Magazine article The CPA Journal

Non-CPA Firm Ownership: From Nice to Have to Have to Have

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Non-CPA Firm Ownership: From Nice to Have to Have to Have

Article excerpt

The idea that CPA firms would allow non-CPAs to own a minority stake in a CPA firm and then refer to these non-licensees as "partners" was once a hotly debated topic within the profession. Now, 28 years after Nevada became the first state to do so, allowing non-CPAs to become equity partners in a firm is seen as less of a risk and more of a necessity for an adaptable profession that is facing the automation of all its tax preparation jobs and entry- and mid-level auditing positions.

A recent Center for an Urban Future study found that "bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are the largest group whose tasks are highly vulnerable to automation." The study predicts that 86% of these positions-of which there are 55,040 in New York City alone-have the potential to be automated. Tax preparation services face a similar fate, with technology futurists estimating between 50% to 99% automation potential. As has been the case in the past, however, researchers note that while "certain occupations may shed jobs as machines gain ground" technology is still anticipated to create more jobs than it displaces and automation will require humans to work more closely with machines rather than be replaced by them.

How this will all shake out remains to be seen; meanwhile, CPA firms are preparing for this future, developing new lines of business and recruiting experts in business intelligence, data modeling, business valuation, actuarial work, the legal field, and others, not only to support their audit practice, but also to support the entire firm's future. …

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