The theme of the American Accounting Association’s Annual Meeting, August 10-14 in San Francisco, was “Bold Transformations Toward a Prosperous Society.” As AAA Chair (2018-2019) Marc Rubin asked: “Will online education as well as the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robots, virtual reality, mobile technology, 3-D printing and future technologies that we cannot even imagine cause the accounting academy to redefine what we teach and research as well as how we teach and research?” Among those responding via speeches and panels were NASBA Executive Vice President and COO Colleen K. Conrad, who described the Evolution of the CPA project with Lindsay Patterson, AICPA Director – Corporate and Integrated Communications, at an AAA session. Ms. Conrad also joined AICPA Vice President Mike Decker in addressing an APACPA review course providers’ breakfast meeting.

Another panel on “Going Beyond Traditional Accounting Roles: Reimagining the Accounting Profession in the Information Age” brought together speakers from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants to discuss their initiatives aimed at reimagining the role of the accounting profession. Their presentation underscored the skills that will be in demand and the roles both the profession and academia will need to play to achieve professional and academic success.

Attending the AAA Meeting, Dr. Ray Johnson, former NASBA Education Committee Chair, noted: “Another emphasis in the conference was effective learning strategies, and developing critical thinking skills. At the end of the day, the next generation of CPAs need to be technologically agile and critical thinkers, who understand the importance of professional skepticism to the entire accounting profession. The challenge is people will have to redevelop their skills fairly early in their professional careers. The pace of change is accelerating, making it more important than ever that we educate a group of lifelong learners. That is not something you can test for.”

Reaching out to the approximately 3,000 conference attendees, NASBA had an exhibit booth offering information on its Accountancy Licensing Library, Student Center for the Public Trust and Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination publications, with the 2018 candidate book scheduled for release in September.

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