Randy Fletchall has become chairman of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). He was elected at the meeting of the AICPA governing council in Tampa, Florida, this month.
Fletchall is the 95th person to take up this voluntary position and will serve a one-year term. AICPA is the largest professional accountancy organisation in the US and has 340,000 members.
Fletchall is an Ernst & Young US partner and the firm’s Americas vice chair. His role covers assurance and advisory business services, and professional practice and risk management. He also serves on the Center for Audit Quality’s executive committee and its professional practice executive committee, and is a member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s Standing Advisory Group.
In his inaugural speech at the general council meeting, Fletchall noted the responsibilities of the CPA profession. He said: “[CPAs] are the voice of expertise and common sense in a complex economy. It’s pretty clear that if more of the public had access to our expertise and our unique insights, they would benefit.”
Some of the key issues Fletchall addressed include the mobility of CPAs, opposing tax strategy patents, improving the business reporting model, improving financial literacy of the public and convergence of US and international standards. On the latter point, he remarked: “In a global economy, this doesn’t just make sense, it’s imperative [the standards converge].”
Fletchall spoke about the changes occurring in the profession. It is his belief that many firms must catch up with these changes and need to recruit a younger and more diverse workforce. They must also confront the problem of employee retention by creating “a more flexible and diverse workplace”.
Another concern Fletchall noted was the profession’s reputation. He said it was imperative that accountants continue to do excellent work that will help raise the profession’s public profile. “We need to engage public policy makers, whether it is an issue discussed around the kitchen table or in the boardrooms of global corporations,” Fletchall said.