September 2000

This year's CPA Journal high-net-worth issue--my first--offers sound ideas for wealth preservation that I think our readers will find useful for themselves and those they advise. And if it doesn't, I want you to let me know. My first goal as editor-in-chief is to ensure that the Journal is open, approachable, and highly responsive to its readers. To that end, we're planning an in-depth readership survey--the first in five years. We want to learn more about you, your interests, what you think of the Journal, and what you think about the changing professional environment.

We also want to generate more involvement of accounting practitioners, particularly those working in industry. I expect that during the coming year you'll see more articles written by CPA and industry practitioners. Whenever a topic calls for a particular expertise, we'll give you the best possible authors, experts, and other sources for the most current, informed thinking possible.

Although technical information is abundant in our profession, learning how to live and work in the changing and evolving business community is too often left for us to figure out for ourselves. To bridge that gap, the Journal will begin to cover some nonaccounting, nontechnical business skills, but with a uniquely CPA orientation. For instance, upcoming articles will investigate the giving and receiving personnel evaluations, conducting business meetings, building and marketing new service niches, establishing work teams, and evaluating insurance needs and options--and will be written by or about CPA practitioners to present insights and experiences unique to accountants. At the same time, the high-quality information about accounting, auditing, and taxes that readers expect from the Journal will remain but will be more tightly focused. Our overarching emphasis will be on both knowledge and skills--in many cases, bringing the know-how of highly skilled people into the pages of the Journal so readers at different points in their careers (chronologically or otherwise) can learn the real-world part of being a CPA that rounds out and completes technical "book learning."

For more than 70 years, The CPA Journal has been widely read and respected for its technical expertise. I also want to see the Journal establish itself as a respected leader in the ongoing debate about the future of the profession, which means presenting commentary and opinion--sometimes controversial, I expect--in ways that help CPAs and those they advise understand and prepare for tomorrow.

You'll also see the Journal going further beneath the surface and behind the scenes to analyze substantive issues, providing insight into how and why practice is changing and evolving--especially in ways that help you understand and prepare for whatever's coming next. As always, you'll get those insights from colleagues and experts in the unique position to know.

Some readers may look at the cover of this month's issue and see a man who can't see the forest for the proverbial trees. I believe that CPA Journal readers are mentally adept, capable of seeing forest and trees simultaneously, and our job is to maintain a high-quality balancing act between the big picture and the details.

Until we get our readership survey out, I'm relying on what people tell me first-hand about The CPA Journal, the accounting profession, and where both are headed. If you have comments, ideas, or questions, e-mail me at my address below. I'll be using this new monthly column to talk about what I'm hearing and what I think it means, and maybe to raise questions of my own.

You probably noticed that this column bears no name--this is because I want your input. What do you think we should call it? Send me your suggestions by e-mail before October 31. We'll announce the name and who named it in the December issue of the Journal. In return, I'll treat the winner to lunch and the opportunity to talk my ear off as to how we can provide a Journal that is consistently timely, fresh, and relevant to your professional career.

I'm really pleased to be here and hope to hear from you. *

Robert H. Colson, PhD, CPA

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