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AICPA president Barry Melancon recently addressed a gathering of CPAs and bankers at a joint meeting of two state CPA society chapters. Before giving his vision of the future of the profession, he spoke of his efforts to make the AICPA a more member-oriented, technology-driven organization, the premier organization of its kind in the country.

He went on to describe the challenges ahead to the profession and the banking community as a major user of the profession's services. He extolled the benefits to be derived of moving beyond the traditional historic financial statement information to satisfy the needs of decision makers for all manner of information, nonfinancial and more. He sees the need for the profession to be where the action is--on the Internet for example--giving assurances to those seeking to know whether this piece of information or that is what it purports to be.

He also sees the challenges of new forms of competition of the kind that American Express Tax and Business Services is providing by persons holding themselves out to be CPAs. In his opinion there are other commercial entities planning to enter the market.

To compete, according to Melancon, the licensing of CPA practitioners must become more like the system that exists for drivers' licenses. Licensing of CPAs should be based upon residency with the other jurisdictions allowing freedom of movement to provide services throughout the country, provided that the licensee meets the requirements of his or her home state.

Melancon concluded with the idea that the profession must be aware of where it fits and can contribute in the changing world as it is and not as CPAs might want it to be or remember it being. *

The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

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