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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The future of the accounting profession, Q/A with Lindsay Stevenson, CPA, CGMA [Podcast]

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Lindsay Stevenson is the vice president of finance and tax at First Financial Bank USA. She is an involved member of a number of committees at the AICPA, the ASCPA, and SDCPA and the 2017 AICPA Outstanding Young CPA award recipient. As a CPA, CGMA, Lindsay is dedicated to the future of the accounting profession and is enthusiastic about supporting individuals tap into their potential to positively impact the innovation and success expanding into the world.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Lindsay for the Sage Advice podcast. You can listen here, or read an edited version of the interview below.

Tell us about yourself

Lindsay Stevenson: I’m based in South Dakota. That’s where our bank is located and I’m in our finance group. A lot of my day consists of tax strategy planning and accounting policy planning. I work with the team to just make sure that we’re looking forward, and that we’re prepared to deal with all of the new standards that come out, such as the changes in tax law.

What are your thoughts about the future of the accounting profession?

Lindsay Stevenson: The future of accounting is an ever-changing, ever-moving target. What’s been interesting, even over the last five years, is where we thought we would be today, isn’t where we are. Technology is moving at a pace that’s much faster than we could have anticipated.

I enjoy spending time thinking about how organizations and public accounting firms can prepare themselves to be flexible and agile. Firms and organizations have cut this square box that says, “This is what an account does. This is what a CPA does.” However, the future of the accounting profession looks a lot more like, “What do we want them to do? What do we do today, so that what we’re doing ten years from now is what we envision now?”

It is an exciting time for the accounting profession.

What do you think are some of the barriers for people who are trying to get there? What gets in the way of their thinking?

Lindsay Stevenson: Accountants and CPAs tend to be compliance-minded. That’s how we take our exams and that’s how we provide service to our clients, internal and external. We have a commitment to complying with the regulations. The future is not going to be in compliance. We’ve seen that AI technology is moving into a position where the compliance piece will be done by technology. We will be much more into the facilitation of helping clients be better at their business as opposed to helping clients comply with the law.

I think there are some accountants and CPAs out there that would say “Hey, we love the compliance side.” And I don’t think that means that there’s nothing for them in the future. I think it’s just being realistic about what that looks like for them.

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