Lyceum: Exciting Careers Await Future Accountants

Photo: Barry Salzberg, DeloitteBarry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte LLP, shared his vision of the next five years for the accounting profession with a large audience of accountancy students on March 27. Salzberg happily reported that “today the corporate and professional worlds are open to anyone, from any background, as long as you are smart, skilled, and willing to work. The doors have been flung open to people from all backgrounds.”

Globalization is a huge force for change in the accounting profession. Companies and the firms like Deloitte who serve them need people with a wide array of skills and experiences to meet the needs of an increasingly globalized economy. Students entering accounting firms will likely work for one or more of the growing numbers of complex multinational clients and rely heavily on communication and cultural skills.

Citing an impending shift from the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) standard, used only the in the United States, to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Salzberg described a profession where both experience and inexperienced accountancy professionals are struggling to prepare. The rules-based GAAP standard will give way to the principles-based IFRS in an upset not seen since the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission 75 years ago.

“We expect that within the next two to three years, the SEC will give companies in the United States the option to switch to IFRS for reporting. Sometime after that