Should Continuing Education be a Professional Requirement?
by ELMER G. BEAMER Partner, Cleveland Office
Presented before the National Conference on State Legislation, Saint Louis—October 1970
THIS is THE FIRST TIME I've been at a state legislation conference al-
though I've heard so much about the activities you carry on at these meetings. The state legislation committee of the Institute has over the years certainly been the most helpful to the various committees I've been associated with.
A couple of months ago there appeared in several national magazines an advertisement for Great Books. Some of you may remember it. There was a picture of a cemetery in the middle of winter and there was a tombstone.
The tombstone read, "Here lies the mind of John Doe who at the age of thirty stopped thinking. Some people die at thirty, but they aren't buried until they are seventy."
I don't think this is true of many CPAs, although perhaps of some. There was a time when all our learning could take place during our early years. We reached a point of becoming knowledgeable and then spent the rest of our lives producing on the basis of that knowledge—but that doesn't work any more. Today, keeping up to date is the big problem, and so the educated man is the man who knows how to learn. Recently, the National Industrial Conference Board published the second section of its series, "Combatting Knowledge Obsolescence," and there are a couple of paragraphs in the introduction that I should like to read to you if I may.
Education has long been recognized as the key to continued progress. About twenty-five centuries ago Confucius said, "If your plan is for one year, plant rice—for ten years, plant trees—for a hundred years, educate men."
During the present century, knowledge is multiplying at a rate unparalleled
in history. According to one estimate, there is a hundred times as much to know now as was available in 1900. And by the year 2000 there will be over 1,000 times as much.