As many of my clients and friends reading my blogs may know, I serve as Nevada’s only elected representative to the governing Council of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). This is a position that I am pleased and honored to hold as it offers me the opportunity to provide a voice in the national forum that represents our profession with respect to standard-setting as well as giving me a glimpse of all that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to being an advocate for our collective interests as practitioners and clients on the national stage. I attend two national Council meetings and one regional meeting each year. These meetings are packed with Council business and often other interesting topics that promote thought leadership in areas you wouldn’t always expect. My last meeting was no exception.
The 2013 Fall Meeting of the AICPA Council was held in late October in Los Angeles, California. As is always the case at the Council meetings, AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, gave a masterful presentation outlining the current issues facing our profession. Near the conclusion of his presentation, Mr. Melancon provided a few remarks regarding the evolution of the CPA’s learning environment pointing out that the general trend in learning is becoming more focused on measuring competency rather than the time spent. This was to become one of the major focuses in this meeting.
In conjunction with the topic of the future of learning, the AICPA had arranged for a presentation by Sal Khan, Founder – Khan Academy. Many of you may be familiar with Mr. Khan as he has been in the spotlight recently having been on CBS’s news magazine 60 Minutes and can be seen on a commercial currently running on TV describing his organization and its partnership with Bank of America. For those of you who are not familiar with him, Sal Khan is the founder and faculty of the Khan Academy— a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a free world-class education to anyone, anywhere. It now consists of self-paced software and, with over 1 million unique students per month, the most-used educational video repository on the Internet (over 30 million lessons delivered to-date). All 2000+ video tutorials, covering everything from basic addition to advanced calculus, physics, chemistry and biology, have been made by Mr. Khan.
Prior to the Khan Academy, Mr. Khan was a senior analyst at a hedge fund and had also worked in technology and venture capital. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an M.Eng and B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, and a B.S. in mathematics from MIT.
During his presentation to the Council, Khan gave an energetic, often humorous, background story on how he founded his not-for-profit organization. It was a fascinating presentation and I would encourage everyone, especially parents of school-aged children, to learn more about this organization and its revolutionary approach to learning. I now know where I will turn to brush up on my algebra, calculus physics and biology, all of which baffled me during my formative years!