If you’re like me – just trying to make it through the day unscathed – keeping up with all of this change and complexity can be a daunting task. We need some help and guidance.
That help is there, if you know where to look.
Scores of thought leaders are tracking these changes – in fact, tracking changes that haven’t even happened yet – and letting us know what we should be paying attention to. MACPA CEO Tom Hood has a name for these people: look-out posts. They’re the people who are paying attention to the stuff we don’t have time to pay attention to ourselves. They’re giving us guidance on what these changes mean for our businesses and our clients, and what we should be doing to make ourselves a bit more future-ready.
We’ve even talked with a number of these folks on this show. People like Daniel Burrus, Barry Melancon, Ron Baker and Ed Kless, Rick Richardson, and others. These folks come loaded with good advice, and if you haven’t already, go back and listen to their shows.
Well, we’ve got another great look-out today – Gary Boomer, the founder, visionary, and strategist at Boomer Consulting. And talk about influence: Gary himself is recognized as one of the most influential people in the profession and an authority on pretty much anything related to technology and firm management.
But his influence goes far beyond that. He’s a true leader in that he elevates the people on his team to become influential as well. His son Jim, who’s the CEO at Boomer Consulting, and Sandra Wiley, who’s Boomer Consulting’s president, have also been named among the profession’s most influential people. So Gary has built his Boomer think-tank to last, and THAT’s the mark of a great leader.
In this conversation, we cover:
- Gary’s view of the future of the accounting and finance profession.
- How our mindsets, skillsets, and toolsets need to change to move the profession forward.
- Three ways in which we all can add value.
Meanwhile, here’s what caught my eye this week.
The future of jobs
The World Economic Forum recently released its annual “Future of Jobs” report, and it’s an eye-opener.
For years now, the folks at the WEF have been beating the drum about the impact that artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digitization will have on our workplaces. Well, they’re no longer talking about the impact these new technologies will have. They’re talking about the impact these technologies are having – because this stuff is happening now, in real time.
First, let’s talk about the division of labor. According to the report, this year humans will work 71 percent of the hours required to get the job done, while machines will work 29 percent of the hours. In 2022, humans will outwork machines 58 percent to 42 percent. And in 2025 — just seven years from now, machines will be doing the majority of our work — 52 percent, to just 48 percent for humans. So yes, machines are taking jobs. That’s happening.
And what jobs are they taking? According to the report, here are the 10 jobs that are most in decline in this age of automation:
- Data entry clerks
- Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks
- Administrative and executive secretaries
- Assembly and factory workers
- Client information and customer service workers
- Business services and administration managers
- Accountants and auditors
- Material-recording and stock-keeping clerks
- General and operations managers
- Postal services clerks
So, accounting and finance pros, there’s a lot to be worried about there. Machines are increasingly able to do the stuff that we’ve been trained to do for years.
But it’s not all bad news. The WEF predicts that emerging new jobs will outnumber displaced old jobs by almost 2 to 1. New technologies, they say, will create more new jobs than they destroy.
To take advantage of that, though, we’ve got to learn some new skills. And according to the World Economic Forum, these are the skills we’ll need to remain relevant going forward:
- Analytical thinking and innovation
- Active learning and learning strategies
- Creativity, originality and initiative
- Technology design and programming
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Complex problem-solving
- Leadership and social influence
- Emotional intelligence
- Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
- Systems analysis and evaluation
In other words, anything the machines can’t do.
Mindsets, skillsets, toolsets
To make ourselves more future-ready, Boomer says we have to change our mindsets, our skillsets, and our toolsets – we have to change how we think about things, how we learn about things, and the tools we use to make us better at these things.
And as you’ll hear in this week’s show, he’s spot-on … as usual.