Early in my career, the use of computers in business was just getting started, and technology advanced at what we thought was a rapid pace. Quite a bit has changed since then: increased speed, memory, and bandwidth; Internet and mobile applications; search engines; social media. The list goes on. We went from vacuum tubes and transistors to integrated circuits, from floppy disks to thumb drives, from typewriters to word processors, and from systems that would take 12 to 18 hours to compile a report to virtually instant results. In 1975, the phrase “personal computer” was coined as technology advanced and business processes changed significantly. Around that same time in accounting, we began the transition from four-, eight-, and 13-column pads to sophisticated enterprise-wide systems and spreadsheets. While these changes seem to have happened at lightning speed, they don’t begin to compare to the exponential growth that we’ll witness in the next 10 years.

IMA will remain relevant and continue to be a thought leader in an increasingly technological and mobile world. One example of our efforts is the Signature Research Program with ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) announced in November 2014. Planned projects include SoMoClo (Social, Mobile, Cloud Computing), which is revolutionizing where business takes place; cybersecurity; predictive analytics; and the data life cycle. In addition, our Technology Solutions & Practices Committee remains at the forefront of thought leadership on additional subjects such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, and new businesses processes. As individuals and as an association, we have the opportunity—and the obligation—to explore these breakthroughs to support our businesses in a rapidly changing environment.

Despite these advances, however, one thing remains the same in our profession: our value as trusted business advisors and our responsibility to uphold the ethical ideals under which our association has flourished. We may not know where all these technological changes will lead us, but, regardless of where they do, we should march confidently into the future with integrity and an unwavering commitment to embrace leading technologies and innovations that impact our profession.

In closing, I’m pleased to have met so many dedicated volunteers around the globe who have made this year very special for me and who regularly enhance the professional journeys of our members. I’m also extremely honored to have followed Bill Knese and John Macaulay in serving as your Chair and wish incoming Chair Ben Mulling and Chair-Elect Marc Palker much success in the next 12 months. I welcome your comments at jvincent@imanet.org.

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