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Session Sneak Peek: Carla McCall

June 13, 2024

Carla McCall CPA, CGMA, is managing partner of AAFCPAs, a preeminent, 300+ person CPA and consulting firm based in New England. She is chair of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Carla was named one of the Most Powerful Women in the Accounting Profession in 2020-2021, 2022, and 2023 by the AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor Magazine. Her dynamic executive leadership, bold practicality, and enthusiasm to embrace change is setting the standard for mission-driven, growth organizations. She has been an instrumental force in the evolution and growth of AAFCPAs, responsible for driving the expansion of services beyond the core audit and tax, such as managed accounting, wealth management, robotic process automation, IT and cyber security, system selection and implementation, and data analytics.

Carla recognizes the importance of setting an influential tone at the top to inspire AAFCPAs’ people-first, cultural environment. Some of the programs she’s launched include AAFCPAs’ Women’s Opportunity Network, DEI initiative, Innovation Lab and Changemaker Challenge, Automation Center of Excellence (CoE), Zip2CPA credentialing accelerator program, and E3 Intern Accelerator Program. She leads with authenticity and her commitment to service, volunteerism, and purposeful work is contagious. She inspires new pathways to growth, sustainability, and excellence.

Q&A with Carla McCall, CPA, CGMA


OSCPA: What are you most looking forward to serving as Chair of the AICPA?
McCall: As I step into this role, I am most looking forward to advancing our profession by focusing on three key areas:

Valuing and Sustaining Our Business: I aim to highlight the profound value our profession adds to the economy and society. Trust is our foundation, and I plan to elevate our visibility as trusted advisors, showcasing the varied and impactful projects we undertake. This will  improve our profession's image and attract talent.  I also plan to share ideas on how we can improve our business models so we create cultures that attract and retain talent and align with the expectations of todays workforce.

Driving Innovation and Transformation: We are in a transformative era for accounting, marked by advancements in AI, blockchain, and data analytics. My goal is to ensure we continue to innovate and stay at the forefront of these changes. This includes promoting continuous education and adopting new technologies to enhance our efficiency and effectiveness.

Powering Inclusion and Opportunity: My personal journey, influenced by strong family role models like my grandmother and mother, has instilled in me a deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. I plan to continue this advocacy, expanding our efforts to attract, develop, and retain talent, and making our profession more accessible through initiatives like CPA Evolution and alternative paths into the profession.

I am grateful to have a front-row seat to the evolution of the profession and opportunities and challenges on the horizon—and, to be part of the conversations of how to seize the opportunities and solve these challenges. 

OSCPA: What about your session are you most excited to share with OSCPA members?
McCall: In this Professional Issues Update, I'm most excited to discuss the major forces reshaping the accounting profession and what the future holds for finance. We'll explore how demographics, technology, and regulations are pivotal trends driving change. I'll highlight the transformation of technology strategies into talent strategies, emphasizing the integration of AI and machine learning in automating accounting tasks. Additionally, we'll delve into how accountants continue to be seen as trusted advisors who add significant value to businesses. This session will give us a clearer view of where the accounting field is headed and how we can navigate these changes effectively.

Additionally, bringing in views from outside our organization is vital for both personal growth and business success. It allows us to compare ourselves with the wider industry, spot new trends early, and adopt the latest best practices. By looking beyond our own walls, we can innovate and stay ahead of changes in the market, which helps us grow and stay competitive.

OSCPA: Do you have a favorite or most memorable moment of your career?
McCall: Aside from my inauguration as AICPA Chair and making the cover of the Journal of Accountancy, I’m proud of having been elected to a Managing Partner seat at AAFCPAs (HQ in Massachusetts) in 2011. This began my journey of leading with authenticity. Don’t think you have to lead the same way as your predecessor.  You did not get to leadership without demonstrating ability, so do it your way.  Authenticity is paramount in building trust.  Trust builds influence.  Influence allows you to accomplish great things. Further, leadership is not reserved only for the most tenured in the company.  There are amazing, smart, talented young leaders.  Let them lead.

OSCPA: What drives you to continue pushing forward for growth in the CPA profession?
McCall: What drives me to keep pushing for growth in the CPA profession is the realization of its true value, which I didn't fully appreciate when I started. Back then, the profession seemed more rigid and uniform—everyone followed a similar path with similar expectations. Today, it's different. We have more transparent leaders and open discussions about our direction and possibilities. This has made the diversity of opportunities in the profession more visible. The profession has shown incredible resilience through economic ups and downs, proving its strength and adaptability. Had I understood this earlier, I would have been a stronger advocate from the start. This perspective can significantly benefit our field today, helping to attract and retain more talent.

OSCPA: Is there anything about your session that sets it apart from others like it?
McCall: This is a comprehensive update that hits many topics, and I will deliver the presentation with enthusiasm and energy!  We have a bright future, and I believe everyone needs to do their part to advance our profession forward. 

OSCPA's Annual Members Meeting

June 24-25 | 1:00 PM | Thackerville