Byron Patrick is a chameleon of sorts — an accounting chameleon, let’s call him. He’s changed colors more times than I can count, and always in ways that leave him one step ahead of everyone else.
I met him in 2006, 2007 maybe. He was director of IT for KatzAbosch in Maryland at the time, and he had just created a virtual office for the firm in something called Second Life. Remember Second Life? That virtual world where you can create avatars and content, and fly around, and buy things, and interact with other people from all over the world. He very well might have helped KatzAbosch create the world’s first virtual accounting firm. And we at the Business Learning Institute immediately saw Second Life’s potential as an educational tool — so we built CPA Island in Second Life and started holding virtual CPE programs and networking events there. It never really caught on. It might not have been the right platform. It was a little clunky, and we ended abandoning it. But the concept was — and is — sound. Virtual space is a great place to teach and learn, and other platforms have come along since then and proved it right. And Byron was the first person I had met who was thinking about that stuff before almost anyone else in the profession.
He went on to co-found an organization that focused on remote work technologies and solutions. This was in 2008 — again, way before its time.
He joined the Board of Directors for the Maryland Association of CPAs and eventually chaired that board during the 2013-14 fiscal year — becoming one of the youngest MACPA chairs ever in the process.
He’s a speaker and a tech writer for the Journal of Accountancy.
And now he’s changed colors again. In 2019 he joined the team at Botkeeper as their director of pre-sales and solutions. Botkeeper provides automated bookkeeping and accounting solutions for firms.
And that’s what we’re talking about this week — automation, and artificial intelligence, and what that stuff is and what it isn’t, and what it allows firms to do that they can’t or haven’t thought about.
Listen to my conversation with Byron here.
Future-Proof is a production of Crate Media.