Friends and colleagues, Accounting has often been called the language of business— and CPAs the sturdy backbone of the business world, enabling financial clarity, corporate responsibility, and public trust. Yet, as with all fields, our great profession is not static. And it never has been.

In this rapidly evolving landscape, where technology and global dynamics intersect, maintaining relevancy has become paramount for the modern CPA. The next generation of CPAs needs to be acutely aware of how these issues will shape accounting practice, because the future is where they will be spending their careers.

First, there is the elephant in the room: automation. As digital tools and artificial intelligence continue to advance, routine tasks such as data entry and basic analysis are increasingly being handled by technology. This has caused anxiety for some, leading to existential questions regarding the future role of accountants. Will accountants become obsolete? The answer is, decisively, no—however, the nature of our role is undoubtedly changing. Instead of resisting automation, we must view it as an opportunity to elevate our expertise. Accountants are not only tasked with understanding new technologies, but also with understanding their broader implications.

Maintaining relevancy encompasses the need to address the changing nature of business models. With the gig economy, digital assets, and innovative financing methods on the rise, it’s essential that we understand their fundamental financial implications. Being at the forefront of these developments, understanding their intricacies, and guiding businesses and investors through them are critical competencies if we are to maintain our role as trusted advisors.

Finally, there are the forthcoming changes to the Uniform CPA Examination, covered in this issue from various perspectives. With the CPA Evolution Initiative making sweeping— and largely needed—adjustments to the exam, it is critical that current accountants understand the changes happening around us. That is why the new exam framework places an even greater emphasis on technology, weaving such topics through the exam core rather than treating technology as a specialty. The new exam framework takes effect at the beginning of next year, so the future is almost here.

The modern CPA is no longer just a “number cruncher”—rather, a trusted business advisor who has both technical and nontechnical expertise. Although technical expertise will always be the bedrock of our profession, the ability to communicate effectively, understand client needs, and build lasting relationships is paramount. Being attuned to the nuances of business operations, industry trends, and client aspirations, and communicating insights in a clear and impactful manner, will determine our profession’s continued relevancy.

As you read this latest issue of The CPA Journal, I trust that it reminds us all that, while the tools of the trade and the global workplace may be changing, the core essence of the accounting profession remains the same: to provide clarity, ensure the public trust, and guide financial decision-making. By embracing change, seeking continuous learning, and honing both technical and soft skills, we can ensure that our profession remains not just relevant, but indispensable, in the years to come.

Ever upward!

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