Accounting & Auditing Change / transformation Leadership

Podcast: The future is radical: Embrace innovation, one step at a time

We spend the bulk of each episode of "Future-Proof" trying to help accounting and finance professionals become a little more future-ready – just a little more forward-thinking than they were an hour ago.

This week, we’re talking to an accounting and finance pro who already is future-ready – or as future-ready as they come. Our guest this week is none other than Jody Padar, the CEO and principal of the New Vision CPA Group and the original Radical CPA.

Jody is an enthusiastic evangelist of all things new. Any advancement that promises to make her firm more productive and to help her better serve her clients, she’s going to try it. Jody was one of the profession’s earliest fans of social media. She embraced cloud computing before cloud computing was cool. And she is deeply investigating things like A.I. and machine learning to see what they might be able to do for her firm – and more importantly, for her clients.

It’s not just new technology, either. Jody also plays around with business model innovation and fixed pricing models. She is definitely pushing the edge of the envelope.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • Why Jody, a Chicago-based CPA, is a member of the Maryland Association of CPAs.
  • Why project management is the way of the future.
  • The first steps toward becoming "radical."
  • Incorporating social media into your business model.
  • Building innovation into the DNA of your firm.
  • Value billing and fixed-price models.
  • What diversity and inclusion mean for Radical CPAs.
  • Jody’s vision of the future for the profession.


The first step toward becoming a Radical CPA If you do just one thing to make your firm more radical and future-ready after listening to this episode, Jody believes it should getting rid of the timesheet.

That may offend your sensibilities, and you probably won’t be able to do it in one fell swoop, but you can start small: Just block of four hours once a week, or even once a month, to stop thinking about being billable and start thinking about what you can do differently.

“If you have that mindset that you always have to be billable, you’ll never be innovative,” Jody says.

This doesn’t have to involve implementing new technologies, either. Real innovation often consists of small changes to how we do things – it doesn’t have to be something huge or groundbreaking.

We need more Radical CPAs We believe our profession needs more people like Jody.

Here's why, thanks to some numbers that Barry Melancon shared during last week’s podcast.

Barry cited a McKinsey report titled “Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation.” That report estimates that by the year 2030, up to 375 million employees worldwide may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills in order to remain relevant in their work.

That includes accounting and finance pros.

Jody can be seen as a role model for all of that. She’s perfectly willing to try anything new if it’s going to make her smarter and give her firm a leg up on the competition and better serve her clients. “Same as last year” doesn’t fly in Jody’s firm.

In fact, Jody has written the book (quite literally) on this profession – twice! Her first book was called The Radical CPA: New Rules for the Future-Ready Firm, in which she shares her story and a roadmap to move toward a Radical CPA mindset.

Her latest is titled From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide. It’s a step-by-step handbook with hundreds of strategies, tools, tips, insights, guest experts, and case studies that will help any firm start moving toward a future-proof business model.



William D. Sheridan