Remember in the ’60s, when people used to say, “Let your freak flag fly?”
Today, we’re going to let our “geek flags” fly.
Our guest is Rick Richardson, a CPA and managing partner of Richardson Media and Technologies.
More to the point, Rick is one of the deepest thinkers about current and future technology trends around. He studies this stuff almost religiously – so if you want to know which tech trends you should be paying attention to, keep listening.
And although Rick is still bullish on the future of our profession, he says we’re definitely going to be disrupted in some pretty significant ways by technology.
What technologies are going to disrupt us? Certainly A.I., automation and blockchain. We’ve all heard about those. But that’s so 2017.
You want to know what you really should be paying attention to? Try things like quantum computing, or edge computing, or something Rick calls “tokenization.” These things are coming, and they’re going to have a huge impact, even within the next decade.
In this conversation, we cover:
- How to protect your home routers – the latest targets of those meddling Russian hackers.
- The six tech trends that will have the biggest impact on the accounting and finance profession.
- Five more trends that Rick sees impacting us a little further down the road (roughly six to eight years from now).
- Quantum computing and the status of Moore’s Law.
- Is the profession moving fast enough to keep up with these trends?
- Rick’s tips for the average accounting and finance pro who wants to stay up-to-date with technology.
Six trends to watch
According to Rick, there are six trends that will have the biggest impact on our lives in the near future:
- Blockchain. Not just because of cryptocurrencies, but because the entire blockchain platform has an incredible potential to affect businesses and individuals.
- Voice search. We’re finding out already that typing is fine for some things, but in the not-too-distant future, typing is going to be like the command line in MS-DOS – obsolete, in other words. And as virtual assistants integrate their ways into our lives, we can already see this happening.
- 3D printing. Not so much for the accounting profession, but overall, this will have a tremendous impact in our lifespan. More than anything, this will impact manufacturing. And in the not-too-distant future, we’ll probably be printing and implanting human organs.
- 5G. Today, most everything on mobile devices is being done through 4G LTE networks. By 2019, we’ll probably see 5G networks becoming available, and these networks will likely be 10 times faster in bandwidth.
- The Internet of Everything. The Internet of Things has been around for a while, but when you start putting smart homes, smart automobiles, and other devices on the same networks, the ability to have almost any device communicate with any other device is going to create new ways of doing things – and will possibly create new opportunities and efficiencies that we can’t yet predict.
- Artificial personal assistants. Today, you might receive an automated e-mail and then get it routed or labeled in your inbox based a simple algorithm. Imagine a virtual assistant that is able to look at your entire inbox, schedule meetings, remind you of phone calls, and do whatever has to be done based on the communications you have – and that’s just one small example of how these artificial assistants will impact our lives.
Want more info on this stuff? Subscribe to Rick’s newsletter at TechnologyThisWeek.net.
Automation isn’t slowing staffing
Financial Management Magazine (a publication of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants) recently wrote about a report (https://www.fm-magazine.com/news/2018/apr/finance-team-automation-201818827.html) from the global staffing firm Robert Half and the Financial Executives Research Foundation.
The report found that, despite significant advances in automation technologies, staffing levels in accounting and finance are pretty stable. About half of U.S. and Canadian executives say they plan to maintain their current staffing levels. And 17 percent of U.S. executives and 22 percent of Canadian executives say they’re actually going to expand their accounting and finance teams as a result of these new technologies.
Here’s how the author of the article, Drew Adamek, puts it:
“Even as technology automates many traditional finance functions, companies need employees who can effectively translate, present, and strategically analyze data. That need is helping maintain or expand current staffing levels and driving expansion plans at finance departments.”
Adamek goes on to quote Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at Robert Half, who said, “Digital transformation is creating change for business. To keep up with that transformation, these businesses need intellectual capital, so they are seeking to maintain their current staffs or to find new talent.”
This flies in the face of the doomsayers who been telling us that robots are going to steal our jobs. And it reinforces the idea that to stay relevant – and therefore to stay employed – we’re going to need to learn some new skills so that we can do the things the machines can’t do.
It paints a slightly rosier picture of the future, I guess, than a lot of reports on technology that are out there.