The accounting revolution
We thought we’d share the views of CPA and blogger, Jason Blumer, on the future of accounting – some inspiration ahead of our Xero Partner Conference later in the week. And yes Jason will be there.
The accountancy profession is going through a revolution. And I like the future appeal of our profession transitioning through a death, so that we might see a greater rebirth. Much like revolutions in the past, these changes can polarize those in the profession to fear the future, or embrace it. The revolution can’t be stopped. Demographics (our clients are getting younger), technology (specifically, the cloud) and new social platforms (such as social media) are bringing such rapid changes that we must either hold on for the ride, or move out of the way!
Let me highlight a few dramatic changes coming from this great revolution:
- Your business processes, as well as your client’s, is moving into the cloud. The cloud brings greater enjoyment of work as you are able to serve anyone from anywhere in the world and in any manner you choose. This literally transforms the face of the simple business process that all firms and businesses operate on top of. We can look to make the business process more beneficial to our bottom line. And when you operate in the cloud, you can redesign your processes for more effectiveness, you can become paperless, the world can become your market place and you can make more money. Freakin sweet.
- Serious product development is now collaborative. Our firm has continued to develop a deep relationship with Xero for a while now. They are a company with a deep sense of purpose in what they are doing and we enjoy working with them. And we love that they are building Xero collaboratively. Xero regularly looks outside the walls of their own company and seeks the collaborative wisdom of the accountancy crowd, the design community and geeky developers. And more complementary products are being added to Xero all the time. Many other companies see the value of remaining in very tight vertical markets while allowing other systems (like Xero) to stick to their core accounting model. And with well-built APIs, they all get to play together. Thus, everyone has to remain collaborative to make the product for the end user the best it can be. I believe Xero is a leader in this collaborative development.
- Offering commodities is NOT the foundation of your firm anymore. The fact that CPAs and CAs are truly knowledge workers, and that we sell knowledge (and not hours on a time sheet) means we get to use our brains to offer outlying, more valuable services. We can now couple the commodity work of taxes, accounting and payroll with business process design, coaching, branding and positioning and strategic business development. Our firm is doing this, and clients want it! They are willing to pay for it because it is valuable to them. This may seem odd at first, but you must remember that we are in the midst of a revolution. Revolutions are all about the death to old business models and the introduction of newer more valuable things. You will find newer generation clients allowing us to venture into services that now complement our core services. Besides, CPAs and CAs are closest to the business process, and I believe we can offer the most insight into these foundational business processes.
- As the owner, redefine your role in your organization. It’s time to begin looking at what you do each day. It may be time to begin designing your processes so that you step out of the day-to-day commodity work. Do you want to be an accountant or a business leader? Do you want to inspire others or get as many tax returns done as possible? Accountancy firms have always been accountants employing accountants (boring). The owners and the drones were really all the same thing. And though it still takes technical abilities to own a firm, you can do more than that now. You can design a collaborative, innovative place to work with a great sense of purpose that can transform the thinking of your clients. Leaders can inspire people and clients to achieve great things… accountants can’t really do that. Take steps now to move yourself out of the business process and into the role of Visionary Leader.
So remember, we are in a revolution. Every change and every new thing is now on the table to consider. Consider all options, and ask every question. Leave no stone unturned in your search for rebirth in the future of our creative and innovative profession.
Noting the leadership of companies like Xero, create new categories to operate in and create value in the marketplace that did not exist before.
Jason M. Blumer, CPA.CITP, CFE is managing shareholder of Blumer & Associates, CPAs, PC. He wears flip flops and jeans, says “dude” a lot, and often works in coffee shops with headphones blaring the latest Bloomberg podcasts (though he doesn’t understand most of it). Jason loves new game-changing cloud technology and plays rock and roll too loud. His daily duties include consulting, process design, blogging, marketing and business development, innovative thinking, coaching, practice management, and acting as a change agent. As the industry has changed, the need for new CPA firm leadership has emerged for the younger generation ready to move into the world of firm ownership. Jason founded the THRIVEal +CPA Network to accommodate the needs of this new younger generation. The THRIVEal +CPA Network looks to enhance and change the CPA profession based on the foundational tenets of Community, Collaboration, Technology and Innovation.