CPA firms reaffirmed their value to small business clients in 2020, even as they reshaped the way they deliver their services, said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com.
The CPA profession’s response to workplace restrictions and pandemic-related shutdowns dramatically accelerated key firm trends such as the move to the cloud, advisory services and remote work that CPA.com has been advancing over the past decade with the Digital CPA community, Asgeirsson said during his keynote presentation at Digital CPA, held as a virtual event this year.
“We say that 2020 has become the new 2025,” he said. “The key driver of this is the acceleration of the adoption rate of technology, along with the way firms deliver client services.”
Asgeirsson noted that business agility matured significantly in the past year, with clear advantages to progressive firms that had invested in technology and innovation. And he said the sense of purpose within the profession has never been higher.
The profession’s reputation benefited, meanwhile, from the role CPA firms played in advising beleaguered small businesses seeking relief through the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and related programs.
“CPA firms really stepped up and proved their value,” Asgeirsson said. “So much so that we’re seeing business relief emerging as a new category of advisory services. While pandemic-related relief issues will run possibly into 2022, we think business funding will be a fertile new area for firms as an advisory service long after that.”
The remote work environment has also underscored the value of virtual CFO services. CPA.com is launching a new cloud-based business planning solution for firms from Jirav. The financial planning and analysis tool permits fast forecasting and budgeting, with insights presented in engaging dashboards with custom key performance indicators and tailored reports.
Asgeirsson also updated conference attendees on the progress of the AICPA’s Dynamic Audit Solution initiative, which will launch its first commercial version of an evolved audit methodology next year. He also discussed the highly successful U.S. rollout of the .cpa Internet domain, which is restricted solely to licensed CPA firms and – starting in January – licensed individual CPAs.
“This new domain is a significant move for the profession,” he said. “And we’ll be rolling this out around the world.”