Podcast: Bringing innovation to accounting and finance

This week's show is all about innovation – which, let’s face it, isn't something the accounting and finance profession is known for. We’re all about accounting for what has happened. What will happen is not something we're typically worried about.

Here’s the thing, though: We’re living in a world where we’ll be flattened by what’s in front of us if we don’t take the time to look for it ... if we don’t take the time to turn around and look for what futurist Andrew Zolli would call those “weak signals of disruptive change” on the horizon.  If we don’t start training ourselves to look forward to what’s next as much as we look back to what’s happened, we’re doomed.

And here’s why: A few years ago, the Sleeter Group released the results of a survey that showed the top reason why clients decided to leave their CPA firms is that their CPAs were providing reactive services instead of proactive advice. In other words, their CPAs were holding them back instead of helping them become future-ready. At the same time, CPA.com released a survey that found 92 percent of CPAs said they weren’t prepared to provided that proactive advice.

So, to recap: Our clients are demanding proactive, future-ready advice – and 92 percent of us aren’t prepared to provide that type of advice.

That’s a problem.

That’s where this week’s guest comes in. Jordan Kleinsmith is director of innovation for the tax and accounting business at Thomson Reuters for Tax and Accounting Firms. He’s the guy who’s keeping an eye on what’s happening in the profession and figuring out how Thomson Reuters needs to respond, in terms of innovative new ideas, strategies, and products.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • The current and future state of tax and regulatory reform.
  • Megatrends in the market and profession.
  • 'Why this is the perfect time for accounting and finance pros to learn to become a little more anticipatory and innovative.

Listen to our conversation here.



Hunting for trends It wasn’t long ago that only the biggest organizations with the deepest pockets had the money to throw at a groundbreaking new technologies like artificial intelligence. In 2016, KPMG became one of the first in our profession to throw their hat into the A.I. ring when they announced they would begin to apply IBM’s Watson A.I. solution to their entire suite of professional services. Just 18 month later, solutions like Mindbridge’s AI Auditor have made the power of A.I. affordable and available to everyone in the profession.

Things are moving fast, and Thomson Reuters knows that. That’s why they have people like Jordan Kleinsmith out there hunting for trends — so that they, as an organization, can stay on the bleeding edge.

We saw proof of that recently when Thomson Reuters took its popular tax research platform, Checkpoint, and applied artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and machine learning technologies to it. The result is Checkpoint Edge, the latest version of Checkpoint that employs those technologies to deliver fast, more accurate answers than ever to tax research questions. Because it uses A.I., that research platform gets smarter with every question you ask because it’s using questions and data from hundreds of thousands of other researchers to deliver exactly the kinds of answers you’re looking for.

The Thomson Reuters folks are super excited about the possibilities that Checkpoint Edge offers, and with good reason. It looks as though it could be another groundbreaking solution in a world that’s advancing exponentially.

That’s the kind of stuff that Jordan Kleinsmith does – and that’s the way that every accounting and finance professional needs to start thinking.



William D. Sheridan