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7 (Mostly Terrible) Predictions for the Accounting Profession in 2019

Hi. Me again. It’s been awhile since we’ve met here. I can’t make any promises, but I hope to pop in now and again in 2019. Plus, Adrienne asked me nicely and she never asks for anything nicely, so here we are.

Speaking of that request, it went more or less like this:

AG: Would you be interested in opining on what 2019 holds for the profession?

Me: What if my 2019 preview was a list of terrible predictions?

AG: Like “Barry Melancon will come out as genderfluid pansexual” terrible?

Me: Something like that.

How could I say no?

Once I had agreed to write my predictions for 2019, it dawned on me: I hate making predictions! But this is the internet, where shitty prognostications happen at a breakneck pace. Making lousy predictions is a big part of the editorial strategy for practically every sports, political, and business news website. I imagine a news startup will emerge in the near future that will have a “What’s Your Best Guess?” desk. The desk will be run by one person throwing darts at a range of possibilities pinned on a cork board while an algorithm writes up the story based on results of the dart thrower. The company will raise $1 billion in its first month of operations.

So while I hate making predictions, I’m a good sport, so here I am, doing my best accounting impersonation of Miss Cleo. I’ve made seven predictions, four or five of which most likely will not come to pass. Or maybe they will! Who knows! The president is bound to relieve himself on the White House lawn any day now and the internet will break for good, so who cares.

Anyway, here are a handful-ish of predictions for 2019:

1. Naughty KPMG partners will plead guilty. The remaining alleged co-conspirators in the KPMG/PCAOB dramedy who are accused of conspiracy, fraud, etc. will cut a last-minute deal in an effort to avoid jail time. Is there any point to fighting a mountain of evidence that shows that they bumbled their way through a laughable effort to improve the firm’s inspection results? I daresay, my good reader, there is not. These clowns face decades in prison if they go to trial and are found guilty! It’s time to ditch the Radio Station loyalty and save your own skin, dudes. You do NOT want to be the one left holding the bag.

2. PwC will extend its no-screw-ups-at-the-Oscars streak to two. This will be the second year of the new and improved policies and procedures that include double-triple-checking the votes, no tweeting, or Emma Stone ogling. I also assume that between now and the Academy Awards, Tim Ryan will pray to St. Joseph daily.

3. AICPA will plead with members to embrace change. Year after year after year, the AICPA asks its members to embrace change. It’s a wonderful irony for an organization that’s had the same CEO for 20-odd years to spout a perennial message while asking its membership to do something completely different.

4. The robots will still be coming. I think I’ve lost count of the number of years where people said this is the year all the boring work will be done by robots, and accountants will be left to do the important work. And they’re still saying it! I think we’ll know that the robots are doing all the boring work when Big 4 firms announce that they’re no longer hiring new associates off-campus. The Global Recruiting Leaders of the Big 4 will hold a televised joint press conference, and all the accounting majors watching will melt like the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

5. Art imitates life. All the misconduct at EY will inspire an episode of Law & Order: SVU. If things continue at this rate, they’ll have enough material for a whole season.

6. More Big 4 bros will try to unseat their boss lady. Cathy Engelbert and Sacha Romanovitch both had their tenures cut short under shady circumstances, emboldening similar “boys rule, girls drool” campaigns at KPMG and EY.

7. Someone will ask you to help them with their tax return. Don’t worry. Just send them this.

Happy new year.

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