “dog days” of summer, many of us will pause professionally to focus on time away with family and friends. Often, these months are when many people recharge their batteries for more interesting times ahead.

And, certainly, these are interesting times for the profession. At the risk of falling victim to recency bias, I think now represents the most interesting time I’ve ever experienced as a CPA. The opportunities are just amazing.

Yes, I truly believe that. Contrary to some pessimists out there, I think this is one of the best times ever to be a member of the accounting profession. And this issue of The CPA Journal reflects this interesting time.

We take a deep look at environmental, sustainability, and governance (ESG) issues and reporting. This topic has long stopped being just a buzzword in the profession. Recently, I represented the Society at an ESG reporting event at the New York Stock Exchange, sponsored by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), where the global impact of ESG on financial reporting was discussed.

While many U.S.-based organizations are not necessarily subject to mandatory ESG reporting requirements, many are subject to SEC regulations. As such, we focus on the newly proposed rules from the SEC on climate change, the pending reporting directive from the EU, the consolidation of ESG standards setters globally, and the environmental impacts on businesses that CPAs should consider when advising their clients or employers.

This issue also touches upon another of the most frequently discussed topics of the day: the digital disruption happening within the accounting profession. We discuss the potential impact of generative artificial intelligence (AI), the various risks to consider in implementing AI in the professional environment, the application of data analytics to audits, and how the shortage of entrants into the profession might actually be mitigated through the embracing of a technologically fluent workforce.

No doubt you’ve heard many things and read many articles on these trending topics. Perhaps you’re even weary of the discussion. Although that attitude is understandable, given the daily time pressures we all face, it speaks to the vital importance of CPAs staying active and engaged on the emerging issues of the day. This issue of the Journal strives to do just that.

Yes indeed—we do live in interesting times. Ever upward, for the profession!

Calvin Harris, CPA (Md.). NYSSCPA CEO.