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Why Your Firm Isn't Done Preparing for the Future

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When it comes to being future-proof, not all firms are equal: Some need to start from the bottom and work their way up, which will include retroactively implementing changes other practices had started using prior to the pandemic. Others are further ahead, but that doesn't mean now's the time to rest. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Jul 11th 2022
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We’ve seen tremendous changes in the accounting industry over the past ten years. We’ve moved from desktop to cloud-based accounting software. We’ve ditched hourly billing and adopted fixed-fee or value pricing. We’ve listened to the experts and have started offering advisory services in addition to compliance work.

Some of us have gone even further. We’ve migrated from the corporate office to home offices. Our face-to-face meetings with clients now happen over Zoom, Hangouts or Teams. We offer our staff flexible work hours and unlimited time off.

If I just described your firm, you might be thinking your firm is already future-proofed.

It isn’t.

Head-Spinning Statistics

All the “future-focusing” we’ve done in our firms has been done through the wrong lens. That’s not to say that the work we’ve done has been meaningless – it’s been instrumental to setting us up for future success – but it is far from done.

What do I mean by the wrong lens? Consider the following:

  • By 2025, 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials. The youngest of the generation will be 25, and the oldest will be 45.
  • As of 2020, 75 percent of AICPA’s membership was age 65 or older.
  • The number of college graduates earning a degree in accounting dropped 4 percent at the onset of the pandemic, but that decline is just part of a trend that started back in 2014.

With a few exceptions, we’ve been solving future challenges in a manner that serves the status quo. (Never mind the fact that we’ve often had to drag the status quo into this future kicking and screaming.) Now, as these statistics show, the status quo is shifting.

Within three years, most of our clients – as well as most of our staff – will be members of a generation that the “old guard” has disregarded as entitled, lazy, and difficult to work with. These young professionals will not stand for cobbled-together, substandard systems, approaches, software, and client experiences. 

In short, what has worked in the past will not work in the future.

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