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AICPA eyes international stage

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountant (AICPA) launched earlier this week its first European summit in Frankfurt, Germany, in an effort to reach its European members and as a first step to increase the international profile of the institute.

The summit introductory session, entitled "the state of the profession", was led by AICPA vice-president firm services & global alliances Mark Koziel during which he highlighted the latest trends and hot topics for the profession, mainly in the US, as well as the important issues which the AICPA is currently looking at.

"CPAs are the first among financial professionals to receive a positive perception from businesses," he said speaking of the US market. "And accountants and auditors are among the top five in demand professions for 2014 according to all the surveys that are out there."

Nevertheless Koziel identified a number of issues which he said are the major challenges for the accounting profession in the coming year.

Amongst these is the convergence of US GAAP with IFRS. "The US will most certainly not converge to IFRS and this is a challenge for us and our clients," he conceded before later saying to The Accountant that the AICPA was hopeful one day the US would converge.

"Not having convergence results in confusion in the market," he told TA. "And that can never be beneficial."

Koziel also identified the increased focus from regulators on auditors as an important trend in the last year, which materialized in the adoption of the audit reform by the European Union (EU) as well as debates and adoptions of new provisions in the auditor's report around the world.

"Despite being European the EU audit reform will have an impact internationally and it is important for the profession to prepare for the consequences," he said.

Koziel reminded also that AICPA was a strong supporter of integrated reporting (<IR>) and a member of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).

"<IR> hasn't picked up well in the US so far," he said. "But we want to convey its value more to businesses as we believe that this is the way forward for a better quality of reporting globally."

Finally, he said the biggest challenge for the profession was the rapid pace of change in the world. "All the things that are driving the world today were not here 10 years ago," he said. "So the question is what will be driving the world in 10 years?"

He added: "As a profession we often struggled to anticipate, let alone adapt, to change."

Koziel concluded the first session of the summit by saying that the AICPA was registering more enrollees than graduates coming out of the exam. "27,055 exams were delivered internationally since 2011," he said. "And we will be further expanding the number of exams and the places where they are administered in the future."

"We are going out now to help you with your CPAs wherever you are," he added.

The summit ran on the 13 and 14 of May with update sessions on topics such as the US GAAP, negotiation skills, risk management, IT fraud and data leakage.

The event was organized in partnership with the Chartered institute of Management Accountants, with whom the AICPA has a joint venture, as well as the two German professional bodies the Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer [Institute of Public Auditors] and the Wirtschaftsprüferkammer [Chamber of Public Accountants].

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AICPA brings US profession to European members

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