Change / transformation | Leadership | Management / Strategy

Your role as an advisor is your secret weapon

It’s been easy to question our profession’s future relevance lately, what with all the robots lining up to steal our jobs.

I heard a series of stats recently, though, that might ease your mind a bit.

They came from Xero Americas President Keri Gohman, and they look like this:

  • Half of all small businesses will fail within five years of their creation.
  • Sixty-five percent of leaders say their businesses fail due to financial difficulties.
  • Small business owners overwhelmingly say accountants are their No. 1 advisors. They’re looking for advice, insights, and order.
  • Small businesses that are connected to an accountant-advisor experience 23 percent faster net profit growth, and 85 percent of them survive past five years. “You are making a real difference,” Gohman told accountants at the Xerocon Austin conference in December.
  • The problem: Only 32 percent of small businesses have such an advisor. “Accounting is critical to small-business success,” Gohman said. "Small businesses with accountant-advisors survive and thrive.” By extension, the opposite is true: Small businesses who don't have that accountant-advisor relationship are doomed.

Do you see the opportunity there? Small businesses thrive when they have an accountant advising them on the future of their business ... and few businesses have that kind of advice.

There's your sweet spot, CPAs. Machines can do a lot of amazing things, but they can't make those connections. They can't tell those stories. They can't help their clients navigate the complexities of doing business in a tech-driven world.

Only you can do that.

Consider this excerpt from a recent Information Management article:

========== Despite dire headlines and widespread hand wringing, most jobs won’t be replaced by technology outright. But most jobs will see themselves significantly redefined and redesigned in the near future to focus the human worker on what they do best, and partner those workers with technology that can take over routine, tedious, and otherwise transactional activities. In the end, humans won’t be out of work, but they will get out of doing isolated, mindless tasks so they can focus on higher-value activities and improved productivity.

"We’re not heading to a future of mass unemployment, or one where everyone lives a life of leisure while robots toil away," David Finke writes. "The real future of our economy is humans doing what humans do best, and technology augmenting their work to help them reach peak performance." ==========

In other words, quit worrying about robots stealing your jobs. Focus, instead, on your human-ness — your ability to tell the stories behind the numbers. Machines can't do that yet. CPAs can.

Forge relationships. Connect the dots. Tell the stories. Be advisors. Help your clients gain traction toward their vision.

Do those things and you'll always be relevant.


William D. Sheridan