Accounting & Auditing Change / transformation Finance Technology

Podcast: Transformation isn’t a threat … it’s an opportunity

This week's guest on our "Future-Proof" podcast is AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon. He’s been with the AICPA since 1995 and is now the longest-serving CEO in the AICPA’s 129-year history.

Each year Barry delivers a series of professional issues updates for his members, telling them everything they need to know about … well, pretty much everything relating to the accounting and finance profession.

Today, Barry shares a kind of a Reader’s Digest version of his professional issues updates: what’s happening in the profession, how it’s impacting us, and what we should be doing about it.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • How exponential advances in technology are impacting everything we experience in life (and how that, in turn, affects our profession).
  • Why we have to be willing to transform and adapt, as people and professionals.
  • The intersection of tax legislation and technology.
  • Regulatory rules being created around new technologies.
  • How demographic shifts are changing the face of our profession.
  • Whether the accounting and finance profession is moving forward fast enough.

Listen to my conversation with Barry here:


Setting expectations CMSWire recently published an article titled, “Setting Expectations on Excel’s Addition of A.I.,” written by Erika Morphy.

Although they're still in beta, Morphy explains that “Microsoft is adding new A.I.-powered data types that will allow users to access deeper and more extensive information about a company or place by pulling the information from the Microsoft Knowledge Group.”

Microsoft says it will recognize, in context, what is meant by your text and convert it to the right type of data. And this isn’t just for states or countries or companies, either – Microsoft says the feature will support ZIP codes, cities, and other types of financial data like stocks and index funds.

Morphy says this type of A.I. isn’t the sexy kind of robot we’ve been reading about for a while now, but it is an interesting advance from a productivity standpoint.

She quotes Tim Kulp, director of Emerging Technology at Mind Over Machines, who says, “Microsoft has been embedding A.I. in all of its Office products for the past year — everything from using A.I. to make presentations look better to using A.I. to help us spell better. These changes are a great example of how A.I. can get simple stuff like calculations or image resizing out of the way so Office users can focus on using these tools to enhance productivity.”

Melancon: Technology will enhance our jobs, not steal them And that’s the point, right? This kind of stuff isn’t going to steal our jobs. Instead, it will help us get out of our own way by doing the busy work for us and letting us focus on higher-value work that will elevate the services we provide.

That’s the real promise of A.I. We’re going to be working with these technologies to provide better, higher-value services that are going to help walk our clients and customers into the future.

This stuff isn’t to be feared, but embraced. That’s what we think, anyway – and that’s what Barry Melancon thinks too, and he’s been around the block a few times now, so it’s probably wise for us to listen.

Learn more at the 2018 CPA Summit And you’ll be hearing more about future trends and technological advances worth paying attention to at the Maryland Association of CPAs’ 2018 CPA Summit, scheduled for Dec. 6 in Towson, Md.

You can find complete details and register at

Learn more, Part II: 2018 Digital CPA Conference – the technology arm of the AICPA – puts on a fantastic event every year called Digital CPA. It’s a great look at trends that are changing the face of the profession. This year’s Digital CPA conference will be held Dec. 3-5 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

Details are at

More resources:


William D. Sheridan