This time it is different. That is my insight as I head home after three days at the Wolters Kluwer – CCH 2015 Users Conference in Las Vegas this week.
“What you cannot do is become stagnant or stay with the status quo, you must adapt to succeed.” – Teresa Mackintosh, President & CEO at Wolters Kluwer, CCH US
Teresa opened the conference with that quote and the announcement of CCH’s latest research about CPA firms and technology. She was also seen riding a hoverboard, sporting a “smart ring” and soon to have a pair of “smart shoes“, all connected to her via smartphone – proving the Internet of Things is here.
So, what’s different?
The size, scale, scope, and speed of change. We truly are living in exponential times and the opportunities are endless for those who are willing to look for them. That is what I mean by beating the odds.
The futurist and technology guru, Geoffrey Moore talked about how to organize and compete in an age of disruption. Here are a few notable quotes:
- The Millennials are asking, ‘How long are you going to cling to your stupid stuff?’
- If you’re not using a generation’s technology, then you’re disenfranchising their world.
- It’s easy to be virtual with not just your staff, but also with your clients. You don’t need to co-locate with them.
In other words, the faster things change, the further you are at risk for falling behind and becoming irrelevant.
Teresa had some recommendations for us to consider:
- Automate workflows
- Provide a single source of information
- Integrate effectively
- Enable mobile access
- Evolve to the cloud
Here is my take on beating the odds in this fast future – the five C’s:
- Context – understanding the external environment and trends in and out of our industry.
- Certainty – identifying the certainties or hard trends about the future and placing bets there.
- Capacity – leveraging technology, workflow, and cloud to create capacity to use for innovation.
- Competency – learning the new skills of anticipation, strategic and critical thinking and related skills.
- Core beliefs (purpose and values) – protecting the core and communicating inside and outside your organization.
And then there is the result of our polls throughout the four sessions and covering almost two hundred participants. Check out the brainstorm we did of hard trends and opportunities (page 12 & 13) – see the recap below:
Top challenges facing individuals:
- Succession & Talent Development
- Being reactive vs proactive
- Recruitment & retention
- Managing change
- Not enough time
Top Challenges facing Firms:
- Recruiting top talent
- Engagement of our people
- Workload compression
- Retention of top talent
- Business development and growth
Top Skills Needed to be Successful:
- Inspiring and motivating others
- Strategic & Critical Thinking
- Anticipating and serving evolving needs
- Influencing and persuading others
These are consistent with our research over the past year except the last few months have shown an increased emphasis on succession, engagement of people, recruitment and retention of top talent.
It is time to get moving, standing still or delaying decisions is costly, even deadly, in this period of exponential change. Start today working on creating capacity (ala Mackintosh) and acquiring new competencies. These smart moves will increase your odds of success in this fast future. Good luck!
If you need a trusted guide to help you position your firm for success in the fast future, check out our resources for strategic planning, career paths and curriculum design, success skills, and our newest innovation with Dan Burrus, The Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance Edition.
- Anticipation: The Missing Competency for CPAs, Accounting and Finance Professionals
- Accounting Today: Report from Council: Anticipate the Future
- Learning the Skill of Anticipation is Game Changing and Required – Katherine Watts, Horne, LLP
- Competency Crisis: Many Young Professionals Lack Training in Vital “Soft Skills”
- CCH Whitepaper: Laying the Foundation for Firm Success in 2016: Solutions in & out of the Cloud