CPAs in Business and Industry: Gearing Up for the 21st Century

Article excerpt

In a major expansion of its services to CPAs in the private sector, the American Institute of CPAs established the Center for Excellence in Financial Management on January 1, 1997. The center serves as the umbrella for the AICPA programs, products and services that support the 140,000 members in business and industry. The center's objective is to help CPAs retool and develop new skills to meet the demands of their expanding role as strategic business partners and advisers within their organizations. The center's offerings and activities are also relevant to CPAs in public practice, who often must wear many hats for their clients, including accounting manager, controller and chief financial officer.

"By establishing a clearinghouse from which AICPA members can obtain stateof-the-art and timely information and training in cutting-edge subjects, we are meeting an important need" said AICPA President Barry C. Melancon. "Moreover, we are helping our members enhance their professional standing and economic potential by adding value to their companies and clients in the 21st century"

The collective package of offerings and activities through the center will include professional education, research, benchmarking and publications; one of its most important functions will be the interchange of information. The center will develop strategic liaisons with other accounting and business management associations to capitalize on all available expertise.

The education content will focus on "the new finance" a term created by the AICPA management accounting executive committee to describe the revolutionary changes that have taken place globally in financial management and the expanded roles and responsibilities of CPAs in business and industry. The new finance encompasses such subjects as shareholder value creation, capacity management, competitive intelligence, just-in-time production systems and value chain analysis.

The center will establish relationships with universities to foster cooperative research, develop executive-level education programs and design and produce seminars and workshops relating to the new finance. …